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Unemployment insurance – membership, disregarded periods and benefits

In order to qualify for income-related unemployment benefits, become a member of an unemployment insurance fund. Application for membership and payment is separate to your union membership fees. SULF recommends that you become a member of Akademikernas erkända a-kassa (AEA).

Requirements for membership
To become a member of AEA you must meet both the academic requirement and the employment requirement. The academic requirement can be fulfilled either by having earned 180 higher education credits, or by studying an educational programme with the intention of taking 180 credits, or by being a member of a SACO union. The employment requirement is satisfied by working in Sweden or having your last employment in Sweden. Employment refers only to paid employment, time on scholarships and educational grants is not counted as working by AEA.

Registration at the Employment Service
If you become unemployed, it is important that you register as a jobseeker with the Employment Service no later than your first day without a job. Registration at the Employment Service is a prerequisite for being considered as unemployed by AEA and the Employment Service can also help you to apply for unemployment benefits. You may register at any Employment Service office you choose.

Be available to work
In order to be entitled to unemployment benefit, you must be available to work. This means that you may not be enrolled in any educational programme and childcare must be arranged. If you combine doctoral studies with your own business, special rules may apply. Contact AEA for more information.

Residence and work permits
If you are not a Swedish citizen, you must also have a residence permit and a general work permit in Sweden to be able to receive unemployment benefits. The work permit may not apply to one particular university or college only.

If you are an EU/EEA citizen, you and your immediate family are exempt from the work permit requirement in Sweden. You have the right to unemployment benefit if the other conditions are met. Read more on the Swedish Migration Agency website.

Benefits from AEA
AEA benefits are income related for everyone who has been a member of AEA for 12 months and fulfils the employment condition. This means that you will receive a payment equal to 80% of your previous average income with a benefits ceiling of SEK 910 per day for the first 100 days and then SEK 760 per day for the remaining days.

If you have not yet been a member for twelve months, income-related benefits are not paid. Instead a basic amount per day of not more than SEK 365 may be paid.

The employment requirement means that you must have worked for six months or more, for at least 80 hours per month, over the twelve months previous to the date you registered as unemployed at the Employment Service office. If you do not meet the employment condition,  AEA examines whether you meet the alternative employment requirement. This requires that you have worked at least 480 hours over a continuous period of six months. Each month of service must include at least 50 hours worked.

In order to calculate income-related benefits, AEA examines your normal working hours and normal income during the relevant time frame.

The time frame is twelve full retroactive months and starts when you register at the Employment Service. If you, over the course of the past year, have been totally or partially prevented from working, the months you have been prevented from working are disregarded and the same number of months added to the timeframe back in time. Likewise, if you can be considered to have engaged in full-time studies, for example with scholarship funding, this period is disregarded. A month may be disregarded or not depending on the reason you were not able to work. No more than a total of five years may be disregarded when this time frame is determined.

Normal working hours are counted for the work you performed during the entire time frame. For example if you, during the last twelve month period, worked alternately full-time and part-time, this will affect your normal working hours and thus your benefits.

Average income forms the basis of your benefit level and depends on your income from work. For example, during the summer if you were on leave for other work and received a considerably higher salary than your normal doctoral candidate salary, this generates a higher average income and affects your benefit level.

Average income is always calculated over twelve months, no matter how many months you worked. For example, if you have only six months of work during the time frame, your income for those six months will be spread out over the twelve months.

Disregarded time
If, during a framework period, you were for example engaged in full-time studies, were on maternity or sick leave, this time is disregarded in the time frame. Doctoral studies are considered studies but only if full-time. You must have remained a member of the AEA during these disregarded periods.

Example 1

You approach the end of your doctoral studies after two years of full-time employment as a doctoral candidate and your doctoral position runs out before you have finished your thesis. You receive a scholarship for a shorter period so you are able to complete your thesis and obtain a doctorate.

Assuming that you have been registered for the PhD programme full-time, AEA disregards the period you were on a scholarship and your time frame is extended backwards for the corresponding period into the past. In such a case, your doctoral candidate position forms the basis for your right to benefits.

Parental leave and disregarded periods
If you are on parental leave most of a month, for example, full-time or 75%, this period will be disregarded.

However if you work part-time combined with parental leave to such as extent that it becomes part of the employment requirement, these working hours will be included in the basis for calculation of normal working hours and thus also affect daily benefit amounts.

Parental benefit and also sickness benefit (benefits paid by the National Insurance Agency only) may also be included in the income used as a basis for calculation of unemployment benefits.

Benefit amounts
Unemployment benefit is paid in the form of daily allowances. Read more about benefits on the AEA website. Calculate your allowance här.

Period of benefit
You receive 300 days. Anyone who has children under 18 receives benefits for another 150 days. The benefit level for these 150 days is 70% of salary. In cases of full unemployment, five daily allowances per week are paid. This means that the 300 days of benefit last for 60 weeks.

For half-time unemployment 2.5 daily allowances are paid per week (if you worked full time before unemployment). You can receive benefits for a maximum of 60 weeks within the same compensation period.

Unemployment insurance funds and university teachers

To clarify these issues and facilitate understanding, AEA has gathered information regarding college and university issues in one place:

Doctoral candidates
Postdoc

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