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Article on welfare.

Women’s pay increases, men win at lifetime earnings

Women’s pay increases, men win at lifetime earnings

(Feb 24, 2021) Swedish women's income averages 77.7% of that of men’s over a lifetime of work. This has not changed since 1995 and represents 3.2 million kronor (€319,000) on average. And government agencies contribute to this development concludes the Commission for gender-equal lifetime earnings in its first report.

Towards happier times?

(Nov 11, 2020) A Covid-19 vaccine with a 90% success rate was a longed-for piece of news as the Nordic region is facing the second wave of the pandemic. This crisis also impacts on the integration of newly-arrived immigrants.

Vaasa wants to attract more people by making them the world’s happiest

Vaasa wants to attract more people by making them the world’s happiest

(Nov 11, 2020) The Finnish city of Vaasa was at the very start of a campaign to make it the happiest city on Earth. Then corona hit. Now it remains to be seen whether the city and its inhabitants can create greater happiness in the depths of a crisis and a pandemic.

The skewed distribution of welfare

(Dec 17, 2019) In Finland, there has been a government crisis. In Sweden, the politicians quarrel over the Public Employment Service and in Norway the scandal where thousands were branded benefit cheats, continues. At the same time, the gap between the poor and the rich is slowly but surely increasing - even in the Faroe Islands where growth has been highest.

Faroe Islands: big economic growth yet increasing poverty

Faroe Islands: big economic growth yet increasing poverty

(Dec 16, 2019) The Faroe Islands are doing very well. But things are also going very badly. One survey shows the Faroes had the greatest economic growth in Europe last year. At the same time, the number of Faroese at risk of poverty rose from 9 to 10.7 %. “A worrying trend,” says trade union coordinator Sonja Jógvansdóttir.

Fraud in the welfare state

(Nov 27, 2019) The word fraud has been used a lot in the welfare debate in the Nordics this autumn. In Norway, the “NAV scandal” has been dominating the news. In Denmark, an employee at the National Board of Social Services is in court charged with embezzling more than 100 million Danish kroner, while unemployment statistics for Sweden have been compromised.

Fundamental misinterpretation led to Norwegian legal scandal

Fundamental misinterpretation led to Norwegian legal scandal

(Nov 27, 2019) It has been called Norway’s worst ever miscarriage of justice. Thousands of people were accused of cheating the benefits system when accepting unemployment allowance and other support while living abroad. It then turned out it was never illegal – as long as it happened within the EEA.

Danish welfare agency wide open for fraudster

Danish welfare agency wide open for fraudster

(Nov 27, 2019) Should an employee get a lesser sentence if it is easy to steal from the employer? This issue is currently being debated in the criminal case brought against Danish Britta Nielsen, who stole more than 100 million kroner (over €13m) from her employer, the Danish National Board of Social Services. The money had been allocated to disadvantaged citizens.

Sweden – more generous than what EU law demands

(Nov 27, 2019) For many years, Swedish authorities considered it to be people’s right to take their so-called guaranteed pension (garantipension) with them if they moved abroad. Yet, a couple of years ago, the EU Court of Justice made it clear that Sweden was not at all obliged to pay the guaranteed pension to people living in other countries.

The transnationals – when one country is not enough

The transnationals – when one country is not enough

(Nov 27, 2019) “More and more people chose to be transnational. They don’t want to live in just one of two countries, but in both. This might not be a huge number of people, but they do represent a challenge for national welfare systems,” says Jørgen Carling. He has spent several years leading a research project looking at the phenomenon at Prio.

A portrait of the richest of the rich in Finland

A portrait of the richest of the rich in Finland

(Nov 27, 2019) Who are the richest one in a thousand in Finland – the euro millionaires? How do they view themselves and other Finns? These issues are being explored in one of the most discussed books this autumn: Huipputuloiset – or something like The Top Earners in English.

Money can't buy you happiness in Iceland

Money can't buy you happiness in Iceland

(Oct 18, 2019) Families need decent wages in order to afford all the essentials. But high wages do not necessarily make families happy. There is no direct correlation between money and happiness, unless the family has real economic problems. The key to happiness is mainly spending time with family and friends.

New Norwegian IA agreement: More of the same, but fewer conflicting goals

New Norwegian IA agreement: More of the same, but fewer conflicting goals

(Feb 15, 2019) After 17 years, the Inclusive Workplace Agreement (IA) was renegotiated and changed in late 2018. No-one still knows for sure how to reduce sick leave levels, but the remedies in the IA agreement will now be available to all companies.

Gissur Pétursson, Permanent Secretary with thermometer and yardstick

Gissur Pétursson, Permanent Secretary with thermometer and yardstick

(Feb 15, 2019) Gissur Pétursson worked in the Icelandic Directorate of Labour for more than 20 years, but has moved on to become the top civil servant in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Children. The ministry has just changed to focus on four areas; children, housing, social insurance and the labour market.

OECD: Politicians put too much trust in the GDP

(Dec 17, 2018) Do we have the necessary statistics to govern our societies in the best possible way? Or is a blind trust in statistics to blame, at least indirectly, for the collapse in trust in authorities after the financial crisis? Before dismissing this as a conspiracy – the theory was presented by none other than the OECD.

Britt Östlund: Technology is made by people – so we can influence it

Britt Östlund: Technology is made by people – so we can influence it

(May 28, 2018) 80 year olds are considerably more different from each other than 40 year olds, yet older people are often described as an homogenous group with no real knowledge of how to use technology. This limits innovation and influences how welfare technology for older people is created, says Britt Östlund, a professor at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology specialising on older people and welfare technology.

"The welfare model is vulnerable to high levels of immigration of adults with low skills levels."

"The welfare model is vulnerable to high levels of immigration of adults with low skills levels."

(Feb 02, 2017) There was great concern in the Nordic countries a few years ago that they would be hit by an age shock. The fear was an increasing lack of labour as a result of falling numbers of young and middle aged people. But out of the four main demographic drivers, only one developed as expected: Populations are ageing.

Are the Nordic welfare states prepared for crises?

Are the Nordic welfare states prepared for crises?

(Nov 16, 2016) Do the Nordics spend too little money on Nordic welfare? Yes, believes Iceland’s Minister for Nordic Cooperation Eygló Harðardóttir. She sees great opportunities for more welfare cooperation, and supports a proposed Nordic welfare forum and a system for common welfare indicators, to be better prepared for future crises.

Profit limit on welfare services  triggers strong emotions in Sweden

Profit limit on welfare services triggers strong emotions in Sweden

(Nov 16, 2016) When the so-called welfare inquiry was presented on 8 November, proposing a limit to profits from welfare services, there was immediate disagreement. The centre-right parties want to remove a seven percent limit, while the Left Party is pushing the government to take even tougher action against profit.

I am incredibly thankful for part time work!

I am incredibly thankful for part time work!

(Mar 03, 2016) 35 year old Cecilie Enevold has gone part time in order to spend more time with her two small children. That was a difficult but correct decision, she says.

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Welfare in Scandinavian

Danish: velfærd

Norwegian: velferd

Swedish: välfärd

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