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Who is eligible for Swedish unemployment benefits?

Unemployment is expected to rise in Sweden next year, according to some analysts. What are the rules for unemployment benefit if you lose your job in Sweden?

Who is eligible for Swedish unemployment benefits?
You may be eligible for basic unemployment benefits even if you're not a member of an 'a-kassa'. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

If you become unemployed in Sweden through no fault of your own you may be eligible for unemployment benefits comprising up to 80 percent of your previous salary.

However, this benefit, known as a-kassa, short for arbetslöshetskassa, doesn’t automatically apply if you lose your job. You have to fulfil some requirements first in order to be eligible.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know if you lose your job in Sweden

What are the requirements?

“You need to fulfil the basic requirement, which means that you’re signed up to the unemployment agency and are available to work,” Charlotte Hasselgren, department head of Sveriges a-kassor, told TT newswire.

You’ll also need to fulfil a work requirement, meaning that you must have worked for at least six of the last 12 months, with at least 60 hours of work in each calendar month.

A working day in Sweden is typically 8 hours, so this means in practice that you need to have worked for at least 7.5 days a month for six months in the last year to qualify. It doesn’t matter if these days are spread out across the month or in a single block.

“There are a lot of exceptions,” Hasselgren said, “but this is the general rule.”

If you fulfil these requirements, you are entitled to the basic amount, known as grundbeloppet in Swedish, which is a benefit based on the amount you worked over the last six months. 

“If you’ve been a member of an a-kassa for 12 months, you’re eligible for an income-based benefit,” Hasselgren explained.

How much can you get?

The basic amount is 510 kronor per day, if you worked full-time for the last 12 months. If you worked less than that – full time for the last six months, for example – you will get a corresponding amount, in this case half of the basic amount: 255 per day.

As previously mentioned, the income-based benefit is as much as 80 percent of your previous salary, up to a maximum of 1,200 kronor per day for the first 100 days, after which you’ll receive a maximum of 1,000 kronor per day.

There are a number of different a-kassor you can join depending on the sector you work in.

“If you work across multiple sectors you can choose an a-kassa where you fulfil the requirements,” Hasselgren said. 

“There’s also an a-kassa which doesn’t cover any particular sector, Alfakassan.”

What if you’re not a member of an a-kassa?

If you lose your job and you are not a member of an a-kassa, or you haven’t been a member for long enough to qualify for income-based benefits, you can apply to Alfakassan, who handle benefit payouts for a-kassa non-members.

“But you still need to fulfil the basic requirement and work requirement,” Hasselgren said.

“There’s a general assumption that you have to be a member of an a-kassa for a year to get a benefit, but you can still get a basic benefit,” she explained. “You just need to apply for it at Alfakassan.

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Nordic countries urged to set common working from home rules

The Nordic countries should have common conditions on working from the place of residence, including working from home, to fulfil the objective of an integrated labour market, says a report by the region's Freedom of Movement Council.

Nordic countries urged to set common working from home rules

The proposal is part of a series of recommendations to simplify tax agreements to facilitate free movement of people and make the region “the most integrated” in the world by 2030, as agreed by Nordic Prime Ministers.

The Freedom of Movement Council argues that the pandemic revealed the flaws in the current system, as a large proportion of cross-border workers had to operate from home, facing taxation in two countries, different tax levels and mounting bureaucracy.

“Now that more companies are open to their employees working from home, the current Nordic tax agreement just isn’t keeping up. I hope this analysis will pave the way for dialogue and that the end result will be simplification and less bureaucracy,” said Karen Ellemann, secretary-general of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Internationally less known than EU free movement rules, the region has a special agreement on free movement of people that dates back to the 1950s.

Under the Nordic Passport Union, citizens can move within the region without travel documents or residence permits and enjoy more rights than those granted to EU citizens within the European Union. Non-EU residents, however, only partially benefit as they do not have the automatic right to work in another Nordic state.

The Nordic free movement area covers Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands and Åland. Greenland is not part of the Passport Union but is in practice subject to some of its provisions.

The Nordic governments set up the Freedom of Movement Council as an independent body to identify obstacles to this principle and propose how to remove them.

In an interview with The Local, chair Siv Friðleifsdóttir said the Council has identified over 100 barriers to free movement and prioritised 30. The tax system is one of them.

“The Nordic countries currently have several agreements that regulate cross-border and remote working. Common to all of them is that they’re based on the countries’ need to protect their tax base,” the Council notes.


The report, prepared by consultancies KPMG and Resonans Nordic, points at four problems in particular: rules for domestic work, registration obligations in more than one country for employers, as well as taxation of wages and pensions when working in another Nordic state.

The Council therefore proposes to set common conditions on “permanent establishment” when working in the country of residence, including from home. It also suggests to tax salaries in the country of employment and consider work from home in the country of residence equal to work in the country where the employer is located.

In addition, advance tax should be reported and collected in the employer’s country to avoid having different rules for the same salary.

Pension contributions should be mutually recognised as deductible in another Nordic states and returns taxed only under the legislation of the country where the pension plan is established, the Council argues.

In the Øresund region, between Denmark and Sweden, a fully integrated labour market could generate combined annual socio-economic gains of 2.9 billion Danish kroner, the report estimates.

“Our countries have a lot to gain from having a flexible common labour market. It can solve the problem of skills shortages in one country and the problem of unemployment in another. In other words, a functioning labour market is a strong catalyst for our countries’ economies,” says Siv Friðleifsdóttir, chair of the Freedom of Movement Council.

The full report is currently only available in Danish but translations are expected in the coming weeks.