HR Strange But True!
September 17, 2004

The results of a survey have prompted Swedish welfare authorities to launch a campaign to educate Swedes about when they can take sick leave. What did the authorities find that was so troubling? It turns out that 40 percent of the population believes that just feeling tired is enough to stay home and draw benefits.

The survey also shows that 65 percent believe they can go on sick leave if they feel stressed at work, while 41 percent think a conflict with their boss or coworkers is a good enough reason.

One-fifth thought a strike at the childcare center also made them eligible for the benefits; 71 percent said family problems entitled them to sick leave, sometimes if not always.

Anna Hedborg, head of Sweden's National Social Insurance Board, ruminated on the survey results in a newspaper column: "Our mistake could be that, in some misdirected benevolence, we were not clear enough on where the limits are."

Sweden, famous for its generous welfare policies, has seen sick leave absenteeism double over the last two years to 800,000, or one-fifth of the workforce, by late 2003, according to the Reuters news agency.

Source: Reuters, via Yahoo!

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