Different forms of employment and self-employment

There are many different forms of employment, but the foundation is the same – you carry out a task and receive a wage for doing so. Here are a few examples.

Permanent employment

Permanent employment, or regular work in everyday language, means that the employment continues until you yourself decide to leave, are made redundant or retire. There is no definite date set for when your employment is to end.

Holiday and seasonal work

Summer jobs or jobs during, for example, the Christmas holiday period are called holiday work. Other jobs that only occur at certain times of the year are called seasonal jobs. Working at a camping site in the summer or a ski resort in winter for example.


A freelancer is often self-employed and sells his/her products or services to companies. For example an article to a newspaper. Common professional groups who work freelance are journalists and photographers. Some work from home, some share premises with other freelancers.

Full time or part-time

Normal full-time employment in Sweden is 40 hours of working time per week. Full-time is equivalent to 100 per cent. If you work part-time, your salary is calculated according to the percentage of a full-time position that you work. If you have a part-time job and work irregular working hours, you have hourly employment and are paid by the hour.


An apprenticeship is a special form of employment which means that you continue your education and training in your field, but not at school but at a workplace and with apprenticeship pay. A normal training period for, for example, an electrician or shoemaker apprentice is about one year.

Project employment

You have project employment when you are employed to carry out a specific project. When the project is over, your employment also ends. If you or your employer wish to break the contract, you must agree on this together.

Probationary employment

When you get a new job, it may begin with you being given probationary employment. This means that both you and your employer have a trial period of at most six months to see if you are suitable for the job. If your employer is satisfied and if you want to continue, your probationary employment then automatically becomes permanent employment.

Commission-based employment

Commission-based employment means that you are paid according to your performance. Such employment might for example telemarketing or selling TV channel packages to no subscribers. Sometimes commission-based pay is combined with some form of basic pay.

Substitute work

Substitute work is a time-limited form of employment and means that you take the place of someone who, for example, is sick, on vacation, transferred to other duties temporarily or on parental leave. In many industries, the path to a permanent job is via a substitute position.

Fixed-term employment

Fixed-term employment is time-limited. It might be substitute work, a summer job, project work or temporary work when an employer needs more people. If you have had fixed-term employment for more than two years over a five-year period, you are entitled to permanent employment.

Umbrella employment

When you have umbrella employment, you have an agreement with an umbrella company. You can work without being employed and without being self-employed. The umbrella company handles invoicing and any other administration between you and your clients. The umbrella company also has employer responsibility, reports payroll taxes, makes tax deductions and pays your salary to you.


If you are employed by a staffing agency that leases personnel to another company, you are leased as consultant. You are paid a monthly salary by the staffing agency but do your work at a customer’s premises.

The Swedish Work Environment Authority – You have the right to a safe working day


Some employers are trying to get young people to "try a job" for free for one or several weeks and wrongly call this probationary employment. A basic rule is that you should never work without being paid. You are to be paid even if you are trying out a job.

Pay and benefits

At most workplaces you have the opportunity to negotiate your pay one a year. Get tips about your pay and other benefits.

Pay and benefits

We appreciate your feedback!

Your Europe