changes in the swedish sick pay legislation from 1st january 2019

On 1st January 2019, new regulation was introduced in the Swedish Sick Pay Act. In the previous regulation, an employee was entitled to sick pay from the employer during absence due to illness from day 2-14 of the absence, where day 1 of such absence was a compensation-free day (also called qualification day or “karensdag” in Swedish).

The new regulation means that the compensation-free day at the start of sick leave is abolished and replaced by a salary deduction that corresponds to 20 per cent of an average week’s sick pay (Sw. “karensavdrag”).

The changes entail that a sick employee gets the same deduction regardless what day and when during the work day the employee gets sick. Therefore, a change in the calculation method for the sick pay to be paid must be made. Following the new rules, the employer now must make a calculation of the average sick pay (and therefore the average working hours) per week for the employee.

Different provisions may apply under applicable collective bargaining agreement(s), if any.

To illustrate the new regulation, we can use an example:
An employee work on a weekly schedule with a total of 30 hours/week (Mon 14 h, Tue 5 h, Wed 5 h, Thu 0 h, Fri 6 h), and has an average hourly salary of 110 SEK/hour.

The employee is absent due to sickness with start Monday and is absent for a total of four days. This gives us the following calculation:

o Hourly sick pay: 88 SEK (110 SEK x 0,8).
o Average week sick pay: 2640 SEK (88 SEK x 30 hours).
o Salary deduction: 528 SEK (2640 SEK x 0,2).
o Sick pay for four days: 1 584 SEK ((24 hours x 88 SEK = 2112 SEK) – 528)

What should I do?
– Make sure your salary administration system is updated with the new rules,
– Inform your employees on the changes
– If you are bound by a collective bargaining agreement, check if are new rules in the collective bargaining agreement and/or if the collective bargaining agreement deviates from the abovementioned legislation

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