Sweden’s tax-paying prostitutes win right to paid sick leave

HELSINKI — Swedish prostitutes 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 percent of annual income of a maximum of $47,460, 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,” Joakim Jarnryd, a director at the Stockholm- based organization, said by telephone Thursday. “We don’t make any moral judgments.”

In Sweden, selling sex is legal and prostitutes can register to pay taxes using euphemisms, which qualify them for benefits. Even so, buying their services isn’t legal in the Nordic country and customers run the risk of fines or imprisonment for as long as six months.

Sweden’s sex-purchase ban dates from 1999 and neighboring Norway passed a similar law in 2008. While prostitution hasn’t been banned in Denmark and Finland, it isn’t regulated. Unemployment benefits and pensions aren’t within the purview of the Swedish agency.

The organization decided to extend the benefit to prostitutes after examining the matter last month, Jarnryd said. It had resolved cases in 2003 and 2010 before the review. 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, her spokeswoman Anna Erhardt said by telephone.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Striking Starbucks employees talk to a woman who wanted to use the drive-thru but was turned away due to the strike on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, on Broadway in Everett, Washington. Workers at the 37th and Broadway store spent their morning picketing because a fellow employee had been fired the previous day in what the workers believe is an act of union busting. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett Starbucks workers go on strike after employee fired

The employee and her fellow union members claim she was fired for supporting the union. Starbucks denies it.

X
Property values soar 32% in Snohomish County due to hot housing market

Assessed values are up all across the county since last year. The impact on tax bills won’t be known for a few months.

Everett
Port of Everett hosting annual open house after pandemic hiatus

Also, Rustic Cork Wine Bar plans to open a second shop at Fisherman’s Harbor — the latest addition to the port’s “wine walk.”

Holly Burkett-Pohland, the owner of Burkett’s Home & Gift, outside of her new store front on Friday, June 17, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New Everett gift store debuts in former J. Matheson space

For years, Holly Burkett-Pohland wanted to expand a business founded by her mother in 1978.

A Kenmore Air Cessna 208 Caravan. (Kenmore Air) 20220613
Kenmore Air to start daily flights from Paine Field to San Juans

Service begins July 14. Flights to Friday Harbor and Orcas Island airports take about 25 minutes.

Seattle Space Needle sues coffee chain over use of logo

The logo for Local Coffee Spot features a mug of hot coffee whose rising steam bears striking resemblance to the iconic tower.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Foes of state’s capital gains tax drop plans for initiative

I-1929 sponsors say they are confident a lawsuit challenging the legality of the tax will be successful.

Arlington
Smoother sailing: Arlington airport gets grant to fix runway

A $2.3 million federal grant will pave the way for a project to resurface the airfield’s main runway.

Workers build the first all electric plane, the Eviation Alice, on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 in Arlington, Washington.  The plane is designed for regional travel and to carry nine passengers. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Eviation moves tests of electric passenger plane to Moses Lake

The Arlington company said a bigger runway and flatter terrain are better suited to early testing of the commuter aircraft.

An artist's rendering of the new Funko warehouse in Buckeye, Arizona. (Funko) 20220407
Funko warehouse layoffs begin this week in Everett, Puyallup

The layoffs, announced in April, are part of a plan to move distribution operations to Arizona.

Rendering of the front entrance of Spruce Elementary School in Lynnwood. (Edmonds School District)
Police: Edmonds schools sent $2.7 million check to fraudster

Police say the fraudster posed as a contractor for a new elementary school. A bank caught it at the last second.

Looking north, an aerial view of Paine Field in Everett. (Paine Field / Snohomish County) 20220605
Paine Field development plan envisions an expanded terminal

Once Sea-Tac Airport reaches capacity, the Everett airport is on the short list to absorb unmet demand by passengers.