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Your rights and social security

When you live and work in Sweden you may be entitled basic social security via the various statutory social insurance schemes. If you are covered by a collective agreement you are entitled to even more benefits. Your individual situation depends on your employer.

Social insurance in Sweden provides everyone who is active on the labour market in Sweden with basic security if, for example, they were to become ill, have a child or retire. The same rights do not apply to those who are studying.

In order to complement the statutory social insurance cover, Naturvetarna and other trade unions negotiate collective agreements which contain more extensive employment conditions and benefits and therefore provide even greater security on the labour market. This is a really good reason to become a member of a trade union such as Naturvetarna!

Read more about collective agreements here.

Your rights

Swedish social insurance provides security when you become a parent, if you become ill, unemployed or retire. In order to be able to take part in this it is necessary for you to be insured in Sweden so you must be registered in the country and your information filed at the Social Insurance Agency. Read more about this under New in Sweden.

Social insurance benefits are divided into benefits based on residence and benefits based on working. Your rights depend on whether you are working or studying. If you are studying, you are entitled to residence-related benefits only.

Even if you are not insured in Sweden you are entitled to emergency medical care if necessary. How much you will have to pay depends on where you come from. Read more at the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) website. 


Tax reduction for your trade union fee

Between July 1st 2018 and April 1st 2019, you had the right to deduct 25 percent of your trade union fee in your declaration. However, after the 1st of April this tax deduction will be abolished

In order for you to receive this deduction, your trade union fee has to add up to 400 SEK per year. You don't need to inform the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) about the deduction, since Naturvetarna has provided Skatteverket with your information. You will not receive a copy of the information that we have sent to Skatteverket.

Your rights:

If you become a parent

In accordance with the Parental Leave Act, you are entitled to leave when your child is born (or an adopted child arrives) irrespective of your job type or form of employment. During this leave you may apply for parental benefits from the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan), a government agency.

  • Both parents jointly receive a total of 480 days of parental benefits.
  • 60 days are reserved for each parent, the remaining 260 days may be distributed as preferred.
  • For 90 of these days the payment level is SEK 180 per day (lowest level).
  • For 390 days, payment is 80 percent of sickness benefit-generating income (SGI).
  • SGI is an amount calculated by the Social Insurance Agency based on your income and forms the basis for how much is paid to you in parental benefits.

As a PhD student with a taxable income, you are covered by the state parental insurance, which means that you receive 80 per cent of your salary during parental leave and that the time you spend on parental leave extends the period of your PhD position when you return to work.

If you are studying, a doctoral candidate on a scholarship or have no or a very low income, then benefits are SEK 250 per day for the SGI payment days. Read more at Försäkringskassan. 

Additional parental benefits

If you work at a workplace that is party to a collective agreement, you are in most cases entitled to additional parental benefits. Sometimes you also receive extra benefits when you are home taking care of ill children (see below). This additional benefit has been negotiated by Naturvetarna and other trade unions in a collective agreement.

If you are employed by the state at, for example, a university or a university college there is an agreement on parental benefits that provide 90 percent of your salary for 360 days if you take out parental benefits from the Social Insurance Agency at the lowest level. As a PhD student, you will receive supplementary parental leave benefits as a result of the collective agreement for state employees, and you have the same rights as all other employees.

Temporary parental benefits for care of ill children (VAB)

If you have to stay home from work to take care of your child who is ill, this is called VAB days. You will be paid temporary parental benefits. Payment is just under 80 percent of your salary. You make the application for VAB benefits when the child has recovered and you are back at work.

If you work for the state there is also a topping up of Social Insurance Agency benefits in your collective agreement if you earn more that the basic amount ceiling. Read more at Försäkringskassan.

Children's allowance

If you live in Sweden and you have children, you will receive financial assistance in the form of children's allowance from the Social Insurance Agency. This is paid out once a month for each child up to the age of 16. You do not have to make a special application but do contact the Social Insurance Agency to notify them that you have children if you have just moved to Sweden. Read more at Försäkringskassan. 

