Sweden expands jobless benefits to cushion coronavirus hit

Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson and Minister for Financial Markets and Housing Per Bolund speak during a news conference on approved extra means for the unemployment benefit scheme during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, in Stockholm, Sweden, March 30, 2020. TT News Agency/Janerik Henriksson via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden proposed on Monday to temporarily boost unemployment benefit to help cushion the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Even with the powerful measures taken to date to counter the economic consequences of the virus outbreak, unemployment is expected to rise sharply,” the Finance Ministry said. “This necessitates an adjustment to unemployment insurance policy.”

The government has already instituted loan guarantees for small and medium-sized companies and a tax amnesty, and provided extra cash to help local authorities fight the coronavirus.

On Monday it proposed to reduce the threshold for time worked and time paying into an unemployment benefit scheme in order to qualify for benefits.

“At the same time, it is proposed that both the ceiling and the basic amount in the unemployment insurance fund be temporarily raised to alleviate the financial consequences for the unemployed,” it said.

The government expects the costs for the new measures to total around 11 billion crowns ($1 billion), an appendix to the statement showed.

More Stories