Sveriges Ingenjörer

Employment contracts

An employment contract is an important document for both employer and employee. It clarifies the working relationship, making it clear and secure for both sides through a written agreement. If there is a collective agreement in force at the workplace, most conditions are already regulated. If there is no collective agreement, there is a lot you need to think about yourself.

When you are going to start a new job, it is important that you know what you are expected to do and what you your employment involves. By law, employers must provide written information about important working conditions. This is to be included in your employment contract.

An employment contract is important for several reasons

  • Clarity regarding terms and conditions 
  • A legally binding document
  • Prevention of misunderstandings
  • Protection for both parties

Matters that are to be included in an employment contract

The collective agreement covers matters such as:

  • sick pay
  • occupational pension
  • parental pay
  • leave of absence
  • notice periods
  • overtime and travel time compensation
  • compensation for employees’ inventions
  • working time

A collective agreement guarantees that you will have the conditions that are regulated within it. But even though collective agreements have standardised conditions, there may still be scope to negotiate individual solutions and conditions in addition to the collective agreement. If the employer has signed a collective agreement, the employment contract should state which agreement applies at your workplace.

An employer without a collective agreement may have many similar conditions in a written policy or employee handbook. However, the conditions regulated in the policy or employee handbook can be changed or removed unilaterally and without warning by the employer. It is therefore important to negotiate in order to ensure that the following conditions are included in your individual employment contract:

Occupational pension

There is no statutory obligation for employers to pay occupational pension contributions. If your workplace is not covered by a collective agreement, it is therefore vital that the right to an occupational pension and the pension scheme’s premium levels are regulated in your employment agreement.

Read more about occupational pensions at workplaces without collective agreements here (in Swedish)

Other insurances that are included in collective agreements

Compare the insurance cover that the employer offers with collectively agreed insurances, for example health insurance (part of the ITP pension scheme), TFA (occupational injury insurance) and TGL (group life insurance).

Read more about collectively agreed insurances on the Avtalat website

Sick pay

By law, the employer is to pay sick pay for days 1-14 of sick leave, with a qualifying period deduction. Sickness benefit is then paid by the Social Insurance Agency, Försäkringskassan. With a collective agreement, the employer also pays collectively agreed sick pay for days 15-90 of sick leave, which means that during this period you can receive almost 90 per cent of your salary. If there is no collective agreement at your workplace, you should investigate what cover your employer provides.

Read more about sick leave compensation heree (in Swedish)

Salary review

There is no statutory right to an annual salary review and adjustment. This is regulated in collective agreements. If there is no collective agreement at the workplace, you should negotiate the right to an annual salary review in your employment contract, as well as when in the year this should normally take place.

Parental pay

Parental benefit from the state can be supplemented by parental pay/ supplementary parental leave compensation through collective agreements. Most commonly, you are entitled to parental pay when you have been employed at the workplace for at least one year. If there is no collective agreement at your workplace, the right to parental pay and the rules that apply to it need to be clearly stated in your employment contract.

Can I negotiate the terms and conditions of employment?

If there is a collective agreement at the workplace, you can be sure that you will have good working conditions, but this does not prevent you from trying to negotiate different or better conditions. You should always negotiate about your salary.

In a workplace without a collective agreement, all conditions are negotiable. You simply have to negotiate yourself to make sure you get good working conditions. Many employers who do not have collective agreements have their own standard contracts that they follow strictly. It can be difficult to negotiate changes to these employment contracts, so you should prepare yourself with clear arguments about why you should get the conditions you want. Benefits, for example, are easier to negotiate than matters regarding confidentiality. You should always negotiate about your salary.

Even if the employer uses a standard contract, be sure to read it carefully and ask the employer questions if anything is unclear. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate changes or improvements. A serious employer makes sure that you understand the terms and conditions and that both parties are in agreement before you sign.

The terms and conditions in your contract will impact not only your work life, but also your private life, so it is important that you are comfortable with them.

Employment certificate in the public sector

Some employers in the public sector provide certificates of employment that normally do not need to be signed.

Clauses that can be found in employment contracts

Below you will find examples of more clauses that may appear in employment contracts, with a brief explanation of what they mean and advice on what to bear in mind.

Company car or car benefit

An employer can offer a car benefit, for example, as a company car, leased car, or compensation for the use of a private car for work purposes. If you are offered a car benefit at work, there are several important aspects to consider.

Read more about company cars and car benefits (in Swedish)

Do you need further help or advice?

If you still feel unsure, as a member of Engineers of Sweden you can get expert help to review and understand your employment contract before you sign it.

Contact the Engineers of Sweden member services team. 

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