Stress related illness is on the rise in Sweden. Photo: Jessica Gow/Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix.

Sick pay bill a billion more than expected

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency expects to pay out about a billion krona more this year than expected, and nearly three billion more in 2014.

“We’ve seen this tendency for several years now and we believe it’s going to continue,” Jan Larsson, responsible for the new forecast, told news agency TT.

The increase will see the annual budget for sick pay rising from SEK 22.7 billion to SEK 23.9. In 2014 the bill will grow by SEK 2.8 billion to about SEK 26 billion.

The number of Swedes claiming sickness benefits has risen steadily for three years, but is still far from the peak of the early 2000s.

Larsson says the forecast was revised due to new trends in illness.

“Stress related complaints are increasing faster than any other mental illness,” he told Swedish Radio.

“Mental health issues can lead to long periods off sick – for example bipolar conditions and depression are increasing.”

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