Finance Minister Anders Borg. The u-turn is due to be presented in the Autumn budget. Photo: Scanpix

Government plans major policy u-turn

The current centre-right coalition government looks like backing down on one of the most controversial reforms it introduced when it won the 2006 general election, new agency TT reports.

Then it altered how much people pay each month to be a member of an unemployment benefit scheme, in case they were to lose their jobs.

In Sweden there is no state unemployment benefit scheme. Instead in the past workers used to pay money each month to be a part of the scheme organised by their trades union.

The direct link with the trades union has since been severed, but most are still members of unemployment schemes linked to their profession, known as "a kassa".

In 2006 the government decided to make the monthly cost of being a member of the unemployment schemes dependant on how many people were unemployed in that profession. If you were a member of a profession with high unemployment, then you would pay more each month to your "a kassa" than someone in a profession with fewer unemployed.

That reform was widely criticised, both by the unions and by some economists, and some people decided to leave the schemes due to the increased costs. That meant they had no right to unemployment benefit if they lost their job.

Now, seven years later, it looks like the government is to carry out a u-turn on the issue in the upcoming Autumn budget, and remove the different fees for each "a kassa" fund, thereby cutting the amount many workers have to pay each month.

The biggest winners of the reforms will be members of the unemployment fund belonging to the hotel and restaurant workers union, TT reports, they will make a monthly saving of SEK 255.

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