Unemployment fund fees set to rise again

Sweden's unemployment funds could raise their charges further in the autumn - partly because so many members are leaving the funds due to the increased monthly contributions since the charge scale was overhauled in the autmn.

The Hotel and Restaurant union is said to be considering increasing the monthly contribution which its members pay to their unemployment fund. Four other funds have said that a rise in charges could be required, according to Swedish Radio.

Some 263,000 people have left their unemployment fund since the autumn, when the government introduced higher fees and lower benefit payments, as well as changing the conditions for receiving benefits.

The exodus has seriously damaged the financial reserves of the funds and paying members must now make up the shortfall, said Hotel and Restaurant union fund manager Anna-Lena Lundh. She said she expects to raise fees in the autumn.

“It’s a vicious circle. More members are going to leave the fund, I’m convinced of that. Our members in the Hotel and Restaurant unemployment fund, they’re not wealthy. If they have to balance up paying a fee of 600 kronor a month against paying for food that month, unfortunately that’s when they choose to quit,” she told Swedish Radio.