Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Sweden - Benefits during sickness

This chapter explains what is required for you to obtain compensation if your ability to work is reduced due to sickness and how you claim such compensation. It also describes the size of the compensation you can receive and how long it can be paid out for. It also describes other benefits that you may be entitled to in the case of sickness, including compensation during rehabilitation and high-risk protection for those who are either sick often or risk becoming sick on a long-term basis.

The chapter covers:

  • sick pay from the employer
  • sickness cash benefit from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency
  • other compensation from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency when you are prevented or must refrain from working, such as sickness compensation, activity compensation, preventative sickness benefit, rehabilitation allowance, disease carrier allowance and benefit for the care of closely related persons
  • high-risk protection

In what situation can I claim?

If you cannot work as a result of the fact that you are sick, you can normally obtain compensation through the whole sick period. In the beginning of a sick period, a qualifying deduction is made (karensavdrag).The deduction corresponds to 20% of the compensation of the sick pay that you can receive during a normal week. If you are often sick you can apply for high-risk protection (högriskskydd) which means that you do not have a deduction of your sick pay. As an employee, you receive sick pay from your employer up to and including day 14. If you continue to be sick thereafter you can obtain sickness cash benefit (sjukpenning) from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. Unemployed people can obtain sickness cash benefit from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency after a deduction corresponding to one full day of sickness cash benefit. Self-employed people can also obtain sickness cash benefit from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency after a waiting period.

There are other situations in which you can obtain compensation from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, for example if you undergo rehabilitation, are a disease carrier or care for a close relative who is sick.

How much you receive in compensation depends on your income. However, there is a maximum limit for how much you can receive.

The majority of benefits described in this chapter are work-based benefits, i.e. to be entitled to these you must have paid employment or have had paid employment. If you come from another EU country and work in Sweden, you are covered by insurance from and including the first day of the employment period. You pay tax on the benefit unless otherwise stated.

What conditions do I need to meet?

Sick pay from the employer

In order to obtain sick pay (sjuklön), you must be employed for at least 1 month or have worked continuously for 14 days. If you are away from work for more than 7 days due to sickness, you must provide a medical certificate.

Sickness cash benefit from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency

As an employee, if you are sick for more than 14 days, you can obtain sickness cash benefit (sjukpenning) from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. You must be away for at least 25% of your normal working hours due to sickness. It is your ability to work and not the sickness in itself that determines whether or not you receive compensation. You must also be insured in Sweden, which you normally are if you work here. There are a few exceptions when you work in another country but still insured in Sweden or work in Sweden and insured in another country.

You must be able to present a medical certificate that describes your sickness or injury. On the basis of the medical certificate, and any other investigation, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency assesses whether or not your ability to work is reduced by at least a quarter on the basis of sickness and determines whether or not you are entitled to sickness cash benefit.

During the first 90 days, you are entitled to sickness cash benefit if you are considered unable to cope with your normal work. After 90 days, you are entitled to sickness cash benefit if you are considered unable to cope with your normal work or any other work that your employer can offer you. After 180 days you are only entitled to sickness cash benefit if you are considered unable to work in any position on the normal employment market. However, there are certain exceptions. For example, your ability to work need not be assessed against the normal employment market when it is highly likely that you can return to a job with your employer before 365 days have passed since you became sick or if such an assessment is unreasonable.

Even if you are self-employed, unemployed or on leave with parental allowance, you can receive sickness cash benefit from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. As a self-employed person, your ability to work is assessed during the first 180 days against your normal work and thereafter in the same way as for employees, against the normal employment market. If you are unemployed, your ability to work is continuously assessed against the normal employment market. If you are on parental leave but due to sickness cannot care for your child, you can obtain sickness cash benefit if someone else must stay at home and care for the child instead of you.

Other benefits

You can be entitled to several other types of benefits, such as preventative sickness benefit (förebyggande sjukpenning) for treatments given before you went on sick leave, compensation for rehabilitation (rehabiliteringspenning) and disease carrier allowance (smittbärarpenning) if you must refrain from working on the basis of infection. If it is likely that you cannot work at all again, you can obtain sickness compensation (sjukersättning). If you are under the age of 30 and are not able to work for at least one year you can obtain activity compensation (aktivitetsersättning). 

If you are unable to work in order to care for a closely related person in Sweden, you can obtain benefit for the care of closely related persons (närståendepenning). Close relatives include those who have a close relationship with the sick person. You need not be a relative. You can also obtain compensation for the care of children. You can read more about this in the chapter Other benefits for parents.

Waiting day qualifying deduction

At the beginning of a sick period, a qualifying deduction 20% of the average weekly sickness pay or benefit is applied. Self-employed people have a basic waiting period of 7 days but can actively choose a shorter or longer waiting period. However, if you are covered by high-risk protection you do not have a qualifying deduction.

