Sveriges Radio, Marcus Ericsson / TT.
Social Security Minister Annika Strandhäll. Credit: Sveriges Radio, Marcus Ericsson / TT.

Men get twice what women do in occupational pension

"It differs very much. This was an eye-opener"
1:46 min

New figures show that men take away double the amount of so-called occupational pension - the employer's contribution to Swedes' retirement funds - than women.

The evidence comes from an inquiry by government and opposition politicians with the help of pension groups. Swedish Radio news reported that politicians were surprised by how large the gap was.

"Women receive about 50 percent of what men do in occupational pension. So it differs very, very much," the Minister for Social Security Annika Strandhäll told SR. "It was an eye-opener, even for me, even if I could have imagined it was the case, that it actually differs so much."

The funds that support Swedish retirees come from several sources including from worker's paychecks themselves. An employer's contribution is negotiated between labor unions and employers and can vary dramatically depending on salary level.

Men already receive more than women when it comes to pension generally. The average figures for 2014 show that women took an average of over SEK 13,000 per month while men took home nearly SEK 20,000. The reasons are that women earn lower salaries, take more part-time positions, and are more likely to stay home with small children.

But the piece of pensions made with employer's contributions makes the discrepancy even more pronounced because men have higher salaries. Typically, employers contribute 5.4 percent to pension funds for workers who earn under SEK 37,000. But that contribution jumps to 30 percent for salaries over that level, of which men have the greater share.

Strandhäll says unions and employers should act to even the discrepancy, and a report on the imbalance is forthcoming.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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