Tax-paying prostitutes in Sweden are entitled to sick pay, the country’s National Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) said this week.
Although soliciting sex in the Nordic country is legal, it is still illegal to pay for sex. However, until now, authorities have failed to outline which social benefits are available to registered, tax-paying sex workers.
But this week national insurance officials issued a promise to define the rules more clearly.
Joakim Jarnryd said to Sveriges Radio on behalf of the country’s National Social Insurance Agency, “This situation has been considered to be a gray area, but I don’t think it should be. If you’re not doing anything illegal, I think it should be relatively clear”.
He added, “Prostitutes in this case are engaged in no illegal business and if this person has declared a legitimate income and has proof of a registration with the tax authorities, then we’ll treat this like any other economic operator.”
The lack of terms has led to a wealth of confusion in the system in recent years, and officials hope the changes will address such problems. Many prostitutes in the country currently register as body treatment and spa workers with tax officials, which makes processing benefits fairly confusing for social workers.
Pia Blank Thörnroos of the Swedish Tax Agency explained during the same Sveriges Radio programme how the scheme will work: “If someone has an income from the selling of sex then it’s taxable, as it’s legal to sell sex. We’ve solved it so that these people can submit their income declarations together with everyone else in May and report their incomes. If one wants to avoid arrears, the taxes can be paid at the tax office.”