Employing staff

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On becoming an employer you must register with the Swedish Tax Agency. You are required to report and pay employer contributions and deduct income tax for your employees.

The company employs staff in Sweden or brings staff here from abroad

Most companies with operations that employ people in Sweden are obliged to register as employers, as well as declaring and paying employer contributions and deducting tax from the salaries and benefits paid to their employees. There are, however, exceptions to these rules for posted staff.  

Guide for foreign companies with operations in Sweden at the Swedish Tax Agency

Guide for foreign sole traders with business in Sweden at the Swedish Tax Agency

Businesses and employers at the Swedish Tax Agency

Posting of personnel

In certain cases, companies that bring personnel to Sweden do not need to pay employer’s social security contributions here. This is because the employees are usually considered to be posted, and will then belong to the social security system in their home country. The rules vary, depending on the country from which the personnel are posted and how long they will stay in Sweden.

For a company to be exempt from employer’s social security contributions in Sweden, in most cases a certificate is required confirming that the employees belong to another country’s social security system. For employees in the EU/EEA and Switzerland, the certificate is called A1 or E101. For employees from a country with which Sweden has a social security convention, it is called a convention certificate. The employer must inform the social security agency in the country whose social security system the employees belong to.

Select the form of employment

There are two forms of employment – indefinite employment and temporary employment. Indefinite employment is the same as permanent employment. The main principle according to the Swedish Employment Protection Act is that an employment contract is in effect until further notice. In practice this means that employment is always indefinite unless otherwise agreed.

If the employment is to be temporary, this must be clear from a written agreement in order to apply. There may be other employment alternatives – you may engage temporary workers from a staffing agency, for example. Contact the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) or recruitment companies.

The Swedish Public Employment Service

Write an employment contract

An employment contract may be oral but the employer must always provide written information about the terms of employment, according to the Swedish Employment Protection Act. Therefore, it is obviously appropriate to establish a written employment contract as soon as a person is hired and regulate all that concerns the employment within that contract. This complies with the requirement for written information.

The Swedish Employment Act requires you to provide written information containing the following particulars when you employ someone for more than three weeks:

  • personal data, the workplace and the commencement date of the employment
  • description of the employee's duties, occupational designation or title
  • form of employment and period of notice
  • pay, employee benefits and the intervals at which the pay will be paid
  • length of the paid annual leave and length of the normal working day or week
  • applicable collective bargaining agreement, where relevant

It may also be worth including information about any insurance you have taken out for the employee. All this information should be written down and signed by you and your employee in an employment contract.

Swedish Contracts Act

Unreasonable terms in an employment contract may be modified or declared invalid under the provisions of the Swedish Contracts Act.

Collective and tie-in agreements

If you are a member of a trade association, you may be bound by a collective agreement. A collective agreement is an agreement between an employer and an employees' organization which defines the conditions that will apply in areas such as salaries and employment. Collective and tie-in agreements are considered part of the personal employment contract and you are required to inform your employees of their content.

Illness

In the event of illness, an employee must report sick. This will involve making a claim for sick pay. Then you as an employer need to ensure that you have determined the correct sick pay. Sick pay is 80% of the employee’s salary and other benefits. A deduction is made from sick pay on the day that the employee becomes ill.

Calculating deductions from sick pay

What happens if your employee becomes ill at the Social Insurance Agency

Salaries and employer contributions

You pay your employees according to the employment contract. The most common form is salary paid on a specific date each month, but you may have other terms in the employment contract.

Employer contributions and employees' tax deductions must be paid into your tax account by the 12th of the month. The employer contribution is in reality composed of several different fees which provide the basic social security cover. For 2017 and 2018 the employer contribution is 31.42 per cent. For old age pensioners the employer contribution is 6.15 per cent if you were born in 1937 or before and 16.36 per cent for those born in 1938–1950.

PAYE form

Every month the Swedish Tax Agency sends out a PAYE form to registered employers. You are required to report salaries, employee benefits, deducted tax and employer contributions on this form.

When you submit the form, you also pay the tax and contributions into your company's tax account at the Tax Agency.

How to fill in the PAYE tax return per employee – Box by box

Submit PAYE tax return

PAYE for non-established businesses

Employing people from other countries than Sweden

Special regulations apply to certain occupations and citizens of certain countries. Most citizens of non-EU countries need a permit to work in Sweden. If you plan to employ a person who is not a Swedish citizen, please contact the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) for more information.

Permit at the Swedish Migration Agency´s website

Foreign employers

If you are a foreign employer and want to employ a temporary worker from other countries than Sweden you must report the posting as well as a contact person to a the Swedish Work Environment Authority. The employee is then subject to certain provisions in Swedish law and collective agreements during his or her work period in Sweden. The Swedish Work Environment Authority is  can also give information about employment and employment conditions in Sweden.

Report a foreign posting at the Swedish Work Environment Authority

Guide for foreign sole traders with business in Sweden 

Frequently asked questions

Employing staff - FAQ

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Responsible: Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth

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