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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

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

Factsheet for case SE-2020-16/557 Updated – measures in Sweden

Temporary reinforcement of unemployment insurance

Tillfälligt förstärkt arbetslöshetsersättning

Country Sweden , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 13 April 2020 – 03 January 2021
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Income support for unemployed
Author Anna-Karin Gustafsson (Oxford Research) and Eurofound
Case created 13 April 2020 (updated 07 October 2020)

Background information

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent severe slow-down of the economy, unemployment is expected to rise sharply. In order to increase the coverage and overall protection levels, the government is adapting the unemployment insurance. The measures include making eligibility criteria more generous and raising both minimum and maximum payout levels.

These changes are regulated in the Ordinance (2020:221) on changes in the ordinance (1997:835) on unemployment insurance (Förordning (2020:221) om ändring i förordningen (1997:835) om arbetslöshetsförsäkring.

Content of measure

The requirements concerning who can receive money from an unemployment insurance fund have been temporarily relaxed in terms of how much people need to have worked and how long people need to have been a member of a fund. Under the previous rules, a person had have been a member of an insurance fund for at least 12 months to be eligible for payouts. Now every month of membership during the months March-December will count as four months, thus making it possible to become eligible in only three months.

Under the former system, you had to have worked at least 50% during the past 6 months (or differently distributed but equivalent). This minimum limit has now been lowered to allow a larger number of part-time workers to become eligible.

Both the highest and the lowest amounts paid out by an unemployment insurance fund have been raised temporarily to alleviate the economic impact on people who become unemployed (the highest from SEK 910 to SEK 1200 per day, and lowest from SEK 365 to SEK 510 per day). Additionally, the six initial qualifying days have been removed and the unemployment insurance funds have received funding for administration.

Updates

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

21 September 2020

The Government has proposed in its budget proposal for 2021 the duration of these temporary changes to the unemployment insurance to be extended by two years.

This extension does not cover temporary changes to membership in unemployment funds but after January 2021 the requirement of 12 months of membership in an unemployment fund returns.

07 May 2020

As of 29 June 2020, the maximum amount that can be received after the first 100 days of unemployment was increased from SEK 760 (€76) to SEK 1,000 (€100).

Use of measure

In only a few weeks, the number of members in the unemployment insurance funds have risen sharply. How many will end up receiving pay-outs due to having lost their job is too early to say.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Unemployed
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Trade unions
National funds
Other

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

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

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation wants these changes to become a permanent part of the Swedish unemployment insurance system. They argue that this is needed since the COVID-19 pandemic will have long-term consequences for the labour market and for individuals who have become unemployed.

Sources

  • 16 March 2020: Ministry of Finance (2020) Economic measures in response to COVID-19 (www.government.se)
  • 30 March 2020: Förstärkt arbetslöshetsersättning (a-kassa) för fler (www.regeringen.se)
  • 07 May 2020: Temporarily reinforced unemployment insurance after from day 101 (www.regeringen.se)
  • 21 September 2020: Temporarily reinforced unemployment insurance extended by two years (Höjd A-kassa förlängs med två år) (www.svt.se)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Temporary reinforcement of unemployment insurance, case SE-2020-16/557 (measures in Sweden), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

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