Fixed-term contracts in the Employment Protection Act (LAS)
Paragraph 5 of the Employment Protection Act (LAS) regulates the scope for employers to deviate from the general rule that employment is permanent by signing agreements on fixed-term contracts. The Act lists three forms of fixed-term employment – special fixed-term, substitute and seasonal employment. Additionally, there is a provision that a special fixed-term employment position or a substitute employment position does not automatically become permanent employment if the employee has reached the age of 69 (the new age came into force on 1 January 2023), which means that an employer is free in such cases to use fixed-term employment for an unlimited time.
Further, there is the possibility to use trial or probationary employment in certain situations. You can read more about this here.
Please note that at state sector higher education institutions, the Higher Education Ordinance does not permit fixed-term employment as a professor under any of these provisions.
Special fixed-term employment
If you are employed for a fixed period with reference to these grounds, the terms special fixed-term employment (särskild visstidsanställning), SVA or LAS 5:1 may appear in your employment contract. SVA is the commonly used abbreviation and LAS 5:1 refers to the Section in the Employment Protection Act (LAS) which permits this type of employment.
No special conditions are required for the employer to make use of this form of time limit. Employers may use these grounds for no more than 12 months of employment during a five-year period. If an employee is employed with reference to the special fixed-term employment criteria by the same employer for more than 12 months during a 5-year period, the position automatically becomes permanent. The same applies if you have been employed by the employer on a special fixed-term contract for a total of more than 12 months during a period, (not limited to five years), when you have had fixed-term employment at the same employer in the form of special fixed-term, substitute or seasonal employment and these periods of employment have been consecutive. In order for the periods to be regarded as consecutive, any gap in employment may not be longer than six months.
If you are employed for a fixed time with reference to these grounds, the terms substitute (vikariat), LAS 5:2 or pending appointment (i avvaktan på tillsättning) may appear on your employment contract. LAS 5:2 is a reference to the Section in the Employment Protection Act (LAS) which permits this type of employment.
For the employer to be allowed to use substitute employment, a permanent employee must have taken temporary leave from work, for example for parental leave, illness or similar. Employers may also use this form of employment if an employee leaves or retires or if there is an ongoing recruitment process, but then only for the period it would normally take to recruit a new permanent employee.
Employers may use this type of fixed-term employment for no more than 2 years during a five-year period. If an employee has substitute employment with the same employer for a total of more than two years within any five-year period, the position automatically becomes permanent.
If you are employed for a fixed time with reference these grounds, the terms seasonal (säsongsarbete) or LAS 5:3 may appear in your employment contract. LAS 5:3 is a reference to the Section in the Employment Protection Act (LAS) which permits this type of employment.
For the employer to be allowed to use this type of fixed-term employment, the work tasks must be considered seasonal with reference to the cycles of nature, for example berry picking. There is not normally any work of this kind in the higher education sector.
When employees reach the age of 69
If you are employed after the age of 69, the Employment Protection Act stipulates that you can be employed on a fixed-term contract without it automatically becoming a permanent position. In practice, this means that anyone who is 69 or over can be employed on a fixed-term contract for an unlimited time. This does not apply if you are employed as a professor at a higher education institution in the state sector, as the Act may not be used as grounds for fixed-term employment in such a case. You can, however, be employed in a fixed-term position other than as a professor after the age of 69.