Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Sweden - Unemployment benefits

This chapter describes the benefits you can get through the Swedish unemployment insurance scheme if you become unemployed. The chapter also discusses what conditions you must meet to receive those benefits, how long you can get them for and what forms you need to fill in.

The benefits described are:

In what situation can I claim?

If you become unemployed, you can get unemployment benefits 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 unemployment insurance and a voluntary income related benefit.

The basic unemployment insurance applies to everyone in Sweden above the age of 20 and who has worked here prior to unemployment and fulfils a working condition.

To be entitled to the income related benefit , you must fulfil the work condition and in addition you must have been a member of an unemployment insurance fund for at least 12 consecutive months. It is usually your occupation or your field of work 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. It is optional to join an unemployment insurance fund. If you are not a member of an unemployment insurance fund or you have not been a member for 12 consecutive months, but you fulfil a working condition, you can receive the basic unemployment insurance.

A general requirement for receiving unemployment benefits is  to be completely or partially unemployed, and to be registered with the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) and to be able to accept a job if one is offered.

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

* Each case needs to be assessed individually to determine whether a person falls within the scope of Art 30 of the Withdrawal Agreement, and so the EU Coordination Regulations apply, or whether they fall within the scope of situations described in Art 32 of the Withdrawal Agreement and/or come under domestic legislation and the Protocol on Social Security Coordination attached to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

What conditions do I need to meet?

If you become unemployed, you should register with the Swedish Public Employment Service on your first day of unemployment. It is only possible to apply for benefits from the unemployment insurance fund (arbetslöshetskassa) for days that you were registered as a job seeker. Once you have registered as a jobseeker with the Public Employment Service, you apply for benefits by contacting the unemployment insurance fund you are a member of. If you are not a member of any unemployment insurance fund, you can apply for basic unemployment benefits from the Alfa unemployment insurance fund. Your unemployment insurance fund that decides whether you can get unemployment benefits and how much.

Your field of work will determine which unemployment insurance fund you can join. Each unemployment insurance fund has its own branch, for example the teachers fund, the fund for graduates, the electricians fund and so on.

Work condition

To receive unemployment benefits, you must meet the work-condition (arbetsvillkor). For a period of 12 months prior to unemployment (ramtid), you must have performed gainful work for at least 6 months with a minimum of 80 hours per calendar month, or for at least 480 hours during a consecutive period of 6 calendar months and worked a minimum of 50 hours of work for each of those 6 months.  To the extent necessary, gainful employment can also be equated with time when the applicant has completed compulsory military service (militärtjänsgöring) or received parental allowance (föräldrapenning), to meet the work condition. However, this is possible only for a maximum of two calendar months.

If you have not been able to work during the last 12 months due to for example a period of illness, compulsory military service, full-time study or child care, the 12 months qualifying period can to the extent necessary be fulfilled with time worked prior to that period. The 12 months qualifying period can be extended for 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 report your attempts to find a job. One of the basic requirements to be eligible for unemployment benefits 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  or put it on hold.  Unlike employees, self-employed cannot be partially unemployed and receive benefits.

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

After becoming unemployed a person must wait 6 days before receiving their first payment. The waiting period is the same for the basic insurance as well as the income related benefit. The waiting period is not deducted from the 300 benefit days.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Basic unemployment insurance

The maximum amount is SEK 365 per day if the work condition is fulfilled by part-time work, the basic insurance is proportionally reduced.

Income related benefit

The maximum amount of the benefit is 80% of the reference income during 200 days. Thereafter, 70% during 100 days. The maximum amount is SEK 910 per day for the first 100 days and SEK 760 for the remaining days. The minimum amount for fulltime work is SEK 365. If the working requirement is fulfilled by part-time work, the income related benefit is proportionally reduced.

Unemployed days      

Remuneration per day


80% of salary


70% of salary


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

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

Unemployment benefits, whether paid from the basic insurance or the income related, are paid for a maximum of 5 days per week and 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.

Other support when you are unemployed

Support in the form of Activity Support, Development Support or Introduction Support (Aktivitetsstöd, Utvecklingsersättning eller Etableringsersättning) is payable to participants in Active Labour Market Programmes via the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen). Eligible for inclusion in such programmes are persons who are, or run the risk of becoming, unemployed, and for whom it has been assessed as beneficial/necessary both from an individual and from a labour market perspective, to participate. There are no formal eligibility criteria as regards citizenship or residence, but it would only be regarded as beneficial/necessary from a labour market perspective for persons who have the right to work in Sweden to participate.

Development Support (Utvecklingsersättning) is a support for unemployed young people between 18 and 24 years old. Activity Support (Aktivitetsstöd) is a support for unemployed persons over the age of 25 years old, or the age of 18-24 but who are entitled to unemployment benefits and are attending a labour market policy 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. Introduction Support is addressed to newly arrived immigrants. The Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) is the responsible authority for handling the payments for those attending the labour market policy programmes.

Development Support and Introduction Support are not taxable benefits.

Jargon busters

Unemployment insurance funds are responsible for calculating and paying unemployment benefit. Today, there are 25 unemployment insurance funds in Sweden, divided into various branches. As a member, you pay a fee that gives you the right to income-related benefit after 12 consecutive months of membership if you fulfil a work condition when you become unemployed.

The waiting period is the initial period of unemployment, for which you receive no payment.

Forms you may need to fill in

You apply for unemployment benefits by filling out a time report, which is to be sent to your unemployment insurance fund, manually or electronically. You should report what you have done during the last weeks on the time report, such as days of unemployment, work, illness etc.,

If you are in an employment market programme that entitles you to activity grant, development allowance or introduction benefit, you instead apply for benefits to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

Know your rights



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-4 pm)

Find your local Social Insurance Agency

The Swedish Unemployment Insurance Inspectorate (IAF)

Website: www.iaf.se

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

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