Under Swedish law, employees working part-time have a legal entitlement to increase their working hours, if work is available.
When a job vacancy arose with their employer, two part-time employees expressed a wish to fill the full-time post by extending their hours. However, the employer did not appoint the part-time employees and instead filled the position externally. The employer's reasoning in the particular case was that it did not consider the two employees would be able to satisfy the requirements of the post. Even though it may have been possible for the employer to resolve this by recruiting a new employee on part-time basis, thereby enabling the two existing employees to fulfill the remaining duties, the Swedish Labour Court concluded there was no obligation upon the employer to do so. It held that the employer's right to determine the way it runs its business overrides an individual's rights to work increased hours in such circumstances.
This decision confirms that commercial decisions as regards the running of a business will take precedence over individual employment rights in certain circumstances. The business must be able to conduct its affairs as it sees fit.