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The Swedish social insurance system for the self-employed

Listed author(s):
  • Lindskog, Magnus
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    The increasing number of smaller and relatively short-lived companies and the growing number of individuals working in the 'grey zone' between dependent employment and selfemployment present several challenges for the social security system. Social insurance in Sweden is controlled by the state and uniform throughout the country, and it consists of employment-conditional as well as residence-based benefit schemes. In general, there is no link between the two types of schemes; the former offers earnings-related benefits and the latter provides a basic level of protection to individuals with low or no income. This paper focuses on the social earnings-related protection for selfemployed persons, with the social security system for employees as a point of reference. It argues that universalism is a central feature of the Swedish social protection system, and that it has been gradually extended to cover the self-employed according to largely the same principles as those for employees. For each group, however, there are slightly different regulations related to when a person is entitled to benefits and how the daily allowances are calculated. In particular, the loss-of-income principle implies that it is central for the selfemployed person to 'earn a salary' since revenues that are reinvested in the company are not considered when calculating the daily allowances. The study highlights the difficulty to design a fair system that considers entrepreneurs as workers in need of protection, their role on a competitive market, and that takes into account that self-employed persons generally have more control over their working situation than employees do.

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    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment with number SP I 2005-103.

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    Date of creation: 2005
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzblpe:spi2005103
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