Looking Ahead 2024: Sweden
Employers will have to adhere to new rules on employee benefits and relations. These developments are detailed below.
Obligation to offer indefinite-term employment to long-term temporary agency workers
On 1 October 2022, an amendment to the Agency Work Act (Sw. Lagen (2012:854) om uthyrning av arbetstagare) regarding long-term temporary agency workers entered into force. The amendment stipulates an obligation for customer companies to offer indefinite-term employment to a temporary agency worker who has been assigned to the same operating unit at the customer company for a duration exceeding 24 months within a 36-month period. The offer must be made not later than one month after the 24 months’ time limit has expired. As an alternative to offering an indefinite-term employment, the customer company can choose to remunerate the employee with compensation equivalent to two months’ salary. On 1 October 2024, 24 months have passed since the amendment entered into force and the described obligation for customer companies will consequently be applicable in relation to temporary agency workers.
Up to 90 days of parental benefit can be transferred to non-parents
Currently, only parents are eligible for parental benefits, and it is only possible to transfer days of parental benefits between parents. As of 1 July 2024, a noteworthy amendment to the Social Security Code (Sw. Socialförsäkringsbalken (2010:110)) and the Parental Leave Act (Sw. Föräldraledighetslagen (1995:584)) will allow parents to transfer parts of their parental benefits to others. This adjustment entitles other than the parents, such as grandparents and other relatives, to take days off from work to take care of a child. Additionally, those who use days of paid parental leave will be protected by the anti-discrimination provisions in the Parental Leave Act, which expressly prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and job applicants based on the utilization of or the intention to utilize parental leave. Parents with joint custody will be able to transfer 45 days of parental benefit each, while those with sole custody will be able to transfer a total of 90 days.
The Whistle-Blowing Act applies to all employers with 50 or more employees
A new Whistle-Blowing Act (Sw. Lag (2021:890) om skydd för personer som rapporterar om missförhållanden) entered into force on 17 December 2021, implementing the EU Whistle-Blowing Directive into Swedish law. The Act provides protection from retaliation not only for employees when reporting irregularities but also for other persons who are engaged in, or are in contact with, the business, including job applicants, consultants, and board members. As of 17 December 2023, all employers with 50 or more employees within the legal entity must have implemented and documented internal procedures and routines for reporting irregularities. While there are no technical requirements for the internal procedures and routines, they shall be available for everyone engaged in the business, be user-friendly, ensure confidential treatment of the reporting person’s identity, and enable both written and oral reporting. Within a group of companies, the internal procedures and routines may be shared by legal entities that employ not more than 249 employees, but legal entities that employ 250 or more employees are obliged to implement their own internal procedures and routines. Compliance under the Whistle- Blowing Act is monitored by the Work Environment Authority, which has the power to issue orders under penalty of a fine.