SWEDEN: A new 2016-2020 strategy for the work environment

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The government recently presented its strategy for 2016-2020 concerning the work environment. This is in response to the increase in recent years in work-related conditions, especially of a psychological nature, and the sharp increase (by 75% since 2010) in sick leaves. According to the Minister of Employment, there is a clear link between the budget cuts imposed by the previous government, which in particular shut down the National Institute for Life in the Workplace, and the increase in the number of sick leaves.

The new strategy has three objectives:

  • A zero fatal accident vision and the development of preventive measures which will make it possible to achieve this: even though the number of fatal accidents has declined by half in the past 25 years, there is still at present about one fatal accident per week.
  • A sustainable labour market: this will involve a new organization of the work environment in response to the 50-64 age group who, according to a 2014 survey, consider that they will not reach retirement age, but also to young people who are often in distress, and in general to all those workers who find it difficult to reconcile their personal life and working life.
  • Improvement of the psychosocial work environment: in order to curb the increase in the number of sick leaves, including among the young, the aim is notably to increase dialogue between the social partners, the Swedish authority for the work environment and the Ministry of Employment for a better knowledge of the new market forms and work environments.

The Minister of Employment specified, moreover, that two surveys should make it possible to determine what are the necessary rules in a modern labour market and the conditions to create a centre of expertise in the work environment.

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