Sweden’s Health-Care Workers Get $620 Bonus for Covid-19 Work

Health-care workers on the frontline of Sweden’s coronavirus crisis will this year get a $620 one-off payment for their efforts in fighting the pandemic.

The bonus forms part of a four-yearagreement struck by employers and the labor union Kommunal. The deal, which also entails annual pay rises of 2% this year and next, covers about 400,000 employees in health care and education, including assistant nurses, care assistants and childminders.

“This is a victory for our members,” Kommunal chairman Tobias Baudin said in a statement. “These are real, tangible, wage increases.”

Baudin had asked for more, though, arguing that Sweden’s public sector workers should be generously rewarded for their hard work amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, the country’s virus death rate was among the highest in the world, with about half of the fatalities coming from those in elderly care.

The end result of the negotiations was largely in line with the pay increases in abenchmark agreement between industrial unions and employers, excluding the onetime reward for Kommunal members.

Employees in the welfare sector “have done important efforts during a very difficult time,” Joakim Larsson, head of negotiations for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, said in a separate statement.

“It’s obvious to us that the staff must be rewarded for their work during the pandemic,” Larsson said.

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