Sweden to offer sick pay to prostitutes

July 5, 2012 at 1:24 PM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, July 5 (UPI) -- The Swedish government is looking to make sick pay available to taxpaying prostitutes, officials said.

Sweden's National Social Insurance Agency is drawing up guidelines which clarify which social benefits are available to tax paying prostitutes who are registered as sole proprietors, Swedish news agency TT reported.

As of 1999, the purchase of sexual services in Sweden is illegal; however it is perfectly legal to sell them.

"If someone has an income from selling sex then it's taxable, as it's legal to sell sex," said Joakim Jarnryd of the National Social Insurance Agency. "We've solved it so that these people can submit their income declarations together with everyone else in May and report their incomes."

Typically, prostitutes who register with Sweden's tax authorities claim to be working in body treatments and healthcare, but this makes it difficult for insurance staff to process benefits claims from prostitutes. The new guidelines seek to eliminate the grey area.

"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," Jarnryd said.

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