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Annual Leave in Sweden: A Guide for Employers

As in many European countries, annual leave in Sweden is generous and usually taken all at one time for an extended vacation.  This may come as surprise to employers in countries like the US where average leave is much shorter and not statutory.  If you are hiring employees in Sweden you will want to understand the entitlements, when leave is taken and how it can be carried over.

How many days of annual leave are Swedish employees entitled to?

Swedish employees are entitled to 25 days of leave after one year of employment.  This will mean employers will have to plan to be without employees for up to 5 weeks during the summer, four of which can be continuous.  As employer, you can decide when the employee takes their annual leave (from June to August), but you must inform them of the dates two months prior.

If employment starts after August 31, the employees is entitled to 5 days until April 1 the following year, when the full entitlement will be allocated. 

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Can leave be carried over in Sweden?

If more than 20 days are credited in a single leave year, 5 days may be carried over to the following year.  Those days can be accrued for up to five years and then combined and converted into one continuous vacation.

Client Case: Can employees in Sweden use annual leave in advance?

Our client with employees in Sweden asked if an employee could use annual leave in advance, and what would happen if they went into ‘negative leave’ (owed leave days).

We told them that this was permitted in Sweden if the employer agreed, and it could be adjusted in the following year.  But in case of termination with a negative leave balance, and negative leave days would be subtracted from accrued leave to be paid out.  The alternative to negative leave days would be for the employee to take unpaid vacation days, where the daily salary is deducted from the paycheck.

Do you need more information about Sweden?

If you are new to hiring in Sweden, you may have other questions such as:

Do employees receive their full salary on vacation, in addition to vacation pay?

If an employee becomes ill on vacation, can they end the holiday and switch to sick leave to preserve the leave days?

Are unused annual leave days paid out upon termination or resignation?

Our clients come to us with these types of questions to make sure they are compliant and meeting employee expectations for entitlements.  We make international employment simple.



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The information in this article is subject to changes in local legislation.

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