Useful tips before starting work in Sweden in 2024

How do you ensure you receive the right salary in 2024? Why should you work officially? Are there risks associated with working unofficially? Which employment forms suit you? Listen and receive plenty of advice before you commence working in Sweden.

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Ziza Madani:
There's a lot to think about before starting a job, especially if you're new to Sweden. Today, we will discuss why it's important to work legally instead of illegally. We will discuss the types of employment forms in Sweden and inform about salary and contracts.

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Ziza:
Welcome to the New in Sweden podcast, where we explain, provide tips, and offer good advice on job hunting and working in Sweden. This podcast is for those who are new to the country. Today's episode is titled, “Useful Tips Before Starting Work in Sweden”. In the studio with me, Ziza Madani, is my colleague Pär Axelsson. And we work here at the Swedish Public Employment Service. Later in this episode, I hope Pär will share some special tips on the topic. Right, Pär?

Pär:
Ziza, I say as I usually do – those who listen will see, or rather, hear.

Ziza:
I like your humour, Pär. Now, on to today's topic. I have a somewhat sensitive question for you.

Pär:
Ah, I'll take the chance.

Ziza:
Have you ever worked illegally?

Pär:
Well... No, but it was close.

Ziza:
Close? Tell me.

Pär:
Okay. It was after I finished high school. My friend had started working illegally at a restaurant. He always worked evenings, usually long shifts with a lot to do. So, after a month, he asked me if I could fill in for him.

Ziza:
And what did you do?

Pär:
“Sure,” I thought. I can do that. It was the 25th, and Erik was supposed to get paid. But he didn't receive the promised salary. The employer said he had received tips, and besides, Erik had eaten for free at the restaurant. My friend, who worked in the dishwashing area, didn't get any tips, and believed that the staff could eat what was going to be thrown away anyway. Also, my friend didn't get paid overtime.

Ziza:
What happened?

Pär:
Erik told the owner that he felt mistreated.

Ziza:
And what did the employer say?

Pär:
If he didn't like it, Erik could look for another job. So, Erik called me and said, "Pär, I don't think you should start here."

Ziza:
All right. But I have to ask, I thought people worked illegally to avoid taxes and earn more money.

Pär:
I thought so too, but that's a myth and it can be costly. Imagine if Erik had slipped in the dishwashing area, hit his head, and needed stitches. Sure, he would get medical care, but nothing more. No sick pay from the Social Insurance Agency if he had to stay home. And what if Erik couldn't continue working? He wouldn't receive compensation for a work-related injury. Moreover, no job security or unemployment benefits. Erik had to quit on the spot.

Ziza:
Thanks. Something to think about when someone offers you illegal work, then.

Pär:
Yes, working illegally can lead to imprisonment, for up to two years. Not something I would recommend.

Ziza:
So, what are the advantages of working legally, then?

Pär:
When you work legally, it means you're working within the law and paying taxes. It comes with many benefits. You get an employment contract and job security. You receive a salary if you're sacked. You have the right to vacation and health insurance, and you grow your pension.

Ziza:
So, a piece of good advice. Working illegally is not a good idea. Now, regarding salary, Pär, how do you know what's the right salary for you?

Pär:
In Sweden, we don't have a minimum wage, but it's usually stated in collective agreements for different industries. It's a good idea to check with the union if you're unsure about your salary.

Ziza:
Then there's the employment contract. What is that?

Pär:
The most important thing is to understand what's in the contract. Check working hours and salary, and make sure it aligns with your expectations. If you're unsure, always ask.

Ziza:
It's really crucial to be clear from the start, then.

Pär:
Yes.

Ziza:
And, Pär, there are also different forms of employment. What are they?

Pär:
Yes, there are a few. They are the following. Permanent employment, fixed-term employment, temporary employment, and substitute employment. Each form has its own rules and advantages.

Ziza:
All right. Would you like to explain what they mean? Let's start with permanent employment.

Pär:
That is what we usually call a permanent job. It continues indefinitely.

Ziza:
And probationary employment? How does that work?

Pär:
You can say that a probationary employment is like a test for both the employer and the employee. It's a chance to see if it's a good match. If it doesn't work out, the employment can be ended during the probation period, without any notice.

Ziza:
And what about part-time employment? I know many people want more control over their jobs today.

Pär:
Exactly. Part-time work provides that opportunity. It's perfect if you want to balance work and life more, or if you're studying.

Ziza:
And we must not forget substitute employment. What is that?

Pär:
Substitute employment is when someone temporarily works for someone else who is absent, such as during illness or parental leave. It's a temporary employment. It can be an advantage for both the employer and the person substituting.

Ziza:
Thank you. Now we've come to Pär's super tips. What do you have for us, Pär?

Pär:
Well, tip number one has to be, let the employers find you. Make yourself visible, so that employers know you exist and are available for work. Create a profile on our website. This way, you'll be matched with employers looking for your skills. Interested employers can contact you directly.

Ziza:
Excellent tip, Pär. What else do you have?

Pär:
Tip number two, be active in unions. They can provide support and help and ensure that you're treated right at the workplace.

Ziza:
And the last tip?

Pär:
Tip number three, be open to changes. Sometimes, new opportunities lead to unexpected and fantastic career steps. Don't be afraid to try new things.

Ziza:
Fantastic tips. Thanks, Pär, for sharing them. And thanks to our listeners for joining us in today's episode of the New in Sweden podcast from the Swedish Public Employment Service. Have a wonderful day, and good luck with your job searches. We'll talk to you next time.

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speaker:
You have been listening to the New in Sweden podcast by Arbetsförmedlingen. You can find all previous episodes at arbetsformedlingen.se/play. If you have any questions, tips, or ideas, please email us at podcast@arbetsformedlingen.se. This episode was produced in the spring of 2024.

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