If you become ill

If you become ill and cannot work you will receive financial support in accordance with the collective agreement. The first day you are ill is called a qualification day. This means that you do not receive any salary or benefits for that day. From day 2 until day 14 your employer pays you statutory sick pay. Sick pay is 80 percent of your salary. After this the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) pays sickness benefits for a certain period, initially 90 days. Read more about sickness benefits at Försäkringskassan.

If you work at a workplace that is party to a collective agreement, often this provides additional benefits when you become ill. For example, within the county council/municipal sector the collective agreement can give up to 10 percent of your salary extra if you become ill, plus that your employer may pay out sick pay parallel with sickness benefits or rehabilitation benefits from the Social Insurance Agency.

If you become unemployed

Unemployment benefit

If you become unemployed you are entitled to unemployment benefits from an unemployment insurance fund. This provides basic financial protection if you are without work. However, membership of these funds is not compulsory and you must choose to actively join and pay membership in order to be able to receive the benefits.

In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must have been a member of an unemployment insurance fund for at least 12 months before you lose your job or graduate with a doctorate. In the case of doctoral candidates, the rule is that the thesis must be submitted for printing for you to be considered available on the labour market and entitled to unemployment benefits.

There are several different unemployment insurance funds in Sweden. If you are a member of Naturvetarna, Akademikernas a-kassa is your unemployment insurance fund and membership of the fund is a requirement to be able to benefit from our income insurance, which supplements the benefits paid by the unemployment fund. Please note that application for membership of Akademikernas a-kassa is to be made separately and is not included in your membership of Naturvetarna. Read more about the terms and conditions for the Akademikernas a-kassa

Additional benefits

Naturvetarna’s income insurance supplements the unemployment insurance fund in the event of temporary unemployment. We can also provide support and advice to advance your career. Read more about our career services.

If you work in a workplace that is party to a collective agreement, you are also covered by what is known as a transition agreement. These provide support if you are made redundant in the form of, for example, financial benefits and career support. The most common transition agreements are:

Keep in mind that if you become unemployed, you must register as a jobseeker at the Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) on the first day you are unemployed. This is necessary if your sick pay-based income level is to continue to apply, which means that you retain your right to benefits from the unemployment insurance fund even when you no longer have a income from work. 

When you study, take your doctorate or work as a postdoc

Social insurance benefits are divided into benefits based on residence and benefits based on working. Your rights depend on whether you are working or studying. If you are studying, you are entitled to residence-related benefits only, for example Children's allowance and Parental benefits at lowest and basic level. 

If you move to Sweden to, for example, take your doctorate or work as a postdoc, it is essential for you to know that your rights to social insurance differ depending on whether you are on a scholarship or are employed in a salaried position. Those with scholarships are still regarded as students, consequently they are only entitled to the social insurance cover based on residence. They are not entitled to benefits that are work-related such as sick pay or sickness benefit or state pension.

Read more about the benefits based on residence or on working in Sweden.

When you retire

When you work in Sweden you are entitled to a statutory state pension. The state pension is divided into two parts; income-based according to your income and premium pension that you can choose to invest in different funds. The Swedish Pensions Agency manages the state pension in Sweden.

If your workplace is party to a collective agreement, you will also receive an occupational pension. This makes a significantly greater contribution to your future pension than your state pension alone.

If you are not covered by a collective agreement, it is important that you discuss with your employer and ask if they would consider paying an occupational pension for you, or when you are just beginning a job, include the value of the occupational pension into your salary level so that you can save for your own pension.

There are different occupational pensions in the different labour market sectors:

  • ITP in the private sector
  • P16 in the state sector
  • Kap-kl in the municipal and county council sectors

At, everyone who has earned a pension in Sweden can log in and see his/her future pension and pension forecast.

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