Annual vacation

Annual vacation is a statutory leave from work for a certain number of days during the year. Your right to annual vacation is regulated by the Swedish Annual Leave Act but also by collective agreements and your own contract of employment. Your annual vacation is your chance to rest and ‘recharge your batteries’.

How much vacation you are entitled to

According to the Annual Leave Act, you are entitled to 25 full days of vacation every year regardless of your age or type of employment (information about the Annual Leave Act only available in Swedish). If you are working irregular hours or part-time, your annual vacation is recalculated to the equivalent of 25 days. According to your contract of employment or collective agreement or both, you may be entitle an additional number of vacation days. If you enter into new employment after 31 August in any given year then you are only entitled to 5 full days of vacation until 1 April the following year. Unless otherwise specified in your collective agreement or contract of employment, you will be allocated your annual vacation days on 1 April every year.

Taking your vacation

Under the Annual Leave Act, you are entitled to a continuous vacation of four weeks (main vacation) during the period of June - August. This does not always apply to certain collective agreements in certain industries, such as the pharmaceutical industry, where the same right is reduced to a continuous vacation of maximum three weeks. Some individual contracts of employment may also be exempt from this rule.

As a general rule, however, your employer decides when you are to take your annual vacation. In some workplaces, the main annual vacation is decided by the local union club and employer. Your employer must notify you of your annual vacation dates no later than two months before the start of your vacation.

You cannot decide unilaterally to cancel or change your annual vacation dates and return to work. You may, however, be required to return to work if your employer asks you to cancel your vacation.

Vacation pay

In terms of your annual vacation, there is a difference between your right to vacation and your right to vacation pay. In order to receive vacation pay, you must first have earned your right to such pay during a qualifying year. The year after the qualifying year is called the vacation year. This runs from 1 April until 31 March the year after that. When you can take paid vacation Even if you have not earned your right to vacation pay, you are still entitled to an annual vacation.

Your vacation pay will usually consist of your ordinary monthly salary, fixed salary supplements, if any, and a daily vacation pay increment (or bonus). The amount of vacation pay increments you receive is regulated by the Annual Leave Act or any collective agreements that you are part of.

If you have been an employee throughout the entire qualifying year, you will have earned your right to vacation pay for all of your annual vacation days. If you have only been an employee for part of the qualifying year, then some of your vacation days will be unpaid - that is, you will not be receive any vacation pay for those days. You decide yourself whether or not to take unpaid vacation. If you decide to take unpaid vacation, your employer will make a deduction from your monthly salary.

Advance vacation

Instead of making a deduction from your monthly salary when you take unpaid vacation, your employer might allow you to take advance vacation. When taking advance vacation, your monthly salary stays the same as no deduction is made for any unpaid vacation that you take. The total amount of deductions that your employer chooses not to make is considered a debt that you will have to pay back if you decide to terminate your employment. The debt is written off after a period of 5 years or if you are made redundant due to a shortage of work.

The right to accrue vacation days

If you have an annual vacation of 20 days or more, you have the right to accrue vacation days during a period of five years and convert these into one continuous vacation. 

Sickness during annual vacation

According to the Annual Leave Act, if you are unlucky enough to be taken ill during your annual vacation, you have the right to end your vacation and instead take your vacation on another occasion. Don’t forget to report sick as soon as you can.

When your employment ends

If you end your employment and have vacation days left to take, you will receive vacation pay for those days. During the period of notice, you do, however, have the right to take out any vacation that has already been granted. 

What Unionen can do to assist you

  • As a member of Unionen, we can assist you with the following:
  • Information about your right to annual vacation
  • Calculate how many vacation days and what vacation pay you are entitled to and also, what deductions will be made if you take unpaid vacation.
  • Calculate your vacation pay when your employment ends.
  • Make demands for vacation pay on your behalf under current laws and agreements.
  • Deal with situations such as when an employer is found to be in breach of the Annual Leave Act, a collective agreement or contract of employment.

Please note that the information and advice we give you is primarily in Swedish. We can usually give you the same information and advice in English but this does depend on staff availability. Unfortunately, we cannot promise any other languages but please contact us and we will do our best to assist you.

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