Increase in parental leave days
Swedish parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted. In principle, each parent is entitled to 240 days’ leave, some of which is available exclusively for that parent’s use but the remainder of which can be transferred to the other parent.
For parents of children born on or after 1 January 2016, the number of days that are exclusively reserved for an individual parent and accordingly may not be transferred will increase from 60 days to 90 days. The aim of this amendment is to encourage greater sharing of parental responsibilities by ensuring each parent has access to a minimum period of leave and thereby enhancing both equality in the labour market but also a child’s contact with his or her parents. If any of the 90 days exclusively reserved for each parent is not used, then they are lost. The legislative amendments will be made to the Social Insurance Code (2010:110) and the Act (2008:313) Regarding Equality Bonus.
Abolition of Local Authority child care benefit
The local authority child care benefit (Swedish: kommunalt vårdbidrag) will be abolished from 1 February 2016.
The abolition of this benefit will require amendment of the Swedish Parental Leave Act, which provides a right of parental leave or reduced working hours for those in receipt of child care benefit, a right which will no longer be available. In addition, the Swedish Employment Protection Act will need to be changed to remove protection from redundancy for those in receipt of the benefit. The current provisions prevent the commencement of a notice period for termination of employment on the grounds of redundancy where the employee is on leave and receiving child care benefit.
New ruling regarding redundancy and discrimination
In a case before the labour court (AD 2015:57), an employee claimed their dismissal was not on the grounds of redundancy but, in reality, was for personal reasons, there being no shortage of work or genuine redundancy situation. The employee also alleged dismissal was discriminatory on the basis of their disability since they had been diagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD and narcolepsy. The employer claimed no knowledge of the disabilities.
The labour court found there was insufficient evidence to show the employer knew about the employee’s ADHD and narcolepsy. However, the employer was found to have been aware of the employee’s dyslexia, a condition recognised as a disability for the purposes of the Discrimination Act. The labour court assessed the respective submissions of the parties and concluded that the employer had demonstrated a shortage of work and that the termination of employment was not related to the employee’s dyslexia.
This decision of the court confirms that employers are not prevented from making commercial decisions concerning redundancy and re-organisation. However, it is important for employers facing a redundancy situation to clarify the basis of any dismissals and to demonstrate they are not related to any disability (or any other discriminatory ground).