Sweden’s social security system
Sweden has a social security system to ensure that people who live here have enough money regardless of how their life situation looks.
If you are going to study in Sweden, you can apply for study support to be able to pay your costs. You can get a study grant that varies depending on your age and you can also take a student loan. It is the National Board of Student Aid (Centrala studiestödsnämnden, CSN) that administers study support.
In Sweden, all employees are entitled to 25 days’ annual leave regardless of age and form of employment. A distinction is made between the right to leave and the right to receive payment. Depending on when during the year you begin your employment, your payment is adjusted during your holiday. You can thus be free without being paid. Holidays exist for you to be able to rest and recover.
Leave of absence – leave without pay
You can apply for leave of absence from your work to take time off and do something else. Perhaps you wish to study, try a different job, start your own business or take care of a close relative. After a leave of absence, you have the right to return to your work with the same conditions as before.
Check with your employer or your trade union to find out what applies in your case if you wish to take leave of absence.
If you fall sick
If you work and become sick, you must notify your employer. The first day you are sick is called a qualifying day and you receive no payment. For sick days 2 to 14, your employer pays you sick pay. Sick pay is 80 per cent of your wages/salary. If you are sick for more than 14 days, Försäkringskassan takes over payment of your sick pay.
As a parent, you may have the right to be at home with your child and receive benefit. Your benefit while you are on parental leave is called “föräldrapenning” (parental benefit) and is paid out by Försäkringskassan. Parental benefit is part of the parental insurance available in Sweden. It applies to both mothers and fathers.
Your future pension will be affected by how much parental leave you take since it is based on how much you have earned during your working life.
If your child falls sick
If your child becomes ill, you are entitled to leave from work on temporary parental allowance until your child turns 12. The amount of benefit is about 80 per cent of your income. In everyday language this is called VAB (vård av barn). Both mothers and dads have the right to be on leave to care for children.
Unemployed with unemployment benefit (a-kassa)
Unemployment benefit is money that you can receive when you are unemployed. In most professions there is an unemployment insurance fund. If you are a member of an unemployment insurance fund, you can receive up to 80 per cent of your previous wages/salary in benefit if you become unemployed.
Pension is the money you are to live on when you stop working. Your pension is usually made up of three parts: national pension, occupational pension and any private savings. When you take parental leave, your income and your pension may be affected. National pension is a state pension which Pensionsmyndigheten (the Swedish Pensions Agency) has responsibility for. You have the right to begin drawing your national pension when you turn 62 but you can also choose to work until you are 68.
Working legally and working cash-in-hand
Working cash-in-hand is illegal
If you work cash-in-hand, your employer does not pay any social security contributions for you, nor do you pay tax on your income. The Swedish Tax Agency can demand that you pay the tax you have not paid. It is illegal to work cash-in-hand and can lead to imprisonment for up to two years.
If, on the other hand, you work, pay tax and work legally, you can enjoy all the benefits of the Swedish social security system.