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Working Conditions in Sweden

1. Minimum Working Conditions

There are mandatory rules concerning minimum working conditions in Swedish law that must be observed by the employer. For example, there are regulations regarding working hours, working environment and non-discrimination. However, the terms and conditions are mainly regulated in the individual employment agreement and/or, if applicable, in the collective bargaining agreement.

2. Salary

There are no provisions regarding minimum salary in Swedish law. However, provisions regarding such matters are often found in the collective bargaining agreements.

3. Maximum Working Time

According to the Working Hours Act, regular working hours may not exceed 40 hours per week. Where the nature of work or working conditions generally so demand, working hours may amount to an average of 40 hours per week for a period of no more than four weeks. Where an employee is demanded to be at the employer’s disposal at the workplace in order to carry out work if necessary, on-call hours may not be more than 48 hours over a four-week period or 50 hours over a calendar month. Deviations from certain regulations in the Working Hours Act can be made by collective bargaining agreement, but not in individual employment agreements.

4. Overtime

Overtime comprises working hours in excess of regular working hours and on-call hours. Where additional working hours are required, overtime hours may not exceed 48 hours over a period of four weeks or 50 hours over a calendar month, subject to a maximum of 200 hours per calendar year. Statutory law does not contain regulations regarding overtime pay. Overtime pay is normally provided for in collective bargaining agreements.

4. Holidays

Vacation entitlement is regulated by the Annual Leave Act, which distinguishes between unpaid and paid vacation, and between a “vacation year” (1 April to 31 March) and a “qualifying year” (the 12-month period prior to the vacation year). An employee earns his or her entitlement to paid vacation during the qualifying year and is entitled to use his or her paid vacation during the vacation year. The basic vacation entitlement is 25 paid days per year. Collective bargaining agreements or employment agreements normally contain rules entitling employees to a longer period of annual leave, in particular for white-collar employees not entitled to overtime pay. Employees are entitled to take a continuous four-week vacation during the period June to August, unless there are circumstances justifying other arrangements. Deviations from certain regulations in the Annual Leave Act can be made by collective bargaining agreement.

6. Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace

Sweden possesses extensive legislation providing guiding principles regarding the working environment. The Working Environment Authority’s task is to supervise employers’ compliance with the Working Environment Act. The employer is responsible for the working environment and must take all necessary measures to prevent ill-health and accidents, instruct and inform employees on how to avoid risks, have an organization for rehabilitation and adaptation activities and have recourse to the occupational health care that is needed.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Sweden, please contact Robert Stromberg, Partner at Cederquist (www.cederquist.se) at robert.stromberg@cederquist.se
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