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Sick pay

This is where you, as an employer, can read about how you can assess whether your employee is entitled to sick pay. You can also read about how to calculate sick pay. Entitlement to sick pay is primarily a civil matter between an employer and an employee.

What is sick pay?

Sick pay is what you as an employer must pay an employee who is ill. You pay sick pay for a maximum of 14 days. If the employee’s illness extends beyond this, he/she can apply for sickness benefit from Försäkringskassan. Sick pay replaces wages and any other employment benefits that the employee would have had if he/she had not been ill.

Entitlement to sick pay is regulated in the Swedish Sick Pay Act. This act is mandatory in favour of the employee. It is, however, possible to make certain exceptions to the act through collective agreements approved on behalf of employees by a central employees’ organisation. Central collective agreements may also be used for employees who do not belong to the employees’ organisation that concluded the agreement. This applies to employees who perform work referred to in the agreement and who are not covered by any competing collective agreement.

The Swedish Sick Pay Act (1991:1047) (riksdagen.se)external link, opens in new window

When an employee reports in sick

When an employee has reported in sick to you, you must assess whether the employee’s work capacity is impaired due to illness. You must also assess whether he/she is entitled to sick pay.

Medical certificate if the employee is ill for more than seven days

If the employee is ill for more than seven days, he/she must prove that his/her work capacity is impaired. He/she does this with the aid of a certificate from a doctor or dentist. The medical certificate does not need to contain details of the employee’s illness. In some cases, collective agreements may decide that the employee must provide a medical certificate earlier than the eighth day, and that you as an employer can request that the certificate contain details, such as the illness.

The employee must confirm the absence with a written declaration

The employee must confirm that he/she has been absent due to illness with a written declaration. The declaration must state that he/she has been ill and for how long he/she has been absent from work because of illness. It does not have to specify which illness has caused the employee’s work capacity to be impaired.

Some collective agreements require the declaration to contain additional information, such as which illness the employee has had. There are also collective agreements that contain other deviations from the provisions concerning the declaration. The declaration must be submitted no later than at the end of the period with sick pay. You are not obliged to pay sick pay until the declaration is submitted.

On the page about “Sick employee days 1-90”, you can read more about what you as an employer must do and what the employee must do.

Sick employee days 1-90

 

The period with sick pay commences on the first day on which the employee is to any degree absent due to illness, and can last no more than 14 calendar days. Once counting of the period with sick pay has commenced, non-working days are also included in the period with sick pay. This is why it is said that the period with sick pay consists of 14 calendar days.

The period with sick pay can only begin on a day when the employee would have worked if he/she were not ill. If an employee falls ill on a non-working day, the period with sick pay therefore commences on the first day that he/she would have worked.

The employee does not have to be absent from work for a full day for the period with sick pay to begin. It is sufficient that he/she is absent for part of the day.

Example

The period with sick pay commences on the first working day when the employee is absent due to illness. Sometimes the employee may also have been ill some days before the period with sick pay commences. The following two examples clarify how to calculate the period with sick pay in this instance:

Example: Period with sick pay

Period with sick pay


Day of the week



Sick (S)



Working Day (W), Free (F)



Day in period with sick pay


Saturday

S

F

X

Sunday

S

F

X

Monday

S

W

1

Tuesday

S

W

2

Wednesday

S

W

3

Thursday

S

W

4

Friday

S

W

5

Saturday

S

F

6

Sunday

S

F

7

... and so on

 


 


 

 

Example: Period with sick pay

Skriv tabellbeskrivning här

Day of the week

Sick

Working Day (W), Free (F)

Day in period with sick pay

Monday

S

F

X

Tuesday

S

F

X

Wednesday

S

W

1

Thursday

S

W

2

Friday

S

W

3

Saturday

S

F

4

Sunday

S

F

5

Monday

S

F

6

Tuesday

S

W

7

... and so on



 


Who is entitled to sick pay?

An employee may receive sick pay as of the first day of his/her term of employment if he/she

  • has a fully or partly impaired work capacity due to illness
  • has started his/her term of employment.

