Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure SE-2020-12/564 – Updated – measures in Sweden
|Sweden , applies nationwide
|Temporary, 16 March 2020 – 30 September 2021
|Legislations or other statutory regulations
Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
|Anna-Karin Gustafsson (Oxford Research) and Eurofound
|13 April 2020 (updated 19 September 2022)
Starting 7 April, it will be possible for employers to apply for financial support for short-time work. This means that individual employers affected by temporary and serious financial difficulties that could not reasonably have been foreseen or avoided will be able to receive support for a limited period of time. The aim of the measure is thus to dampen the effect of the ongoing health crisis and save jobs by easing the financial burden of wage costs for companies experiencing difficulties.
Short-time work (also known as short-time layoffs) is regulated in the Act (2013:948) on short-time work (Lag (2013:948) om stöd vid korttidsarbete).
Short-time working means that employers can reduce their employees’ working hours and receive financial support from the central government to compensate for a significant part of the costs for retaining the employee.
This measure covers only the private sector. This measure is not available for sole traders.
Working-time can be reduced by up to 80%. The support is intended to correspond to 72% of the employer’s costs after the reduced working hours. The maximum salary for the support is SEK 44,000 a month (€4,400) and an employer can receive support for six calendar months, with the possibility of extension for another three months. The support goes to the employer, not to the employee. The application for the employer’s opened in April 2020 and is open throughout 2020.
Employers wishing introduce short-time work must first ensure that they have the possibility for short-time working in their central and local collective bargaining agreement. Employers whose employees are not covered by a collective bargaining agreement must instead sign an agreement for short-time work covering at least 70% of the employees at the operating unit.
The use of short-term work is likely to be widespread. One day after the application opened, the administrating authority - The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth - had already received 15,000 applications.
By 13 July 2020 approximately 73,500 companies had applied for support. The amount of support that has been paid out is SEK 26 billion (approximately €2.6 billion). The number of employees covered by this measure was approximately 570,000.
As 6 October 2020, 84,707 applications had been made. The amount of support that has been granted was SEK 28 billion (approximately €2.6 billion).
As of 15 January 2021, in total 94,289 applications had been made. The amount of support that had been granted was approximately SEK 31 billion (approximately €3 billion).
Employees in standard employment
|Applies to all businesses
|Does not apply to citizens
Public support service providers
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The social partners are involved in the implementation of this measure in the sense they have renewed collective agreements in accordance with the new regulations. The first agreement was signed 18 March 2020 when the Confederation of Swedish Enterprises and the trade unions Unionen, the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers and Ledarna agreed upon including the new regulations in the collective agreements.
During the spring 2020, the Swedish Federation of Business Owners welcomes this measure. However, they criticise the exclusion of sole traders.
Furthermore, they argue that the current system is not enough but the state should cover 100% of the costs.
Even the Swedish Trade Union Confederation has argued for making it possible to cut down the worked hours by 100% instead of the current 60% (or 80% during May, June and July 2020).
Eurofound (2020), Short-time work allowance, measure SE-2020-12/564 (measures in Sweden), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/SE-2020-12_564.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.