We have spoken to your mother. We know everything.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Swedish Work Ethic?

There appears to be a very good reason why so many immigrants find Sweden irresitable.

You don't need to work
Stay home from work, laze about or travel, while collecting 70 per cent of your salary — an illusion? Not in Sweden, where the government will pay workers to take a guilt-free year off and replace them with long-term unemployed, who will get their foot in the door of the job market. Following the success of regional test programmes in place since 2002, Sweden plans to launch the initiative nationwide next year.
What does that really mean?
The profile of the typical volunteer for the programme is a 47-year-old woman who works in the public sector. Birgitta Wiklund, 45, is one such person. She jumped at the opportunity when it presented itself, and in November 2002 she packed her bags and flew off to sunny Thailand with her 10-year-old daughter for three months. "When I got back I was very rested, but starting work again was difficult. Without the government's help I would never have been able to treat myself to this holiday," Wiklund, who works at a local employment office, said. Volunteers are free to travel, study, take care of their kids, build a new home or even startup a company during their year off — anything they want as long as they are not gainfully employed. Paer-Olov Karemar, a 58-year-old accountant, took advantage of the programme to launch a second career: he started a company in the United States and has three patents pending for internet accounting.
We're amateurs when it comes to welfare.