Quick FAQ about employment

We have gathered together the most common FAQs here with links to further reading.

Employment conditions

Competition clauses may normally only be used for officials who handle company secrets in their work. In principle, competition clauses are not permitted for probationary employees and fixed-term contract employees. Neither does the clause apply if you are made redundant. 

The clause must be reasonable in terms of scope, duration and fines. You should also be financially compensated if you have to refuse a job because of this clause. If the clause is unreasonable, it can be adjusted or annulled by a court. 

Read more about competetion clauses

Employees who have made a patentable invention that is used or taken over by their employer are entitled to reasonable payment in addition to salaryThe amount of payment depends on the value of the inventionRemember that your name must be listed as inventor in the patent application.  

We have compiled a checklist for our members so you can see what should be included in your employment contract. 

Log in to see the checklist

According to the law, an employer is obliged to provide, at the latest one month after the employee has begun work, written information about working conditions. Terms should be formulated as an employment contract. 

The Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers has concluded collective agreements within virtually all industries on the Swedish labour market. Members may contact our Advisory Services where an official can help you review your employment contract or send you the appropriate collective agreement for your industry before you sign the contract. 

There is no obligation for you to place your own car at your employer's disposal for business travel if you have not agreed to this at the commencement of your employment. The assumption, therefore, is that if the employer requires you to use a car when you are at work, the employer must provide one. 

If you have agreed to use your own car for work, it is important that the rules for financial compensation are clear. Compensation levels are not regulated by law. Nor is it common for such compensation to be regulated in collective agreements. If there are no existing travel regulations at your workplace, you must therefore agree the level of compensation with your employer. 

It is not unusual for employers to compensate their employees with SEK 18:50 per mile, tax free. This is a standard amount set by the tax authority and is intended to cover expenses for fuel and other costs. Because the car actually costs more than that, e.g. through wear and tear and insurance costs, the mileage compensation should be higher than just the tax-free part. The employer should also compensate you for any parking fees and toll charges. If you receive higher compensation than the tax-free amount, you will have to pay income tax for the excess amount. 

You should also consider your insurance cover when using the car for work and should therefore contact your insurance company for more information. 

If you use your own car while at work without receiving any compensation for the costs that you incur, you can make a deduction for these in your annual tax returnFor more information, see skatteverket.se. 

Holidays

The Leave Act is social protection legislation that has been created to guarantee workers time for rest and recovery. It is also in the employer's interest to avoid, for example, accidents and misjudgements that may result from work by overtired employees. 

One of the basic concepts in the Leave Act is that the holiday will be taken for four consecutive weeks during the period June-August, known as the main holiday period. 

When you are on holiday, you are entitled to be completely free from your regular work. Unfortunately, it appears that employers want employees to be accessible during their holidays either by having their work mobile switched on or by taking their work computer and keeping track of emails. 

You are not obliged to be reachable on your holiday or to be on call. This may be assessed as some form of emergency preparedness and you cannot be on holiday at the same time. Make sure that you do not agree to semi-working during your holidays - it does not give any real relaxation and your employer is not entitled to demand this from you. 

Listen to the Engineer Podcast section on holidays to hear how our union officials Jenny Rosenbaum and Rickard Levin discuss accessibility during the holidays. 

Read more about holidays and leave.

The concepts used in the Leave Act state that you do not have to check mails or answer the phone. The idea is that holidays are to provide rest and recreation. 

Read more about holidays and leave

During your holidays you are entitled to be completely free from work. The Leave Act is a social protection law whose purpose is to guarantee you a period of rest and recovery. 

The employer may, however, when operations require it, cancel planned holidays. You may not refuse if your employer orders you to cancel your holiday to stay at work. If you suffer any financial injury due to your employer 's action, you always have the right to have your employer reimburse you for this. If the employer 's action is unjustified, you may also be entitled to damages regardless of whether you suffered any financial harm. 

If such a situation arises, contact the local union association at your workplace or the Swedish Association of Professional Engineer advisory services to get help in investigating whether your employer had sufficient reasons to cancel your holiday.  

Read more about holidays and leave

If you become ill during your holidays, the days you are ill may not be counted as holidaysIt is defined as you being unable to have worked the day/s if you had not been on holiday. 

You must immediately report to your employer that your sick leave days should not be counted as holiday days. The holiday days that you have left due to being ill will be used at a later date, unless you make a different agreement with your employer. 

It is important that you report illness as soon as possible to your employer so that you receive sick pay for the days you have been ill. Keep in mind that you must show a medical certificate if you are ill for more than 7 days. 

Also keep in mind that you cannot demand to extend your holiday by the compensation holiday days in immediate connection with your holiday leave. 

Read more about holidays and leave

Your employer may not schedule your holidays during your notice period without your consent. If the holiday had already been planned at the time the notice was given, you are entitled to cancel the holiday if the notice was due to redundancy. If, on the other hand, you have resigned or if you have been dismissed for personal reasons, you cannot cancel your planned holiday. 

