Saco-S, of which SULF is a member, has reached an agreement with the Swedish Agency for Government Employers on changes to terms of employment. The most important news for SULF's members is that we have improved the central working time agreement for teachers and doctoral candidates at higher education institutions. Additionally, we have improved a range of other conditions and also opened up two new opportunities to sign individual agreements with employers, which will create added value for SULF members.
Regarding pay, Saco-S already had an open-ended agreement in place based on the use of local salary structures and individual salary setting, and there will be no change to those provisions.
Changes for teachers and doctoral candidates
The changes apply to the central working time agreement for teachers and doctoral candidates. They come into force on 1 January 2024.
Working hours for teachers and doctoral candidates are regulated partly via the central agreement and partly via local collective agreements. The central agreement has not been revised since 2009. We have now agreed on changes which make the dialogue between the teacher and the employer clearer. We have also clarified that doctoral candidates have annual working time, just like teachers, and that teaching done by doctoral candidates must be planned and documented in the same way as that of teachers. Which positions are covered by the term “teacher” varies among higher education institutions depending on what the local employment regulations or the local working time agreements look like. Your local Saco-S association can tell you more about what applies at your workplace.
The changes in the agreement that we succeeded in implementing are the following:
• It has now stated more clearly that doctoral candidates have annual working time, just like teachers. At most higher education institutions, that has already been the case under local agreements, but now it is clearly stated that annual working time applies unless otherwise stipulated in local agreements. Similarly, planning of teaching carried out by doctoral candidates must follow the same rules and routines as for teachers, unless otherwise stated in local agreements.
• It has been made explicit that the requirements regarding the activities of higher education institutions set out in the Higher Education Act must form the basis for local working time agreements. Such requirements may include a clear link between teaching and research and that the course must be based on scientific grounds. This section also states that third stream activities must be taken into account.
• The consultation procedure between teachers and employers that must take place before a work schedule is established has been described in more detail. For example, a provision that the planning must take place well in advance of the start of the academic year has been added. It is also now stipulated that a new consultation must take place before the plan can be changed and that it must then be noted if the changes agreed lead to work in excess of the annual working time, (overtime or additional hours). Against the background of recurring problems in this area, we view these changes very positively.
Greater scope for individual agreements
On 1 January 2024, two new areas for inclusion in individual agreements between members of SULF and other Saco-S unions and the employer will be introduced.
• It will be possible to exchange supplementary holiday pay, which corresponds to 0.49 per cent of the monthly salary, for more days off in addition to the annual holiday leave allowance. The detailed procedure for how this is to be regulated will be agreed shortly.
• It will be possible for everyone to reach an individual agreement on extra occupational pension provisions until the age of 69, which is an increase in the age limit from today's 67 years. In addition, also from 1 January 2024, several other improvements to the occupational pension will come into force in accordance with a previous agreement, which you can read about here.
Other changes and additions
• If a department or function is relocated to a new town or city, any person who is obliged to work in the new location but who chooses not to move and thus formally resigns from their position will be given the same support from the Job Security Foundation (Trygghetsstiftelsen), regardless of whether the decision is made by the government or the employer.
• It is now clearly stipulated that an individual can be employed in two state sector positions simultaneously in certain circumstances.
• Employers and unions will initiate and carry out joint activities in a number of areas, including working environment and salaries, but also with the aim of adapting terms and conditions to the new requirements enforced by both peacetime crises and the deteriorating security situation in the world.
• The occupational injury insurance has been improved so that an employee’s entire loss of income is compensated for in the event of a workplace accident. Previous regulation meant that a small part of the income was not compensated for.
• The maximum age limit for coverage by collectively agreed life insurance has been raised from 65 to 66 years. For individuals who remain in employment after the age of 65, a higher age limit applies.
• The holiday pay guarantee, (the minimum compensation paid for an annual holiday leave day), has been increased. This affects employees with a monthly salary below SEK 31,434 per month in 2024. For 2025, it applies to salaries below SEK 32,475.
• Leave without salary deduction for up to two occasions has been introduced for employees who accompany pregnant partners on maternity care visits.
• The handling of reimbursement for medicine costs has been simplified. Reimbursement will take place at the same time every year after submission of confirmation of the purchases from the Swedish eHealth Agency.
• The right to take leave without salary deduction for up to five days per year for graduation/examinations has been removed, but the employer can still grant such leave if it concerns education that is important for the employer’s operations.
• The right to extra leave and relocation allowance has been removed for employees who on their own initiative seek a higher position with the same employer but in another location. The right to take leave without salary deduction for one day remains for everyone who moves to a new home, and the employer may still grant additional leave and relocation allowance.