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03. Working Conditions
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03. Working Conditions

Minimum Working Conditions

There are mandatory rules concerning minimum working conditions in Swedish law that must be observed by the employer. For example, there are regulations regarding working hours, work environment and non-discrimination. However, the terms and conditions are mainly regulated in the individual employment agreement and/or, if applicable, in the collective bargaining agreement.


There are no provisions regarding minimum salary in Swedish law. However, provisions regarding such matters are often found in the collective bargaining agreements.

Maximum Working Week

According to the Working Hours Act, regular working hours may not exceed 40 hours per week. Where the nature of work or working conditions generally so demand, working hours may amount to an average of 40 hours per week for a period of no more than four weeks. Where an employee is demanded to be at the employer’s disposal at the workplace in order to carry out work, if necessary, on-call hours may not be more than 48 hours over a four-week period or 50 hours over a calendar month. Deviations from certain regulations in the Working Hours Act can be made by collective bargaining agreement, but not in individual employment agreements.


Overtime comprises working hours in excess of regular working hours and on-call hours. Where additional working hours are required, overtime hours may not exceed 48 hours over a period of four weeks or 50 hours over a calendar month, subject to a maximum of 200 hours per calendar year.

Statutory law does not contain regulations regarding overtime pay. Overtime pay is normally provided for in collective bargaining agreements. In general, employees may choose to receive overtime pay in terms of money or compensatory leave. If no collective bargaining agreement exists, the employee is not entitled to overtime pay unless agreed upon. If a collective bargaining agreement exists and provides a right to overtime pay, it may contain provisions making it possible for the employee to waive the right to overtime pay and instead get compensation in the form of compensatory leave. However, such waiver usually only applies to employees who have flexible working hours or if special reasons are at hand.

Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace

Sweden has extensive legislation providing guiding principles regarding the work environment. The Work Environment Authority’s task is to supervise employers’ compliance with the Work Environment Act and its regulations. The Work Environment Act contains regulations concerning the obligations of employers and others responsible for safety, to prevent ill health and accidents at work. There are also regulations as regards the cooperation between employer and employee, for example rules about the activities of safety representatives at the workplace.

Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace

The work environment encompasses all factors and relationships at work: technical, physical, organisational, social and work content. The employer is responsible for the work environment and must take all necessary measures to prevent ill health and accidents, instruct and inform employees on how to avoid risks, have an organisation for rehabilitation and adaptation activities and have recourse to the occupational health care that is needed. Employers should investigate, implement and monitor activities so that ill health and accidents at work are prevented and a satisfactory work environment is achieved, by carrying out risk assessments, investigating ill health, accidents, serious incidents, implementing measures, controlling measures and allocating work environment assignments.

Complaint Procedures

The employer is responsible for the work environment and shall work together with the employees in the work environment management. Each employee, who deems that certain work constitutes an immediate threat to life or health, is obliged to report this to the employer or safety representative as soon as possible. However, the appointed safety representative has the main responsibility to convey work environment issues and demands from the employees to the employer.

The safety representative may issue a formal report to the employer, should the safety representative deem that work environment issues have not been dealt with by the employer in due time. If such a report remains unanswered by the employer, the safety representative may file a report with the Swedish Work Environment Authority for further investigation.

The Work Environment Authority ensures that laws and regulations are followed by inspecting and communicating injunctions and prohibitions. Employers acting in breach of the regulations can receive sanction fees, and the managers responsible for the work environment can be held personally liable for violating the regulations concerning the work environment.

Protection from Retaliation

A safety representative is protected from having his or her terms and conditions of employment changed for the worst due to the assignment as safety representative. Furthermore, an employee or a safety representative is not liable for damages caused due to the employee or safety representative stopping work, which the employee or safety representative deemed as an immediate threat to life or health.

Additionally, an employee or applicant shall not be subject to any retaliation due to the employee or applicant reporting, participating in an investigation of or rejecting employer conduct, which is in violation of the Discrimination Act.

Any questions

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