4. Trends and Specific Cases
a. New or Expected Developments
The use of independent contractors is increasing in Sweden. Hence, the acceptance of its presence as a complement to regular employees has grown in the legal context. Another new trend on the Swedish labour market is the increasing number of self-employment companies and self-employed persons. This arrangement is basically that a person is employed by a self-employment company and is then either hired out to businesses for a period of time or for a specific assignment. It is the self-employed himself/herself who obtains the assignments. The self-employment company invoices the hiring/contracting company for the performed assignment. Salary and social security contributions are paid by the self-employment company to the self-employed person based on the invoiced amount. Thus, the contracting company and the self-employment company are the con-tracting parties.
However, trade unions and representatives of the temporary work agencies on the Swed-ish labour market have criticized the self-employment arrangements and argues that its use constitutes a circumvention of the peremptory concept of the term “employee”. The arrangement has not yet been tried by a court in Sweden.
b. Recent Amendments to the Law
In a case from the Labour Court from 2012 (AD 2012 no. 24) a consultant was re-char-acterized as an employee. A public service radio company had contracted a person as anchorman through her sole proprietorship. The person had previously been employed in different temporary employments at the company. The Court stated that given that the person had previously been employed by the company, an actual change of the working conditions was required in order to regard the person as an independent contractor. The Court concluded that the only real change since the new arrangement was the practice of payments by invoices instead of regular salary payment. Further, the invoiced amounts were at approximately the same level as the salary levels for employees in general at the company. The Court found that the working conditions had not changed in any material way and established that the relationship was in fact an employment relationship. The Court found that the person was to be considered to be a permanent employee and she was awarded damages for the company’s violation of the collective bargaining agree-ment. No further compensation or accrued vacation pay etc. was awarded.