7 Things to know when working in Sweden | Undutchables

7 Things to know when working in Sweden

Here are some “Need to know” that can come in handy when working in Sweden, this great Scandinavian country!

Just as every other country in the World, Sweden has its own specific things when it comes down to labor and labor law. Here are some interesting facts that you can follow to make your professional career complete.

Taxes

Yes, when starting a job in any country one must pay taxes. It is said that Sweden has one of the highest taxes in the world. Hmmm, this is partially true. It depends how you look at certain things. It’s a fact that on average, you “loose” about 30% to taxes. Compared to other countries this is quite reasonable and one must put this into perspective. With this I mean that you get a lot in return. For example, all the children receive free education up until they go to university. This is of course if you have a permanent residence permit. Then you have the healthcare system. This is almost free of charge as well. Mostly it works that you have a self risk of an estimate of SEK 1 500,00 that you must pay on a yearly basis. After these SEK1 500,00 all costs are included, and you therefore do not pay anything extra until the next year. Note that this doesn’t count for all medicine prescriptions, though. But here as well, the amounts that you must pay are heavily subsidized. The taxes also provide for something called WABBING. This is when you as a parent need some days off because your child falls ill. In Sweden it’s not allowed to send your child to school when they are ill. The system allows you to work from home and you get paid for this. So, it’s not so bad.

Unemployment security

This is something you do not automatically think of when starting a new job but is actually quite common. Most Swedes join some form of A-Kassa, which is short for arbetslöshetskassa. There are several different agencies that you can choose from and it’s worth doing some research on them. It’s an insurance in case you should lose your job. In some cases, this even means that you get to keep up to 80% of your registered salary. This can also be applicable when you find yourself in between jobs. It sometimes happens that the starting date of your new job does not match your last working day at your old. The A-kassa can fill this gap. It is even so that in some cases financial institutes require you to be a member of an A-kassa. Think about wanting a loan and or a mortgage. For them it’s an extra guarantee. I promise you in this socialist country everyone thinks it’s 100% OK to do so.

Union

Become a member of a union. ‘A union?’ I hear you think, yes, a union. Depending from what country you come from this can raise some eyebrows. Do not be afraid that you must stand on barricades surrounded by burning car tires. There are many unions to choose from as well and they are mostly specialized to the area you decide to work in. A union in Sweden is actually quite common and most Swedes are a member of a union. Keep in mind though it’s not required but it certainly has a lot of advantages if you do so. Of course, the union can give you advice on salary negotiations and in the worst case provide you with legal advice. At the same time, many unions also help you with possible extra education in form of a special loan or sponsoring.


Lunches

This is a tricky one but most certainly a very important one. Swedes like their food breaks very much. Eating a warm meal twice a day is actually very common. And they do take their time for it. Of course, the food is very important, and you can get a good lunch for SEK 100,00 per person. But in many cases, it’s not about the food alone. It is said that the best business deals have been made over a good lunch. This is very often used to get to know your customer/candidate/colleague much better and to see whether there is a foundation for trust. Do not say no to this if possible. Not always, but they can be more important then one tends to think. Another well known tradition is something called Fika. Typical Swedish and mostly intended to socialize to drink coffee/ tea and sweet buns and biscuits(Read the 5 delicacies in Sweden blog). There is a catch though. Don’t forget to exercise as well. Those buns can get to you.


Vacation

Mostly the planning of it. Swedes like to plan, and they do so by the week. It’s quite common to plan your summer holiday already in January. Your boss must make a scheme and likes to know this early in advance in order to make this work and maybe sometimes take in a temporary replacement. Taking a leave of a month is not that strange as well. Together with some extra days, sometimes people are off for 5 weeks in a row. At times, many businesses do not even bother to fix replacement and, in many cases, close the doors and run on minimal capacity. June and July can be quite empty in many Swedish cities. In the meantime, when you are enjoying your break, you are getting paid your normal wage and sometimes even an extra amount. It’s called a holiday bonus which you can choose to do something extra fun with during your vacation.

Notice periods and trial periods

When working in Sweden there is something that comes in very handy to know in advance. When starting a job, be aware that a trial period consists of 6 Months. This is normal and quite common. Do not be shocked by this. It sometimes can be a point of negotiation but in general it’s 6 months. At the same time, you also have a notice period of 2 months sometimes even 3 months. The job market is still quite locked and process steered and one doesn’t switch jobs that often in a lifetime. The people that do very often work as consultants and or freelancers.

Special leave

As already mentioned before you have a huge amount of special leaves. This is a right you have, but depends very often on employer/ Union or sector you work in. Nevertheless, there are many sorts of leaves that we advise you to look into. The most well known is the parental leave. This goes for both mother and father. You also have a special leave if you decide to study and of course you have your Wabbing!

These are some typical things that you can encounter when working in Sweden. Of course there are always exceptions and it’s definitely worth to do some research to see all the do’s and don’ts.

More information on living and working in Sweden you can find here Sweden.se

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