As an international payroll service provider, TopSource is always keeping abreast of changes happening in employment laws, payroll procedures, and HR legislation around the globe. Currently, there is an enormous amount of change in these areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic and not just in one place. There has been significant, simultaneous reform and change across the globe. Keeping all international payroll service providers on their toes especially has been all the governmental, unprecedented attempts to help economies, nations, communities, and individuals weather this storm and survive on the other side. 


Even Sweden, which already had a comprehensive unemployment safety net in place for its citizens as well as a very low infection rate has been impacted by the halt of industry and consumerism and has needed to make some adjustments and provisions for the new situation they are faced with. One of the first changes in policy the Swedish government made was around their sick leave laws. While usually, the first day of sick leave was always unpaid, totally at the expense of the employee, the government quickly saw this as a potentially unfavorable policy to have in place whilst trying to get infection rates down. They needed to incentivize employees to stay home if they were ill so as to not pass on COVID-19 if that is what their symptoms were presenting. Many companies, of their own accord, have insisted that even perfectly healthy employees should work from home until further notice so as to lower the risk of spreading infection. 


The ability for companies to defer payment of up to two months’ worth of employer contributions including pension and employees’ preliminary tax for up to one year has been welcome assistance the government has offered to employers. The government also made a commitment to cover up to 86% for all wage and tax costs for workers who were temporarily or partially made redundant. 


Even though Sweden boasts some of the lowest numbers in regard to infections and deaths they are still at risk for a huge economic impact if not handled correctly. The industrialist Jacob Wallenberg has said that there could be a 20-30% economic contraction and the unemployment rate could hit up to 20-30% too. This is only a prediction, but the government needs to make provisions for the possibility. 

The Swedish government has placed a lot of trust in the public and have had some of the most relaxed rules in place amid the rest of the globe under tight lockdown. One of the many factors for this being that they have the highest global rate of people living alone. This has helped drastically with how low the infection rate has kept down. Also, culturally, Swedish people are much less likely to strike up conversations with strangers and in general keep their distance, even without social distancing recommendations in place. 

Although the lockdown restriction is not forcing people to be locked in their apartments or forced to stay inside many Swedish citizens and employers alike have self-imposed rules. For example, many citizens are opting to only order their groceries online and some employers have re-created the entrance to their companies through the bathroom so that every employee has to wash their hands before entering the office. Most people resort to an elbow touch instead of a hug or kiss hello and in general, people are opting to meet up outside in the fresh air instead of in their houses. 


Other help the government has had to jump to put in place is a promise of $220 million to invest in improving care home conditions. Care homes in Sweden have been hit the hardest for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the residents in care homes are obviously the most elderly and frail in the country so they are the most vulnerable to developing the worst of the COVID-19 symptoms and therefore the highest death rates. Secondly, the care home employees, the carers that come in and out of the care homes every day are often coming on public transport. These carers are also usually coming from the highest infected areas. Also, because they are usually parts of lower-income households there are often several generations living under one roof including elderly relatives. So, this is a double risk, they are going into work and giving it to the care home residents and then go back home and giving it to their grandparents. 


Trying to keep up with international payroll and employment adjustments is harder than ever which is why outsourcing all this to an international payroll service provider is more of a necessity than ever. Make sure that you don’t miss a thing when you choose TopSource as your payroll provider. 

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