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The ten most serious border obstacles

| Text: Björn Lindahl

Border obstacles are not only things that make it difficult for Nordic citizens to settle down and work in a different Nordic country from their own. They are also problems which arise when you move back home, when you fall ill or when you need to draw your pension. NLJ and the Freedom of Movement Forum have drawn up a list of the ten most important border obstacles for working life.

The Freedom of Movement Forum have a list of 39 different border obstacles which they aim to get rid off. Some are problems which affect tens of thousands of Nordic citizens, others might affect just a few. We have drawn up a list of the ten most serious border obstacles based on the number of people they affect and how serious the consequences are for the individual:

  1. People who have worked for several years in one country and take early retirement from a different country receive a lower pension if they do not meet the demands for early retirement in both countries. Their pay-out can be considerably reduced as a result.
  2. People on partial sick leave in one country cannot take up part-time work in a different country without loosing their sickness benefit. Accepting any work in a different country involves changing the social insurance host country, which again has consequences for the sick leave.
  3. People living in border areas are not allowed to approach the labour market on the other side of the border when they seek labour market training.
  4. Someone hired in one country risks not receiving any unemployment benefit if they fail to register with that country's unemployment benefit fund from day one. In Sweden you need a whole year's uninterrupted membership in order to claim unemployment benefit. The Freedom of Movement Forum says it would be more reasonable to demand at least eight weeks' membership.
  5. People living in Sweden and working for a staffing agency/temp agency do not receive money from their unemployment benefit fund in between jobs.
  6. Border commuters who become unemployed during a period of sickness leave risk loosing all of their benefit when declared partially fit for work, because the two countries can't agree on who is responsible for paying the benefit.
  7. Swedes who live in Sweden and work in Norway and receive Norwegian rehabilitation benefits as a result of being injured or otherwise ill, will run into trouble when trying to document this fact in Sweden. This is because Norwegian authorities refuse to fill in the necessary Swedish unemployment benefit form (the E301). This will have consequences for the size of a person's benefit if he or she become unemployed.
  8. A person living in Sweden and working in Denmark who get injured or for other reasons remains incapable of working for a long period of time must, after medical treatment, travel daily to Denmark to attend a rehabilitation programme. It would be easier if this could happen in the country of residence.
  9. Men who work in Norway with a wife/partner who neither lives nor works in Norway has no right to paternity leave around births or parental leave to look after children. The right is derived from the rights of the mother.
  10. People on parental leave cannot break it off to take up work in a different Nordic country. The consequence would be a reduction of the parental benefit to the basic level when that work ends, i.e. the right to parental benefit in the former country of work ends and is replaced by basic level parental benefit in the country of residence. 

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