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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure SE-2020-11/623 Updated – measures in Sweden

Doctor's certificate no longer mandatory during the first two weeks of sick leave

Läkarintyg inte längre ett krav under de två första veckorna av sjukfrånvaro

Country Sweden , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 13 March 2020 – 30 September 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Paid sick leave
Author Anna-Karin Gustafsson (Oxford Research) and Eurofound
Measure added 15 April 2020 (updated 28 September 2021)

Background information

The Swedish Government has decided that a doctor's certificate is no longer mandatory during the first two weeks you are absent from work due to illness. This is applicable from the 13th of March. The aim of this measure is to further encourage all workers to stay at home if sick, even with only mild symptoms. Furthermore, removing the obligation to provide a doctor's note is expected to ease the pressure on the health care system. This measure is regulated in Ordinance (2020:196) concerning change in ordinance (1995:1051) on the duty to provide a doctor's certificate in sickness benefit-related matters (Förordning om ändring i förordningen (1995:1051) om skyldigheten att lämna läkarintyg m.m. i sjukpenningärenden i vissa fall).

Content of measure

Under normal circumstances, an employee is obliged to provide a doctor's certificate in order to prolong sick leave after the seventh (calendar) day of their falling ill. The government has now decided that the first two weeks of sick leave will require no doctor's certificate. To further strengthen this measure, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, has decided that during an interim period, sick pay can be paid until day 21 in the majority of cases, even if a medical certificate is not available. In order to make a final decision, the Social Insurance Agency may request a doctor’s certificate at a later date. Anyone affected by this will be informed in due course.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

17 September 2021

The Government has decided to end this measure since 70% of the population is now vaccinated.

13 January 2021

The Government proposed for extension of this measure until the end of April 2021.

Use of measure

This new measure applies to all workers who fall ill, even in cases not related to COVID-19. The measure in itself is not expected to cause any additional direct costs, but may indirectly lead to a higher expenses for sickness benefits as it becomes easier to remain on sick leave for a longer period of time.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social insurance
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

No information available.

Views and reactions

N/A

Sources

  • 13 January 2021: Åtgärder inom sjukförsäkringen med anledning av nya coronaviruset (www.regeringen.se)
  • 17 September 2021: Fortsatt beredskap för att hantera COVID-19 pandemin [Continued preparedness to handle the COVID-19 pandemic] (www.regeringen.se)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Doctor's certificate no longer mandatory during the first two weeks of sick leave, measure SE-2020-11/623 (measures in Sweden), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/SE-2020-11_623.html

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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.