Protection against holiday scheduling during the period of notice applies only for six months. If you have a longer notice period, the employer may schedule holidays during the part of the notice period that exceeds six months. 

Read more about vacations and leave

According to the Leave Act, all employees who have been employed before 1 September in a year are entitled to at least 25 days' holiday per holiday year (1 April to 31 March). Through collective agreement or individual contracts, more holiday days may be granted. Employees who are employed after 31 August are entitled to a five-day holiday. In some collective agreements and with some employers, instead the calendar year i.e. 1 January - 31 December has been used as the holiday year. 

 
However, a difference is made between the right to leave and the right to paid leave. The law assumes that employees earn holiday days the first year and take them out the following year. According to the law and most collective agreements, you are only entitled to unpaid holidays in the first year of employment. A lot of employers however enable newly-employed people to take out holidays in advance. This means that new employees can take out paid holidays in their first year. The employer then decides how many advance holiday days they will offer. If employees resign within five years, they will be liable to repay these days. If the employer makes the employee redundant, however these days will be given for free. 

Read more about holidays and leave

The vast majority of employers usually fulfil employees’ holiday wishes as far as possible. If this is not possible, the employer schedules the holidays. The only limitation is that, according to the main holiday period regulationsemployees are entitled to four weeks of continuous holiday during the period June-August. So you may request, but not demand, your holidays in February. 

Read more about holidays and leave

Work environment

Your employer has a responsibility to ensure that your workload is well-balanced. First of all, contact your local health and safety or union representative to get help to report your situation to the employer. If none of these are available at your workplace, you are always welcome to contact the central association. In 2016, the Work Environment Agency issued the OSA instructions (Organizational and Social Work Environment), which specifically addresses workloads and the employer's responsibility and obligations. If you would like to read more about what your employer is responsible for, we can also recommend OSA-hjälpen if you work in the private sector and OSA-kollen if you work within the municipalities or county councils or Partsrådets E-utbildning if you work within the state. 

Read more about the Work Environment Act

Working hours

You must have at least 11 hours’ consecutive free time in every 24-hour period. If your rest period is cut you must be given suitable compensation. Being on call is counted as work when calculating the rest period. 

Read more about working hours..

Yes, in certain cases, but employers must have acceptable reasons if you are to work overtime against your will. Ring us for support and advice. 

To Advisory Services

All time over and above normal working hours and on-call time is overtime. Overtime work may be a maximum of 48 hours in a four-week period or 50 hours in a calendar month. According to the law, overtime may not exceed 200 hours per year, regardless of whether you are paid overtime pay or not. 

If you are not entitled to pay for overtime, this must be stated in your employment contract and collective agreement. 

Read more about working hours.

On-call time is time when you do not have a work obligation but are required to be at the employer's disposal at the workplace to perform work when needed. 

Read in your collective agreement the conditions that apply to you. 

If you are employed by an employer who lacks a collective agreement, the question of on-call pay is up to your employer. You can, of course, regulate this issue in your employment contract. 

Period of notice

In the first instance, check and see if the issue is regulated in your employment contract, if not the collective agreement rules on notice periods apply. 

If you work at a company without a collective agreement, you have, according to the Employment Security Act (LAS), a one-month notice period, regardless of when employment took place. 

Read more about periods of notice

If you are covered by a collective agreement, in principle, the one-month notice period applies during probationary employment, however rules may vary slightly towards the end of the period. 

If you do not have a collective agreement, LAS applies and in practice provides a notice period of 2 weeks. 

Read more about periods of notice

You may, under certain circumstances, be liable for damages if you do not comply with the notice period and leave without having agreed it with your employer and before the end of your period of notice. In some collective agreementthe issue has been regulated and often states a standard rate of damages. 

Read more about periods of notice..

There is a legal obligation to report if there is a risk of redundancy for at least 5 employees. This is to ensure that the Employment Service can be prepared to take care of the employees who may be made redundant. This is a formal requirement and does not absolve the employer of the obligation to negotiate the actual organizational changes and any redundancies involved. 

Read more about periods of notice.

Other leave

According to the Leave of Absence for Studies Act, you are always entitled to leave of absence for studies if you have been employed by the same employer for the previous six months or a total of at least twelve months over the previous two years. 

These studies do not need to have any connection to your employment. You choose what you want to study. The course must, however, follow a fixed study plan - you are not entitled to leave for self-study. Leave of absence will be granted for the period the educational programme takes, regardless of how long it is. You are also legally entitled to leave for part-time studies. This leave must then include the time you need for your studies. You are liable to work during the period you are not studying during part-time studies. 

It is always necessary for the employer to grant your leave in order for it to apply. The employer has the right to postpone the requested leave to the future if this can be justified for operational reasons. Note that other rules may apply if a collective agreement is in place at your workplace. 

