On 2 February, the Swedish parliament adopted the amendment budget presented by the government in December 2021. It contains a number of measures designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Changes to social security for part-time employees have already been adopted, which came into force on 1 February. Here we summarise important information that employers need to be aware of.
The situation has put a strain on society, and on several occasions the government has announced support that will be made available. Many restrictions are now being lifted at the same time as a number of measures are being adopted, which will apply retroactively from different dates. As an employer, it’s important that you keep abreast of these changes so that you can offer the right support at the right time, and give your employees information on what applies in the event of different types of absence.
Social security measures – what applies:
- The requirement for a medical certificate to receive disease carrier’s benefit has been removed. This applies from 27 December 2021 to 31 March 2022.
- The requirement for a medical certificate during the sick pay period for employees receiving sick pay for the first 14 days has been temporarily removed. This applies retroactively from 19 January 2022 to 31 March 2022. For the self-employed, the provisions apply from 8 December 2021.
- Compensation for qualifying period deductions is being reintroduced for employees and the self-employed to make it easier for people to stay at home if they are ill. This measure applies from 8 December 2021 to 31 March 2022. An application must be made to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan). As the employer, you must deduct the qualifying period as normal. A standard amount of SEK 810 before tax is paid to the employee.
- The state is compensating employers for higher-than-normal sick pay costs. This applies from 1 December 2021 to 31 March 2022. The compensation is regulated by the Swedish Tax Agency and is assessed based on information on the company’s sick pay costs submitted by way of the company’s monthly declarations. No application is required from the company.
- Compensation for people in at-risk groups and certain relatives of at-risk groups is being reintroduced and temporary parental benefit is being extended for some children who have recently been seriously ill. Those in a defined at-risk group who are unable to work from home or who must give up work to avoid being infected with COVID-19 are entitled to compensation of up to SEK 810 per day. Some relatives of those in at-risk groups are also entitled to compensation. These provisions apply from 8 December 2021 to 31 March 2022.
- The possibility for parents to receive temporary parental benefit if, for example, schools or pre-schools are closed, is being extended to 31 March 2022.
- Certificates for time off to care for children are to be submitted on day 15 instead of day 8. This applies from 19 January 2022 until 31 March 2022.
- The tax exemption for the free-parking benefit to reduce overcrowding on public transport is being extended until 31 March 2022. The law change will take effect on 1 March 2022.
- Compensation for parents of children who have been seriously ill in 2020 and 2021 and who need to give up work can receive preventative compensation for time off to care for children. A doctor’s statement is required and an assessment will be made by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. This is being extended until 31 March 2022.
Flexible working in relation to part-time sick leave
We would also like to remind you about a change in the law that affects how you manage those on part-time sick leave. This has already been determined in the regular budget. According to current regulations, the working hours for someone on part-time sick leave should be evenly distributed across each working day of the week.
The changes that came into effect on 1 February mean that it is possible to structure the employee’s working hours more flexibly and to distribute them differently on different days of the week. However, this must be done in consultation with the Swedish Social Security Agency, doctors, employers, and the person on sick leave. A flexible distribution of working hours cannot result in a deterioration in the employee’s rehabilitation and their possibility of returning to work.
Remember that you must continue to adhere to the company’s collective agreement for calculating sickness deductions. If the company has no collective agreement and calculates sickness deductions for long-term sick leave by way of a separate policy, you may need to review this.
At Azets, we’re actively following developments and staying up to date on the latest events. If you as an employer have questions or concerns about HR and pay, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.