Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Sweden - Unemployment benefits

In what situation can I claim?

If you become unemployed, you can get remuneration through the unemployment insurance scheme (ersättning från A-kassa). This applies to people who work or have worked in Sweden. This benefit consists of two parts: a basic insurance and a voluntary income-related benefit.

Basic insurance is based on how much you have worked and applies to those who cannot get income-related benefits. Basic insurance can be paid if you are not a member of an unemployment insurance fund or have not been a member for 12 consecutive months.

For the benefits to be based on your income, you should have been a member of an unemployment insurance fund for at least 12 consecutive months. It is usually your occupation or your work area that determines which unemployment insurance fund you can join. The primary task of an unemployment insurance fund is to decide on and pay unemployment benefits to unemployed people. It is optional to join an unemployment insurance fund.

A general requirement for receiving remuneration is for you to be completely or partially without work, and to be registered with the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) and able to accept a job if one is offered.

For those who come from other EU countries, the general rule is that if you work in Sweden you are covered by the Swedish system. You pay taxes on the benefits described in this chapter unless otherwise stated.

What conditions do I need to meet?

If you become unemployed, you should register with the Swedish Public Employment Service on your first day without work. Any delay could cause you to lose remuneration. If you are a member of an unemployment insurance fund, the Swedish Public Employment Service will contact the fund. You must apply for payment from your unemployment insurance fund. It is your unemployment insurance fund that decides whether you can get unemployment benefits and how much.

Your work will determine which unemployment insurance fund you can become a member of. If you are not a member of an unemployment insurance fund, you can receive some remuneration from basic insurance (grundförsäkring), which is paid out no earlier than the day you turn 20.

Previous work requirements

To receive these benefits, you must have worked for at least 6 months and a minimum of 80 hours per month during the last 12 months before becoming unemployed. Alternatively, you may have worked 480 hours during a continuous 6‑month period and for at least 50 hours per month. Certain periods of national service or of being in receipt of parental allowance (föräldrapenning) can be counted as time worked. To receive income-related benefits, you must have been a member of an unemployment insurance fund for at least 12 consecutive months.

If you have not been able to work during the last 12 months due to illness, national service, full-time study or child care, the period can be extended by up to 5 years.

Requirements from the Swedish Public Employment Service

At the Swedish Public Employment Service you should make an individual action plan and submit an activity report every month where you describe what you have done to try to find a job. One of the basic requirements for obtaining benefit is that you must be able to work at least 3 hours every working day and at least 17 hours per week. Self-employed must have terminated their activity in their business or have put it on hold. You must look for work across the whole labour market.

The Swedish Public Employment Service will check to see whether you meet the conditions for entitlement to unemployment benefits. The unemployment insurance funds may decide that your benefits should be reduced or discontinued for a time if you misbehave, refuse to accept suitable work, leave your job without good reason or if you are sacked because of bad behaviour. You have the right to appeal against the unemployment insurance fund's decision.

Waiting period The unemployment insurance fund applies to a waiting period of 7 days. This means that you can receive benefits only after having been unemployed for 7 days.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Basic insurance

The remuneration from the basic insurance is SEK 365 per day. It is based on how much you have worked. If you have worked less than full-time or for a shorter time than 12 months, there is a proportionate reduction.

Income-related benefit 

The level of benefits you can receive is normally based on your average income over the last 12 months before becoming unemployed.

Unemployed days

Remuneration per day

1-200     

80% of salary

201-300

70% of salary

Maximum 

SEK 910 per day for the first 100 days, SEK 760 per day for the remaining days

Other benefits such as sickness compensation (sjukersättning) and parental allowance (föräldrapenning) can be included when the unemployment insurance fund calculates your income.

Unemployment benefits, whether paid from basic insurance or income-related, are paid for a maximum of 5 days per week for a maximum of 300 days. If you have children under 18 when you reach the 300-day limit you are entitled to an additional 150 days. After that time, you may be entitled to other types of benefit from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency if you are still unemployed and attending an employment market programme.

Other support when you are unemployed

Unemployed young people between 18 and 24 years old who cannot get unemployment benefit may be able to receive a development allowance (utvecklingsersättning) if they participate in an employment market programme. If you are 25 years old, or 18-24 and entitled to unemployment benefits, you may instead receive an activity grant (aktivitetsstöd) if you participate in an employment market programme. It is the Swedish Public Employment Service that decides whether you are entitled to participate in an employment market programme and, if so, which one. If you are young and have a disability that reduces your ability to work, you are entitled to an activity grant if you participate in an employment market programme. If you participate in the labour market program for newly arrived immigrants you may be entitled to an introduction benefit provided that you have drawn up an establishment plan with the Swedish Public Employment Service. Activity grant, development allowance and introduction benefit, is paid by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan).

Young people under 25, those who have recently moved to Sweden, the long-term unemployed and people with disabilities can receive extra support from the Swedish Public Employment Service to get into work in the form of training, start-up grants and placements.

Development allowance and introduction benefit are not taxable benefits.

Jargon busters

Unemployment insurance funds calculate and pay unemployment benefit. Today, there are 27 unemployment insurance funds in Sweden, divided into various work areas. As a member, you pay a fee that gives you the right to income-related benefit after 12 consecutive months of membership if you become unemployed.

The waiting day is the first day you are sick, for which you receive no compensation. In unemployment insurance the waiting period is 7 days, which means that you can receive benefits only after having been unemployed for 7 days. Monday to Friday count as waiting days. Waiting days are not deducted from the 300 benefit days.

Forms you may need to fill in

You apply for benefits by filling out an unemployment card and send it to your unemployment insurance fund. You should report what you have done during the last weeks on your unemployment card. Information that you should fill in includes whether you were unemployed, sick or worked on any day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday. Unemployment cards can be completed in writing or by electronic transmission.

Know your rights

Sweden:

EU:

Who do you need to contact?

The Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen)
Website: http://www.arbetsformedlingen.se/
Telephone: +46 771416416 (weekdays 8 am-8 pm, weekends 9 am-4 pm)

Find your local Public Employment Service office:

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan)
Website: www.forsakringskassan.se
Customer centre e-mail: kundcenter@forsakringskassan.se
Customer Service Centre telephone: +46 771524524 (Monday-Friday 8 am -9 pm, Saturday 8 am-3 pm, Sunday 3 pm-9 pm)
Find your local Social Insurance Agency

The Swedish Unemployment Insurance Board (IAF)

Website: www.iaf.se

You can find information about unemployment insurance funds through Sveriges a-kassor, the unemployment insurance fund coordination organisation, www.sverigesakassor.se. 

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