tazjin's blog

Being sick in Sweden

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I've been sick more in the two years in Sweden than in the ten years before that.

Why? I have a theory about it and after briefly discussing it with one of my roommates (who is experiencing the same thing) I'd like to share it with you:

Normally when people get sick, are coughing, have a fever and so on they take a few days off from work and stay at home. The reasons are twofold: You want to rest a bit in order to get rid of the disease and you want to avoid infecting your co-workers.

In Sweden people will drag themselves into work anyways, because of a concept called the karensdag. The TL;DR of this is 'if you take days off sick you won't get paid for the first day, and only 80% of your salary on the remaining days'.

Many people are not willing to take that financial hit. In combination with Sweden's rather mediocre healthcare system you end up constantly being surrounded by sick people, not just in your own office but also on public transport and basically all other public places.

Oh and the best thing about this? Swedish politicians often ignore this rule and just don't report their sick days. Nice.