A person who is employed on a permanent basis or is to be employed for more than one month may receive sick pay from the first day of employment. A person who is to be employed for less than one month may receive sick pay when he/she has worked for at least 14 days.

It is your task as an employer to assess whether the employee has reduced work capacity due to illness, and if so to what extent.

As an employer, you do not have to pay a new period of sick pay in cases where the employee has already received sick pay for fourteen days during the current period of illness in a previous term of employment. This applies regardless of whether the new term of employment is entered into with the same or a new employer.

Contractors and self-employed persons (sole proprietorships or partnerships) are not entitled to sick pay. They can instead apply to Försäkringskassan for sickness benefit if they fall ill.

 

For an employee to be able to receive sick pay, it is a requirement that he/she has impaired work capacity due to illness. It may be a physical or mental illness, but also, for example, an operation.

Any abnormal physical or mental condition that is not consistent with the normal life process can be designated as an illness. By contrast, disturbances and physiological changes due to the natural ageing process, pregnancy or childbirth do not count as illness, as they are consistent with the normal life process.

Difficult social or private situation

A difficult social or private situation will not normally provide entitlement to sick pay. However, such a situation may actually have resulted in the person falling ill, in which case he/she may of course be entitled to sick pay.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy itself is not an illness, but if the pregnant woman has impaired work capacity, she may be entitled to sick pay. This applies regardless of how long is left before the expected birth and whether or not the illness has been caused by pregnancy.

Grieving, stress and fatigue

Grieving, stress and fatigue are part of life. But distinct conditions of grieving, stress and fatigue can of course be counted as illness.

Operation

A person’s condition during and after an operation can be counted as illness. It does not matter why someone has had surgery. You may be entitled to sick pay regardless of whether you have surgery because you have an illness or injury, or if you have surgery for some other reason, for example cosmetic surgery.

Fertility treatment

The investigation and treatment of infertility can be counted as illness, as this is not related to the normal life process.

 

The fact that an employee is ill does not automatically mean that he/she is entitled to sick pay, the illness must also impair the employee’s work capacity. This means that a person who, for example, is absent from work to receive medical treatment or rehabilitation in order to prevent impaired work capacity due to illness cannot receive sick pay.

Work capacity does not need to be fully impaired for the employee to be entitled to sick pay, it is sufficient that he/she is unable to work for some part of his/her normal working hours. An assessment of the extent to which work capacity is impaired is performed in relation to normal work on a sliding scale from 1 to 100 percent. For example, if an employee usually works 7 hours a day, but due to illness is only judged to be able to work 3.5 hours, the work capacity is reduced by 50 percent.

How to calculate sick pay

Sick pay constitutes 80 percent of the wages that the employee loses due to illness.

If the employee has a fixed salary, it is usually easy to calculate the sick pay. If the employee is paid on an hourly basis, sick pay must be calculated and paid for the time that he/she should have worked.

If the employee loses employment benefits, these must be included in the sick pay.

If the employee has benefits that he/she does not lose because of the illness, these must not be included. Such benefits might be, for example, free housing or car. Allowances for expenses that he/she only incurs when working must also not be included.

Sick pay must be paid to the same level by which the work capacity is impaired (1-100 percent).

 

You must make a qualifying deduction from the sick pay. The qualifying deduction can be likened to an excess amount that must be deducted from sick pay. The deduction must be 20% of the sick pay that the employee is expected to receive on average during one calendar week corresponding to the number of many hours that he/she usually works.

For a person who works the same number of hours every day, five days a week, the qualifying deduction is thus equal to one day’s sick pay. But for a person whose working hours are distributed unevenly, the qualifying deduction can be both less or more than one day’s sick pay.

Example: Qualifying deduction for regular working hours

The employee works Monday-Friday, 8 hours a day. The salary is SEK 110 per hour. The employee falls ill and stays home all day Monday.
Sick pay per hour: SEK 0,80 x SEK 110 = SEK 88
Sick pay for Monday: 8 hours x SEK 88 = SEK 704
Average sick pay per week: 40 hours x SEK 88 = SEK 3,520
Full qualifying deduction: SEK 0.20 x SEK 3,520 = SEK 704

The employee receives no sick pay for Monday.

