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Sweden

Staff

Updated 07/2012

Legal requirements

The most important Swedish laws in the labour market and employment areas are:

  • Employment Protection Act, often abbreviated LAS;
  • Co-determination Act, also called MBL.

Types of employment

Always draw up a contract with anyone you employ. The contract of employment should state the type of employment, salary, notice period and leave entitlement.

There are two types of employment:

  • permanent employment;
  • temporary employment.

Permanent employment is the same as established employment. The main principle according to the Employment Protection Act (LAS) is that an employment contract is in effect until further notice. Unless agreed otherwise, people are thus always employed in established posts.

Permanent employment does not automatically end on a particular date. It may be terminated by:

  • notice of termination;
  • dismissal;
  • voluntary agreement that the employment should cease.

If you, the employer, wish to terminate the employment, you must have a valid basis. ‘Valid basis' means that an employee is behaving in an undesirable way and is aware that this behaviour is not acceptable. The employee's actions also risk damaging the company in some way. For the requirement for 'good grounds' to be satisfied, you must first have tried to redeploy the employee.

Before you offer someone an established post, you may place them on probation.

The probationary period may be for a maximum of six months. It is not permissible to employ someone on probation for tasks that they have already performed as a temporary worker. In this case the employee is considered to have completed their probation already.

The idea of probation is that it should be converted to an established position at the end of the probationary period.

If the employment is to be temporary, this must be made clear in a written agreement for it to apply. You can choose from the following types of temporary employment:

  • General fixed-term contract;
  • Temporary post;
  • Seasonal employment;
  • Pensioner aged 67 or above.

Employing foreigners

Recruiting within the EU

EU citizens can work anywhere in the EU without a work permit.

Recruiting outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland

If you want to employ someone from a non-EU/EEA country, they must first obtain a work permit.

Anyone with a residence permit to study at a university or college in Sweden also has the right to work for the duration of the residence permit.

The work permit must be ready and inserted into the passport before arrival in Sweden.

These are the conditions for obtaining a work permit:

  • the person you wish to employ must have received a written offer of work in Sweden; there is a special form obtainable via the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen);
  • as the employer, you must guarantee that the salary, insurance cover and other conditions of employment at least comply with collective agreements or Swedish practice within the profession or industry;
  • accommodation in Sweden must have been arranged for the employee;
  • the relevant trade union must have had the opportunity to comment;
  • the employee must be prepared to leave Sweden when the employment ends.

There are minimum social rules to follow, especially about non-discrimination, gender equality and health and safety.

Administrative procedures

Registering as an employer

To employ someone, you must first register in the National Tax Board's Register of Employers. Registration can be done electronically or using form SKV 4620.

Once you have been registered, you will receive confirmation from the National Tax Board in the form of a registration certificate. The Board will then automatically send out the documents that you need.

Social security and tax contributions

By virtue of your registration, the Swedish National Tax Board knows that you are obliged to report and pay social security contributions and income tax for your employees.

You will be required to:

  • deduct tax when paying salaries (pay as you earn - PAYE);
  • pay social security contributions (employer's contributions).

In fact, employers' contributions comprise several different contributions to provide basic social insurance cover.

In 2012, employers' contributions amounted to 31.42 % for employees born from 1947-1985. For employees born 1986 or later, the employer contribution is 15.49 %. If the employee was born from 1938-1946, the employer contribution is 10.21 %. For employees born in or before 1937, no employer contribution is paid.

Once a month, you must report your employer contributions and income tax for your staff to the Swedish National Tax Board. These must be paid into your clearing account for taxes and charges no later than the 12th of the following month.

When you pay salaries, you must also provide a written payslip to your employee.

Each year, you also have to submit a statement of earnings and tax deductions to the National Tax Board.

Special obligations

In case of sickness

In the case of sickness, you pay 80 percent of the salary after the qualifying date. The insurance scheme picks up the costs after 14 days.

Terminating a probationary position

If you wish to terminate the employment at the end of probation, you must inform the employee of this at least two weeks before the end of the probationary period. If the employee is in a trade union, the union must be notified within the same period. The union is entitled to discuss the position with the employer.

If the employee does not wish to take up permanent employment after probation, he or she must inform you by the last day of probation at the latest.

The LAS and collective agreements will apply

The rules on termination and dismissal are contained in the Employment Protection Act (LAS). This Act protects the employee against unfair dismissal and places restrictions on the employer's freedom to dismiss staff.

Most collective agreements also contain rules on dismissal and termination of employment. So do not forget to check your collective agreement.

 

Resources

Through the Swedish Public Employment Service’s database, job seekers are matched with vacant posts.

There are also a great number of private companies that are specialised in recruitment for particular sectors. Authorised temporary work (temping) agencies can be reached via Almega's website.

EURES, the European job portal, offers employers information and support on recruiting across the EU. As well as assisting jobseekers, it helps entrepreneurs find workers from across the EU. In border regions, EURES provides information on cross-border commuting and helps workers and employers with problems that may arise.

Programmes

If you employ a person who has been unemployed for more than one year then you can be exempt from/apply for discounted employer's contributions for that employee.

Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) runs projects, within the framework of European cooperation, on mobility in the labour market.

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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