The implementation of the EU Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive (2019/1152) will result in several amendments to the Swedish Employment Protection Act.
Under Swedish law, there is no general requirement for written agreements relating to employment contracts; therefore, totally oral employment contracts are equally binding, although these are rare.
The EU Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive follows and expands upon the current EU Written Statement Directive (dated 1991), which gives employees who are starting a new job the right to be notified in writing of the essential aspects of their employment relationship. Sweden and other EU member states will have until 1 August 2022 to transpose the new rules into their national legislation.
The EU Written Statement Directive was implemented into Swedish law, making it a legal requirement in Sweden, with certain exceptions, for employers to provide written information to the employee regarding all terms and conditions that are of material significance to the employment agreement or the employment relationship, and no later than one month after the employee has commenced work. The current minimum requirements, therefore, include providing information such as:
- the employee's duties;
- the term of the employment (ie, indefinite or fixed);
- starting wages and benefits;
- the length of the employee's paid annual leave; and
- any applicable collective agreement.
According to the current proposal, which was referred to the Council on Legislation for consideration on 22 January 2022, the existing legislation is to be amended with additional requirements, which are detailed and comparatively extensive. The information that an employer is now required to provide will include:
- instances where the work may be performed in different locations or at a place of the employee's choosing, in instances where there is no fixed or main place of work;
- the terms and the length of the probationary period, if any;
- the frequency and method of payment, in addition to information on remuneration, including the initial basic amount and any other component elements, if applicable, which should be indicated separately (this was already a requirement);
- the length of the worker's standard working day or week or, where the length of a normal working day or week cannot be determined, information regarding the method of measuring work hours;
- arrangements for overtime and the relevant remuneration, if applicable;
- the minimum notice period to which the worker is entitled before starting a work assignment and, where applicable, whether the assignment varies between different times and dates, as well as rules for shift changes;
- the timely provision of the identity of the user undertakings, in the case of temporary agency workers, including name and address;
- the training entitlement provided by the employer, if any;
- the procedure to be observed by the employer and the worker where their employment relationship is terminated; and
- the social contributions paid to the state, as well as information on social security that the employer provides.
In practice, these amendments can be expected to introduce an extended use of written agreements wherein more terms will need to be included and/or expanded on compared to what has been standard practice for most employers. It has been suggested that these amendments will enter into force in June 2022, but it remains to be seen whether the date will be upheld. The new requirements will not necessarily be difficult to meet, but compliance will likely entail extensive and thorough clarification of existing agreements, templates and terms that were previously implicit or even left unregulated between the employer and employee.
For further information on this topic please contact Viktoria Hybbinette or Jacob Öryd at Wistrand by telephone (+46 31 771 21 00) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The Wistrand website can be accessed at www.wistrand.se.