In the event of sickness

Sickness benefits in the Nordic countries concern wage or benefits in the event of absence from employment. In the event of absence due to sickness, employers in all the Nordic countries are obligated to pay compensation, in either the form of sick pay or sickness benefits.

On sickness benefits

Sickness benefits in the Nordic countries concern wage and cash benefit in the event of absence from employment. The benefit schemes vary between countries. In principle everyone in employment is entitled to compensation, however the rules governing compensation depend on type of employment and the individual’s position on the labour market.

In the event of absence due to sickness, employers in all the Nordic countries are obligated to pay compensation, in either the form of sick pay or sickness benefits. This is known as the employer period. As a supplement to the employer paid period, wages are payable during absence due to sickness under collective bargaining agreements or special governing the public sector.

After the statutory employer period, paid sickness absence is covered either by the public authorities or by social insurance schemes. Employees not entitled to sickness benefits during the employer period are compensated according to general rules in each of the countries from the beginning of the period of sickness absence.

Please refer to the section on Paid absence due to sickness, for more specific information on specific rules in each of the countries.

When calculating compensation rates and disposable income, calculations only concern one specific family type now. The calculated rates concern a single person without children drawing sickness benefits, using the average worker (AW) income levels of 50, 75, 100 and 125.

Disposable income in the event of sickness

Calculating the disposable income demonstrate that there are three different groups of rules on paid sickness benefits across the Nordic countries. The rules in Iceland and Norway compensate the most, both by value of the compensation amount and at the level of compensation. It is in most cases 100 per cent of previous income, however there is an income sealing at AW75 in Norway. Among the rest of the countries, the disposable income is both more even across the countries and imply an income ceiling at AW75 or AW100. However, in Finland the level of disposable income increases slightly across the calculated levels of income.

In Denmark and the Faroe Islands, the ceiling of disposable income is at AW75 whereas the level is AW100 in Sweden.

Compensation rates in the event of sickness

In all the Nordic countries, except Iceland, the compensation rate by which the previous level of income is covered by sickness benefits decrease as income level increase. The differences in compensation rate between the lowest and the highest income levels are largest in the Faroe Island.

Calculations show that the compensation rate in the event of absence due to sickness in some of the Nordic countries barely has changed in recent years. For all income levels the largest significant change has happened in Sweden, and in some income levels in Finland.

Method