To calculate the average weekly working hours for a person whose working hours vary a lot, you can use information about how the employee worked during the time before the period with sick pay. It is important that the calculation of the average weekly working hours reflects the employee’s actual working hours.

The more variation there is in an employee’s working hours from one week to another, the longer the period for comparison may need to be in order to obtain a fair picture. In most cases, it is sufficient to look back from one to three months.

Example: Qualifying deduction for irregular working hours

An employee works according to the following weekly schedule: Monday 14 hours, Tuesday 5 hours, Wednesday 5 hours, Thursday 0 hours, Friday 6 hours. A total of 30 hours per week, which also corresponds with the average weekly working hours.

The salary is SEK 110 per hour. The employee falls ill and stays home all day Monday.
Sick pay per hour: SEK 0,80 x SEK 110 = SEK 88
Sick pay for Monday: 14 hours x SEK 88 = SEK 1,232
Average sick pay per week: 30 hours x SEK 88 = SEK 2,640
Full qualifying deduction: SEK 0.20 x SEK 2,640 = SEK 528
The employee receives SEK 704 in sick pay (SEK 1,232 - SEK 528) after a full qualifying deduction has been made.

You must always make a full qualifying deduction, regardless of whether your employee was absent for all of the first day or just part of the day. If a full qualifying deduction cannot be made from the allowance for the first day with sick pay, you must make the rest of the deduction the next day, until a full deduction has been made.

However, the deduction can never be greater than what could be paid as sick pay for the period with sick pay.

Some collective agreements have their own wording to describe how sick pay and qualifying deductions are to be calculated, based on industry and agreement provisions adapted to the type of work.

You can find more information at verksamt.se if you do not use a payroll system to calculate the qualifying deduction:

Calculate the qualifying deduction (verksamt.se)external link, opens in new window

If the employee falls ill again

If the employee falls ill again within five calendar days, you must include the days in the previous period with sick pay in the new one, so that together they total a maximum of fourteen days. If you have made a full qualifying deduction in the previous period with sick pay, you must not make a new qualifying deduction in the new period. If, however, a full qualifying deduction has not been made, you must continue to make deductions in the new period until a full qualifying deduction has been made.

The employee can fall ill several times before fourteen days have been reached in the period with sick pay. If the employee has several employers, the period with sick pay must be calculated in this way separately at each employer.

If the employee falls ill again on the fifth day, and that day is a work-free day, this rule does not apply, as it is only when the employee is absent from work that the new period of illness commences. Instead, a completely new period with sick pay commences if the employee is still ill when he/she should have worked again. This is because more than five days have passed since the previous period of illness.

Example Period with sick pay when an employee falls ill again

Period with sick pay when an employee falls ill again

Day of the week

Sick

Working Day (W), Free (F)

Day in period with sick pay

Monday

S

W

1

Tuesday

S

W

2

Wednesday

S

W

3

Thursday

S

W

4

Friday

H

W

X

Saturday

H

F

X

Sunday

H

F

X

Monday

S

W

5

Tuesday

S

W

6

... and so on




 

An employee who has been ill more than ten times during a twelve-month period must be exempt from qualifying deductions, and instead receive sick pay from the very first day when he/she is ill. This is referred to as general high risk protection. From the eleventh period of illness within the twelve-month period, you as an employer must therefore not make a qualifying deduction, but pay sick pay from the first day of illness.

Example

An employee has been ill ten times between 10 February and 27 December. He has had a qualifying deduction ten times. If he falls ill again in the period until 10 February next year, he will thus avoid a qualifying deduction.

Once the twelve months have passed, this protection disappears and you start counting from zero again.

 

An employee who has an illness or disability can apply to Försäkringskassan for what is referred to as special high risk protection. This protection means that you as an employer receive compensation from Försäkringskassan for the person’s sick pay.

Sick often or for a long time – special high risk protection

You can claim compensation for high sick pay costs

Like all employers in Sweden, you are protected against high sick pay costs. This protection means that you as an employer receive compensation for the annual cost of sick pay above a certain level. You do not need to do anything to claim this compensation, it is handled automatically by the Swedish Tax Agency and Försäkringskassan.

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