High-risk protection

There is a general high-risk protection (högriskskydd) which means that you can only have a qualifying deduction 10 times over a 12-month period. If you are sick more than 10 times, you will receive benefit without a deduction. This does not apply to self-employed people who have chosen 14 or more waiting days. You can also apply for special high-risk protection if you have a medically documented sickness with increased risk for many sick periods, or if you are to donate organs or tissue. You can obtain sick pay without a qualifying deduction and your employer obtains compensation for the whole cost of sick pay. The employer can also obtain such compensation if you have a medically documented sickness and there is a risk that you will be sick for a longer period. In the latter case you will however have a qualifying deduction.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Benefit during sickness is based upon your income. If you are employed, this is your annual income before tax. For self-employed people, it is your net revenue that applies. On Ersättningskollen (the Compensation Calculator) you can calculate how much you will obtain in benefit if you are sick. In normal cases, the following applies:

Compensation                   

Amount (% of income)

Sick pay from employer                       

80%

Sickness benefit at normal level

80% * 0.97 (max. SEK 804  per day)

Sickness benefit at continued level     

75% * 0.97 (max. SEK 754 per day)

Sick pay from the employer

Sick pay from your employer is approximately 80% of your salary. With a collective agreement it can be higher. To receive sick pay, you must notify your employer that you are sick on the first day you cannot work.

Sickness cash benefit from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency

As an employee, if you have been sick for 14 days your employer should report it to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. If you are self-employed, unemployed or on leave with parental allowance, you should report it yourself to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency within the first week of sickness. After this you can apply for sickness benefit.

If you have e‑ID, you can do this on My pages on the Swedish Social Insurance Agency website. You can also submit a form.

For the first 364 days you receive sickness cash benefit at normal level, which is 80% of your income multiplied by a conversion factor of 0.97. The Swedish Social Insurance Agency bases your benefit on your sickness benefit qualifying income (SGI) which has a ceiling of SEK 378,400. This corresponds to 8 price base amounts. The price base amount (PBB) is an amount which changes every year to follow the general price level in Sweden.

Per day you can obtain a maximum of SEK 804 in sickness cash benefit at normal level. If you have a higher salary, you will receive no benefit for the part that exceeds this amount. If you are unemployed, you cannot receive more in sickness cash benefit than what you receive from the unemployment benefit fund. Even those who work part-time can obtain sickness benefit. After 364 days, you can apply to extend and obtain continued sickness cash benefit. This amounts to 75% of your income. If you are seriously ill, however, you can obtain sickness benefit at the higher normal level without time limitation.

Other benefits

Other types of benefit in the case of sickness are generally on the same level as sickness cash benefit, i.e. 80% of your income. Sickness compensation and activity compensation are, however, 64.7% of your notional income. The notional income is calculated on the basis of the pension-based income that you have had during a specified period which runs backwards in time from the insured event. The insured event is the time at which the reduction of working ability has reached the level and permanency required for the right to sickness compensation. Sickness compensation and activity compensation can be paid out to a maximum amount of SEK 19,127 per month. If you have had a low income or no income at all, you will instead receive guaranteed benefits which can vary depending on your age and how long you have lived in Sweden.

You cannot apply for these benefits on the Swedish Social Insurance Agency's website, but must send in a form. Activity compensation can be provided in periods from 1 to 3 years at a time to those who are 19-29 years old and have full or partial incapacity for work (by at least 25%) on grounds of illness or impairments to the physical or mental capacity for work. If you are 19 – 29 years old, you can receive sickness compensation if you have permanent full incapacity for work on the grounds of illness or other impairments to the physical or mental capacity for work. After having reached 30 years, you can receive sickness compensation if you have permanent full or partial incapacity for work (by at least 25%) on the grounds of illness or other impairments to the physical or mental capacity for work. Sickness compensation can be paid out on an ongoing basis until you reach 65years of age. For those who have received sickness compensation, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency will carry out a renewed investigation every 3 years to determine whether the ability to work has improved or whether a return to work is possible, for example through rehabilitation.

How long you can receive other types of benefit varies. Contact the Swedish Social Insurance Agency's customer services for more information.

Jargon busters

E-ID is an electronic form of identification which you can use to identify yourself on the Internet in the same way as you use a driving licence or ID card. You can obtain e‑ID at the majority of Swedish banks or through Telia. http://www.e-legitimation.se/

The waiting day is the first day you as self-employed are sick , for which you receive no compensation.

SGI stands for sickness benefit qualifying income. The main rule is that your sickness benefit qualifying income is based on your work.

PBB stands for price base amount. This is an amount which is used in several Swedish laws. It changes every year to follow the general price level in Sweden.

Forms you may need to fill in

You can find application forms on the Swedish Social Insurance Agency's website.

You can also order them by calling the self-service telephone number +46 20524524 or the customer centre +46 771524524.

Know your rights

Sweden:

EU:

Who do you need to contact?

Swedish Social Insurance Agency
Website: www.forsakringskassan.se
Customer centre e-mail: kundcenter@forsakringskassan.se
Customer centre telephone: +46 771524524
Find your local Social Insurance Agency

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