Monday, January 23, 2012

Vabbing It - or Sucking on the Teat of the Nanny State Again

Today I had a long list of things to do for work, but last night Little Swede woke up about 10 times and he only does that when he doesn't feel well. Sure enough, when I took him down to breakfast, he was a wreck. The snot was everywhere. And he insisted on having peanut butter (See that American in him?) until he went blue in the face, instead of his musli and yogurt. I know you are probably thinking - its just a toddler phase, but really Little Swede is generally pretty relaxed and easy going, a mood like this means he is not feeling well.

For the past week Little Swede has been fighting a cold, but he's also been chanting 'Play Play Play' so we have taken him to school. But today he is home.

And I am taking VAB out for a test drive.

What is VAB? Vab is when the Swedish government pays you to stay home with your sick kid. Seriously. I get 80% of my salary today for playing 'bilencar' which involves looking at pictures of cars and shouting their names, and eating popcorn while watching the Life series Mammal episode and fast forwarding through the violent bits.

My American friends usually take one of their own sick days when their kids are sick (most full-time employees have about 10-14 sick days per year with full pay, which they can take as they wish) or they call a family member in desperation. Here you call the State Insurance and report that you are staying home today with your Little One. I am not sure, but will soon find out, if you still have to also include a signed letter from the daycare center saying your child has not attended. 

Strangly enough, it can be more beneficial to an employee to have a sick kid than to be sick themselves. If you are sick, you have to take one day without pay before you can collect sick benefits.  But with VAB you get your money from day one. 

That said, now that Little Swede is napping I'm trying my damndest to give myself a break and not dive into the mountain of things waiting for me. I am, after all, being paid to watch my son, not to work. And this is where that American/Swedish internal conflict roars its evil head. Am I supposed to just sit here and do nothing? Well there is always laundry/dishes/etc to do....


  1. I am sorry to hear that little Swede is not feeling so well. Hope he feels better soon. VAB is a great thing. As you say it is more beneficial taking a VAB than being sick on your own. It must be hard to get by on the 10 sick days you have in the US if they have to cover sick leave for yourself and 1-3 children.
    Well one has to be happy there is such a thing as VAB here. A luxury for working parents with small kids in a cold climate.

  2. A small correction: You get close to 80% based on your base salary up to SEK 37,083 per month. If you have a higher salary, your benefits still max out at SEK 994 per day (pre tax).