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Compensation in case you or your child get sick

What happens to your salary if you need to stay home from work because of illness or to care for a sick child? Tune in to this episode to find out the answer. We will also explain the difference between sickness pay and sickness benefit. And clarify the meaning of sickness benefit qualifying income. Our guest is Mohamad Alktan who works at Försäkringskassan.

Pär Axelsson:
Have you come down with the flu? Or has your kid got a vomiting bug? In today's episode of New in Sweden podcast, we'll be talking about what happens if you or your child gets sick and you need to stay home from work. My name is Pär and I work for Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish public employment service.


Adiam Tsehaye:
And my name is Adiam Tsehaye. Welcome to today's episode.


Pär:
So first things first. If you're bed bound with a fever, we hope you get well soon. Stock up on tissues and painkillers and make sure you get enough rest.


Adiam:
Yes, absolutely. But before you nod off, we would like to remind you of a few important things you need to do first, even if you’d much rather just disappear under the blanket and snooze.


Pär:
You can say that again. So then, let's get started. Whether it's you or your child who's unwell, you should let your employer know as soon as possible. Exactly how you inform your employer is something you should agree on together.


Adiam:
Exactly, that's the first step.
If you are sick you often don't need to do more than that, and hopefully you'll be back to work in a few days.


Pär:
And while you are off sick, you'll get sick pay from your employer. But if your kid is sick, you need to do something else. Is that right?


Adiam:

Yes. You'll need to contact the Swedish social insurance agency, Försäkringskassan. We have asked Mohammad Alktan from Försäkringskassan about what needs to be done.


Mohammad Alktan:
Vab, Vård av barn, is the name of a benefit paid out to working parents when they need to stay at home to look after a sick child or accompany them to the doctor. You can apply for this benefit online or through our app. Our online application system is called Mina sidor. Keep in mind that you need a medical certificate if your child is sick more than seven days.


Pär:
Kids get sick fairly often, so I must say I’m pretty familiar with that app. It's actually on the home screen on my phone.


Adiam:
Smart.


Pär:
I would like to say It's more of a necessity. But now, let's talk about what happens if you're sick for more than a week. In that case you’ll need a doctor's certificate to keep getting sick pay. But what if you're sick for more than 14 days? Let’s say you have a case of the flu you can't shake. Or you have broken your leg. Or you have a job that requires you to walk a lot. What happens then?


Adiam:
In that case, your employer needs to report your case to Försäkringskassan. You will then get Sjukpenning, or sickness benefits, from Försäkringskassan instead of sick pay after 14 days.
But you need to remember to apply to Försäkringskassan for Sjukpenning yourself.


Pär:
OK. Let's hear what Mohammad has to say about this.

Mohammad:
Your workplace will report this to us and from day 15 you can apply for sick pay online through our website. When you fill out the online form you will have to attach a medical certificate describing your illness along with other details. If you are sick a much longer period, a personal case officer will get in touch with you to help you with your ongoing case. Sickness benefit is a temporary benefit that compensates for a loss of income until you can start working again. The length of time for which you can receive this benefit, and how much you receive, generally depends on how much your illness affects your ability to work.


Adiam:
So everything we've talked about so far, sick pay from your employer, Sjukpenning from Försäkringskassan and so on. This all applies to people who are in employment. If you are self-employed, studying, unemployed or participating in a program run through Arbetsförmedlingen, the rules might be slightly different. You can read more about what applies to you on the Försäkringskassan-website.
Pär:
That's right. You can find more information about everything we're discussing here on the Försäkringskassan-website. And of course there are always exceptions, but we can't get into all of them here on the podcast. But there is one important thing we should mention here, and that's SGI.
That stands for Sjukpenningsgrundande inkomst or sickness benefit qualifying income. SGI is an amount that determines how much money you get in compensation, when you are sick, looking after a sick child or if you’re on parental leave. Your SGI is based on your annual income.


Adiam:
Can we make that a little clearer? Are you saying that I will get more sick pay if I earn a big salary than if I were on a lower wage? That my SGI comes down to my income? Is that right?


Pär:
That's correct. But what many don't realize, even people born and raised in Sweden, is that we need to look after our SGIs. Mohammad will explain why this is so important.


Mohammad:
The amount of compensation that we issue for illness, care of a sick child, vab or parental leave is based on your current salary. We calculate this qualifying income and call it SGI, short for Sjukpenningsgrundande inkomst. You are typically entitled to an SGI as long as you pay tax and work for a duration of at least six months. There is, however, a minimum and a maximum level for an SGI. In some cases you can secure your SGI, if you for instance no longer can work or get a lower salary.
To retain your SGI you have to be registered as an active job seeker at the public employment service, Arbetsförmedlingen, from the first day of unemployment.


Adiam:
So that's where we at Arbetsförmedlingen come into the picture. If you become unemployed you should register as a job seeker from your very first day of unemployment and start looking for a new job. Otherwise, you will risk losing your SGI and your rights to benefits if you're sick, looking after a sick child or if you’re on parental leave. That is super important.


Pär:
Absolutely. But with that said, i think it's time to start wrapping things up and say goodbye for now.



Adiam:
I'm with you on that. But first, let's hear some final words from Mohammad about contacting Försäkringskassan.


Mohammad:
We have information, facts and brochures in more than 15 languages on our website försäkringskassan.se. We also offer various online guides and e-services, most of which are in Swedish. But you can always get assistance through our call center, at a service office located throughout Sweden, or by scheduling an online meeting with one of our case officers. These meetings can also be set up in your preferred language.


Pär:
Great. Huge thanks to Muhammad Alktan from Försäkringskassan and Adiam for keeping me company in the studio today.


Adiam:
The pleasure is all mine Pär, and a big thanks to our listeners too. We hope you stay in excellent health. But if not, now you know what you need to do. You have been listening to New in Sweden podcast by Arbetsförmedlingen. You can find all previous episodes at arbetsförmedlingen.se/play.
Have you got any questions, tips or ideas? Please email us at podcast@arbetsförmedlingen.se.
This episode was produced in the spring of 2023.