8.1 Locally employed staff

When beginning their employment, locally employed staff should either be Swedish citizens, EU citizens or permanent residents of any nationality registered in the population register. Registration in the population register is not possible once employment has begun.

A Swedish Government Official Report (SOU 2017:05) contains a proposal calling for an adjustment to the Population Registration Act. This adjustment would make it possible for locally employed staff to register in the population register. The proposal is under consideration in the Government Offices (Ministry of Finance). 

Locally employed staff are not exempt from relevant taxes and fees. They enjoy no privileges or immunity. However, they do benefit from social welfare services (which is not the case for other mission staff).

Locally employed staff members are covered by Swedish legislation, which includes:

  • The Employment Protection Act, Lag (1982:80) om anställningsskydd
  • The Annual Leave Act, Semesterlag (1977:480)
  • The Sick Pay Act, Lag (1991:1047) om sjuklön
  • The Parental Leave Act, Föräldraledighetslag (1995:584)
  • The Employment (Co-determination in the Workplace) Act, Lag (1976:580) om medbestämmande i arbetslivet
  • The Work Environment Act, Arbetsmiljölag (1977:1160)

Swedish Statutes in translation – labour legislation

In many cases, it is permissible to deviate from non-mandatory rules in these laws through collective agreements. If the employer is bound by a collective agreement, these rules override the legislation and must be applied by the employer.

Summary of relevant Swedish employment and labour law

  • Wages and general terms and conditions of work are subject to free negotiations between the social partners and are traditionally covered in a collective bargaining agreement. In many cases, a collective agreement that binds the employer contains rules that deviate from and complement the legislation.
  • In situations where the employer is not bound by a collective bargaining agreement, wages are regulated by an individual agreement between the employer and the employee.
  • Occupational pension benefits are also normally embodied in a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Missions may also conclude a private insurance agreement with an insurance company for the benefit of the employee.
  • Employers have certain obligations to prevent work-related accidents or illness at the workplace. Furthermore, employers have a duty to cooperate with their employees through the appointment of a safety representative, for example.

Employment Protection Act (main elements)

  • Employment contracts are normally valid for an indefinite period but may be concluded for a limited period in certain given cases which are stated in the act or in the collective agreement by which the employer is bound.
  • A fixed-term employment contract expires at the end of the contract period or upon completion of the work covered by the contract. As a main rule, notice must be given one month before the expiry date if the employment contract is longer than 12 months.
  • A contract of indefinite duration may be terminated by the employee following a specific period of notice.
  • Dismissal by the employer must be based on objective grounds, i.e. 'just cause'. The objective grounds must be either reasons relating to the employee personally or redundancy. The notion of 'just cause' has primarily been elaborated in case law.

Annual Leave Act (main elements)

  • Employees are entitled to a total of five weeks (25 working days) of annual leave.
  • Vacation pay is equivalent to earnings for the corresponding period of work with a small additional sum.
  • Only persons who have been employed for a 12-month period prior to the vacation year are entitled to full pay in connection with annual leave.
  • Collective agreements often contain specific rules on annual leave and how to calculate vacation pay.

Sick Pay Act (main elements)

  • Statutory provisions on benefits provided by the employer.
  • An employer must pay 'sick pay' for the first 14 days of an employee's illness.
  • An employee is only entitled to compensation for days on which they would normally have worked.

Parental Leave Act (main elements)

  • An employee is entitled to full-time parental leave until the child has reached the age of 18 months.
  • A parent also has the right to shorten their working time by up to 25 per cent until the child is eight years old. When a parent is receiving parental cash benefit, part-time leave can be claimed to a greater extent and for an older child.
  • A parent also has the right to stay home from work when the child is sick, provided that they can claim temporary parental benefit from the state for this time.
  • The law prohibits disfavourable treatment of parents taking parental leave.

Employment (Co-determination in the Workplace) Act (main elements)

  • Employers and employees have the right to organise themselves into organisations and to be organised by existing organisations (trade unions).
  • Employee organisations have the right to negotiate with employers in areas that concern a given employee that is, or has been, a member of the organisation prior to any major changes in the relationship between the employer and the employee.
  • The employer must contact the employee organisation whenever making changes in the working or employment conditions of the affected employee.
  • Employee organisations have the right to information with regards to written documents that are used by the employer during negotiations. Failure to follow the Act by either party may result in damages being awarded to the injured party.

The Work Environment Act (main elements)

  • The employer has the main responsibility for the work environment and must take all necessary measures to prevent employees from being exposed to illness or accidents.
  • At every workplace where five or more employees are regularly employed, or if the working conditions so require, one or more of the employees must be appointed safety representative.
  • The Work Environment Act is broad. More detailed rules can be found in the Work Environment Ordinance (1977:1166) and in various provisions decided upon by the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket). The provisions are mandatory. General recommendations are not mandatory.
  • A few illustrative examples of provisions issued by the Swedish Work Environment Authority are provisions regarding workplace design (AFS 2009:2), organisational and social work environment (AFS 2015:4) and work with computer monitors (AFS 1998:5).

Please consult the website of the Swedish Work Environment Authority for more information: Swedish Work Environment Authority 


Protocol Department
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Visiting address Gustav Adolfs torg 1
Address 103 39 STOCKHOLM
email to Protocol Department