Working hours

When we talk about working hours, we mean so much more than how many hours you work. It is about what you fill your working time with, for example, and the boundaries between working time and other time. These are issues that are closely linked to your work environment. In 2020, many of SULF’s members have worked tremendously hard to deliver in line with the requirements brought by digital transformation. It has required a lot of work and sometimes also overtime or additional hours. That is why we would now like to raise the subject of working time.

The Swedish Working Hours Act

Working time is regulated in different ways and through different agreements, but the foundation is the Working Hours Act (Arbetstidslag (1982:673)), which includes provisions on matters such as how much you may work per day, week and year. But the law is non-binding, which means that it is possible to regulate matters in collective agreements. You can read the full text of the Working Hours Act (1982: 673) here (in Swedish).

The state sector

Within the state sector, which includes higher education institutions, there is a collective agreement that regulates the terms of government employment, Villkorsavtal-T, terms and conditions agreement. Chapter four of this agreement regulates working time issues. Appendix five of the agreement regulates the working time of university teachers and annual working time, as well as other matters such as work task planning, which is closely linked to your working hours. It also requires higher education institutions to have local working time agreements that regulate the distribution of annual working hours. The full text of Villkorsavtal-T can be found on the Swedish Agency for Government Employers’ website (in Swedish).

Questions about working time

If you have any questions about your working time, you should always start by looking at your local agreement or contacting your local union representatives.

 

Yes, overtime must be ordered or approved retroactively by your immediate manager. You cannot decide yourself to work overtime and then assume that you will receive compensation afterwards. It is important that you document any requests to work overtime so that there is no disagreement later. Overtime pay is regulated in Villkorsavtal-T, a terms and conditions agreement or your local working time agreement.

The full text of Villkorsavtal-T can be found on the Swedish Agency for Government Employers’ website (in Swedish).

You can find the local working time agreements that we have access to here (in Swedish). Search for arbetstidsavtal.

Additional hours is when a part time employee is asked to work more than he or she normally works. For example, if you work 50 per cent part time and are asked to work more, that is additional hours. Additional hours are reimbursed differently to overtime, so check your local working time agreement or Villkorsavtal-T, a terms and conditions agreement.

The full text of Villkorsavtal-T can be found on the Swedish Agency for Government Employers’ website (in Swedish).

You can find the local working time agreements that we have access to here (in Swedish). Search for arbetstidsavtal.

Contact your local Saco-S association or local SULF association and they will help you try to solve the problem. It is important that you are able to show that you have been ordered to work overtime.

Unregulated working time means that you work towards goals and deadlines rather than working a certain number of hours per day, month or year. Unregulated working time gives you a great deal of freedom to plan your own working hours. However, it does not mean that you can ignore meetings that you are called to teaching you are scheduled for. If you have unregulated working time, you are not entitled to overtime compensation. If your manager wants you to change to unregulated working time, the employer must negotiate this with you.

Contact your local union representative and they will help you with this.

Annual working hours is the most common working time for university teachers. It means that you must work a certain number of hours per year. Annual working hours are often used for positions for which working hours vary between different times of the year. If you have annual working hours, you are entitled to overtime.

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