Make sure you submit your application for study leave well in advance. This will increase your chances of having the leave granted in time to start your studies. If you are unsure of whether you will be admitted to the course for which you are requesting study leave, you may condition your application by stating that you are applying for leave on the condition that are admitted to your chosen course of study. 

Read more about leave of absence

The Right for Leave for Business Activities Act entitles employees who have been employed longer than six months or a total of at least twelve months during the previous two years to leave of absence for a maximum of six months to try to run their own companies. Also, those who are already running a company alongside their employment have the right to leave to continue with the business on a full-time basis. Your own business must not compete with your employer operations and your leave may not constitute a major inconvenience to employer operations. 

An example of a significant inconvenience could be that operations cannot continue to be run in the normal manner or because there would be considerable imbalance in the workload due to your leave. Larger-scale cost increases are also counted as significant inconvenience. The normal costs that arise when the employer recruits a substitute cannot be regarded as a significant inconvenience to employer activities. 

You must report that you wish to take leave of absence at least three months before the starting date and are entitled to a decision from the employer one month after your request. 

The right to leave is limited so that it only covers a six-month period from the same employer. 

Parental leave

Your salary development should not suffer because you are or have been on parental leave. You should receive increments as if you had been working. The Parental Leave Act contains a prohibition on penalising those on parental leave as regards salary and other terms of employment. 

Read more about parental leave

Normally you are entitled to return to the same position, however if it is no longer there due to, for example, reorganisation you are entitled to a similar position. 

Read more about parental leave

Forms of employment

The Swedish Employment Security Act, LAS, stipulates three different forms of employment: permanent positionfixed-term contract and probationary employment. 

Permanent position 

This is the norm according to LAS. There is no end date determined in advance for when the employment is to ceaseEmployment will cease only after a period of notice has been issued by you or your employer. 

Fixed-term employment 

This applies for a stated period of time and up to a previously-agreed date. Such contracts may be concluded for: 

  • General fixed-term employment. 
  • Substitute for a named individual on leave. 
  • Seasonal work. 
  • When the employer is more than 67 years of age. 

Probationary employment 

This is a type of employment that becomes permanent after a stated period. 

Probationary employment means that the employer may, freely but on an objective basis, cancel the employment. Usually you may be a probationary employee for a maximum of six months. If the probationary period continues longer it will automatically become permanent employment. 

 

Collective agreement

Collective agreements protect and regulate aspects such as pension contributions, sick pay from your 15th day on sick leave and help you if you are made redundantMembers who are made redundant receive help and support from the Job Security Council (Trygghetsrådet TRR) to restart their careers and to go forward to a new job. 

Everything about collective agreements.

As an employee of a company without a collective agreement, you yourself have to determine what is to apply with your employer. You do this in your employment contract. 

If you are working at a company without a collective agreement, you can receive good benefits in the form of an occupational pension solution, salary supplement for parental leave and annual salary review. These are usually regulated in a policy that the employer establishes. Consequently, the employer may unilaterally decide at any time to reduce the level of the working conditions - without negotiating with you. For these issues we offer support and advice to members. 

 

Discrimination

The employer is obliged to establish guidelines and routines so that harassment or sexual harassment are prevented. Sexual harassment is "behaviour of sexual nature that insults someone's dignity". 

The person who harasses must have insight into the fact that this is unwelcome behaviour. As a member of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineerscontact elected representatives at the workplace or to the central association for advice and support or negotiation assistance. 

Read more about harassment and the Discrimination Act.

 

As a union member always come to us firstIf there is no local representative in the workplace, contact the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers Advisory Services. 

Employer's certificate

An employer certificate is proof that you have been employed by an employer for a certain period. It is a certificate of what you have done in the workplace, how much you have worked, how much you have earned, an explanation of why you chose to quit and an assessment of you and your efforts at the company.

When you stop at a workplace, you have the right to receive an employer certificate under the Unemployment Insurance Act. You must then submit this to your unemployment insurance fund to be entitled to compensation if you are unemployed. The certificate is used to test your entitlement to compensation and to calculate your compensation.

The employer certificate for the unemployment insurance fund must be drawn up on a special form that you receive from the employment office or the unemployment insurance fund. The certificate must then be signed by your previous employer. Your employer has a legal obligation to issue a correct employer certificate by § 47, paragraph 2. Act on unemployment insurance when you quit your employment. If your former employer is no longer there, you must contact the unemployment fund to agree on how to resolve it.

Unfortunately, there is no penalty if the employer does not issue a certificate. You may, however, try to contact the employer via letter or similar means, and refer his duty under the law or contact us and we may try to reach the employer. Should there be very great difficulties in obtaining an employer certificate from the employer, you can prove your work with the employer with the help of eg. salary specification or trade union representative at the company. According to some decisions by the Registrar of Ombudsman, the AEA (the recognized unemployment fund of the academies) may not assess such information differently than an employer certificate. The easiest way is to contact your local elected representative.