Sweden has the reputation of being extremely woman friendly. The country has perhaps the strictest car seat safety regulations in the world, and one of the lowest rates of child injury/death from car accidents as a result. It has an enviable maternity leave policy that gives moms up to a year of full pay.
Swedish employers don't have a problem paying women to use their boobs to nurse their children, but they draw the line on some other breast related issues.
A Swedish waitress is suing her employer, Viking Line, after it denied her medical coverage and docked her earnings while she was off work getting cosmetic breast enhancement surgery.
Well, yah. This would be a non-issue in this country. A story like this wouldn't even make the local weekly paper. Most American insurance companies don't cover cosmetic surgery of any kind, period. In fact, some lawmakers involved in the recent health care reform package wanted to punish people who opted for plastic surgery by instituting a government tax on all procedures. It was cut before the proposal passed.
So the fact that a woman feels her employer should pay for not just her operation but the two weeks she spent home from work recuperating from the operation seems unheard of to us Americans with our priorities a tad straighter. Not surprisingly, Viking Line sees it that way too.
Upon her return to work, the woman's employers noticed the "difference," put two and two (or one and one?) together, and told her they were denying her coverage and docking her holiday pay to make up for the lost time at work. A provision in Swedish labor law allows employers to deny coverage and benefits when a person "intentionally inflicts unnecessary harm" on themselves. An optional cosmetic procedure done for non-medical reasons qualifies, Viking Line says.
The busty woman got her union muscle involved. In socialist Sweden, everyone joins a union. It's like the mob or your pimp -- you're with them for life and they go to bat for you. The woman's union contested the benefit withdrawal, and when that was denied, they took the ferry company to labor court. A union representative says whether the woman’s injuries were self-inflicted is irrelevant. “An operation is an operation, and you should get the same sick pay for that whether you work on sea or land.”
The outcome of this case could definitely set a precedent and open up a lot more jobs in the immigration department, which better be ready for the mass influx of flat-chested foreigners.
Should this Swedish company pay for their employees bigger bust?
Image via Per Ola Wiberg/Flickr