Swedish sex workers win right to sick pay

Swedish sex workers win right to sick pay

Swedish sex workers have won the right to claim benefits, including sick days and parental leave, bringing their social security closer to that of other taxpayers.


Sex workers will be able to claim sickness benefit of about 80 per cent of annual income of a maximum of 330,000 kronor ($A46,300), the Swedish Social Insurance Agency said.


The benefit will run for as much as a year for any illness lasting at least 14 days. For the self-employed, the first seven days are unpaid.


”As long as sex workers pay their taxes, they should have the same access to sick-leave benefits and parental leave as anybody else,” said Joakim Jarnryd, a director at the Stockholm-based organisation. ”We don’t make any moral judgments.”


InSweden, selling sex is legal and sex workers can register to pay taxes using euphemisms, which qualify them for benefits. Even so, buying their services isn’t legal and customers risk fines or imprisonment for as long as six months.


Sweden’s sex-purchase ban dates from 1999 and neighbouringNorwaypassed a similar law in 2008. While sex work hasn’t been banned inDenmarkandFinland, it isn’t regulated.


The organisation decided to extend the benefit to sex workers after examining the matter last month, Mr Jarnryd said. The number of people seeking the benefit will probably be low as ”very few taxpayers have registered as sex workers”, he said.


Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask is preparing a proposal for Parliament this year that may include increasing the maximum time of imprisonment for buying sexual services to as much as one year.