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Working conditions

In Sweden, working conditions are governed by legislation and collective agreements. The collective agreement is an important complement that provides security by including many measures - from an annual salary review and supplementary pension to support for finding new jobs if employees are made redundant.

The exact definition of your working conditions depends on whether your employer is party to a collective agreement with a union such as Naturvetarna, the Association of Professional Scientists.

If you are not covered by a collective agreement, certain conditions are regulated in legislation and others should be included in your employment contract.

Collective agreements

Collective agreements are voluntary agreements between unions and employers' organisations regarding the working conditions that apply to employees. They complement labour legislation and often provide much better terms for employees.

Collective agreements may entitle you to multiple benefits, such as:

  • Extra parental benefits if you have children.
  • Extra financial compensation if you become ill or are injured in an accident.
  • Occupational pension, which is an important supplement to the state pension.
  • Additional benefits and support for finding new jobs in cases of redundancy.

Being covered by a collective agreement may be regarded as a guarantee that the workplace provides good working conditions for employees, although the conditions may differ a little depending on the relevant agreement.

If you are employed by the state, (including universities), a municipality or a county council, you are covered by collective agreements. If you work in the private sector, it is up to the employer to sign collective agreements. Contact your employer to find out what applies at your workplace.

Collective agreements apply to anyone working for an employer who has chosen to become party to a collective agreement. However, it is important that you are a member of a union such as Naturvetarna - the more of us there are, the greater our legitimacy to negotiate good working conditions for scientists.

If your employer is not party to a collective agreement

If you are employed in a workplace not covered by a collective agreement, the contents of your employment contract are even more important than usual. Sweden's labour laws regulate basic working conditions, but it is important to bear in mind that collective agreements provide greater security and more benefits.

According to Swedish legislation you are entitled to:

  • At least 5 weeks of annual holiday.
  • A 40-hour working week.
  • Leave of absence when you have children and parental allowance for 480 days per child (for both parents).
  • At least one month's notice period under the Employment Security Act (LAS), which provides employees with protection in the event of redundancy or dismissal.
  • Regulations governing probationary and fixed-term employment.
  • State pension based on your income and certain other factors.

If your employer is not party to a collective agreement, it may be worthwhile finding out if they might consider including the benefits that collective agreements usually contain, such as occupational pensions, or alternatively you might include the value of the occupational pension in your salary request so that you have the opportunity to save for your own pension.

If you would like assistance in interpreting your employment contract and how the terms affect you, contact Naturvetarna, who will review it for you.

Read more about social security in Sweden.


Download templates for employment contracts when there is no collective agreement here. You need to log in as a member to be able to download these templates.


Labour legislation

The most important law regulation that concerns the relationship between employer and employee is:


You are welcome to contact our Membership helpline if you have any questions.

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