Social Security Minister Annika Strandhäll. Photo: Marcus Ericsson / TT
Social Security Minister Annika Strandhäll. Photo: Marcus Ericsson / TT

Government presents measures to cut sick leave costs

Sweden's government presented on Wednesday several measures to cut sick leave figures in the country, with an ambition to reduce them to nine days per worker and year by 2020, Swedish Radio News reports.

"If we look at the forecast we have for sick leaves today, this means a reduction of one-third compared to what we expect for 2020 and that 80,000 people wouldn't go on sick leave compared with the forecast," says Social Security Minister Annika Strandhäll.

According to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, sick leave costs are expected to keep soaring in the next years, from the current SEK 32 billion to over SEK 50 billion in four years. The government wants to reverse this trend by cutting the number of sick leave days per person and year from today's 10.1 to 9.0.

The government is dissatisfied with how many employers handle long-term sick leaves among their staff. They will now track down employers which fail to comply with their rehabilitation duties, and those who do, will get financial support. The social insurance agency will be responsible for searching out employers who do not follow the directives, daily Dagens Nyheter reports.

"We're going to use economic incentives. An employer who has a comprehensive corporate health care plan and also works preventively, will be rewarded financially. At the same time, we don't rule out that those who misbehave will have to pay for it," Strandhäll says.

The government is also preparing a pilot project to cut the number of days a worker can go on sick leave without a doctor's certificate.

"This means that you must have a certificate much earlier than after seven days. Many employers say that they need to get a heads-up early and have detailed doctor's certificates so they can react soon," Strandhäll says.

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