Swedish employment law – in brief
Swedish employment relations are to a large extent governed by a fluid mix of mandatory law, collective bargain agreements and the individual employment contract. Types of employment are until further notice, probationary (trial period) and fixed-term (several types). The individual employment contract supplements the mandatary legislation and collective agreements and normally covers salary, incentives and benefits, working location, working hours, holiday entitlement, termination and (supplementary) pension benefits.
There are a number of mandatory legislation governing employment relations. The principal legislation is the Swedish Employment Protection Act (“Act”). The Act is mandatory, meaning that any agreement between an employer and an employee that deprives the employee of any rights under the Act is invalid (exemptions may follow from collective bargain agreements).
An employee may be dismissed either with or without notice. A dismissal with notice must be based on objective grounds. Objective grounds, defined only in case law, can be either for objective reasons or subjective personal reasons. Objective reasons are dismissals based on redundancy, shortage of work or the economic situation of the employer, while subjective personal reasons are all based on employee’s conduct or performance. Notice periods when dismissing upon notice is governed by the Act or applicable collective bargaining agreement, but there can be regulations on this also in the individual employment contract. According to the Act, the notice period varies between one and six months depending on the length of employment.
The Co-determination Act also has a central role in Swedish employment legislation. The act governs the relationship between concerned unions and the employer, and comprises detailed provisions on obligation to provide information and to negotiate prior to deciding on material changes of the operations, terminating employments etc. The obligation to negotiate is just what is says to be, and there are no requirements that negotiations must result in any form of agreement with the concerned union.