Unemployment Insurance

How to receive benefits if you lose your job

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment benefits work differently in Sweden than in most other European countries. Like most work related aspects in Sweden, unemployment benefits are regulated at industry or company level. Most benefits are paid by unemployment insurance funds.

Swedish unemployment insurance is divided between basic insurance and a voluntary fund. The basic insurance is compulsory and consists of a flat rate benefit of SEK 320 per day. It is given to anyone over twenty, who fulfils the “basic conditions” and the “work conditions”. The basic conditions are:

  • To be entirely or partly unemployed
  • Be fit for work at least three hours a day and 17 hours per week
  • Prepared to accept a suitable job
  • Registered at a Public Employment Service
  • Cooperate with the Public Employment Service
  • Actively seek work

The “work conditions” are:

  • To have worked at least 80 hours over six months during the last 12 calendar months.
  • To have worked 480 hours during six consecutive calendar months for a minimum of 50 hours every month.

Voluntary unemployment benefit is an income related insurance and is paid to those who have been a member of an Unemployment Insurance Fund. There are 36 different insurance funds, which cover around 80% of the Swedish workforce. It is possible to claim benefits from an insurance fund after one year of uninterrupted membership and at least six months of half-time work. The benefit is usually 80% of the normal income, with a ceiling of SEK 680 per day, for the first 200 days of unemployment. This falls to 70% until the 300th day. 150 additional days are available for unemployed parents responsible for children under 18. The “normal” income is the average income during the last 12 months of employment. It is highly recommended by the Swedish Migration Board to become a member of an Unemployment Insurance Fund. Of course, if you are remaining in Sweden for a shorter period of time, a private insurance might be more relevant. Nevertheless, remember that in Sweden most agreements are made at company level between the different social parties. The best place to go for information is your trade union.

Private insurance is also very common in Sweden. Some unions even promote collective complementary insurance to further cover their employees. This is financed by individual insurance payments, which are either organised at company level or individually. Individuals can choose to take out their own unemployment insurance.

Further reading

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