Guest membership is offered to anyone who has been granted a work permit to carry out work in Sweden and who is a citizen of a country outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland.
The members of Unionen
All white-collar workers at any workplace in the private sector can become members of Unionen, irrespective of their post, educational background or salary. As Unionen is not affiliated with any political party we can always pursue policies that, irrespective of political considerations, improve the working lives of our members.
We at Unionen know what your rights are and are experts on the working conditions in Swedish business and industry. For just SEK 200 you will become a guest member and get quick and professional support concerning all aspects of your working life in Sweden.
Your benefits as a guest member
If you are employed in Sweden, we can also represent you in legal labour issues. Being a guest member immediately entitles you to advice, and after three months entitles you to be represented in negotiations, as long as the matter occurred after your application for membership was accepted by Unionen.
Someone to ask
If you need advice and support regarding your work situation, contact us. We will also help you if you have any questions, for example:
- How long is my notice period?
- How many hours am I actually allowed to work?
- What should I do if I feel I am being discriminated against?
- Can I refuse to work overtime?
- What is the average salary in Sweden in my profession?
- What should I do if my employer wants to give me notice of termination?
- What should I do if I do not get paid what I thought I would?
- Am I entitled to sickness benefits if I get ill?
- Am I entitled to holidays?
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.
Income protection insurance scheme
When you have been a member of Unionen for 12 months, you qualify for our income protection insurance scheme and study grants, provided that you become a full member of the union. You need to be affiliated to an unemployment insurance fund in order to be covered by the Unionen income protection insurance scheme.
The unemployment fund
You can apply for membership of an unemployment insurance fund if you are employed in Sweden. The qualification period for unemployment benefits is 12 months. If you become unemployed after one year as a member of the unemployment insurance fund, you may only receive benefits for the period that your work permit is valid, i.e. a maximum of three months without employment.
Please note that membership of Unionen does not automatically mean that you are a member of Unionen’s unemployment insurance fund. If you are not a member of an unemployment insurance fund, you are not covered by Unionen’s income protection insurance scheme either. It is therefore important that you apply for membership of an unemployment insurance fund.
Collective agreements, the Swedish model and freedom of association
When you start a new job, you take many of the terms and conditions for granted: pay increases every year, overtime pay, supplementary insurance schemes, the right to exert influence and so on. All of this can be summed up in the term “collective agreement”.
The collective agreements form the basis of “the Swedish model” in which the conditions in each sector are determined by the trade unions and employers’ organisations. The government does not interfere, though it may set the boundaries through labour laws, as the trade union and employers’ organisations are responsible. The model combines flexibility for companies with security and influence for employees.
An employer cannot say that you are not allowed to join a trade union. The freedom of association that is in force in Sweden gives you the right to freely join a trade union of your choice. It is a violation of your freedom of association if anyone, in any way, tries to prevent you from joining a trade union. You do not have to reply if your employer asks you whether or not you intend to join a trade union. Learn more about the Swedish labour market here.
Terms of guest membership
Guest membership of Unionen is offered to all those who have been granted a work permit to carry out work in Sweden and who are citizens of countries outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland.
The offer applies to newly employed people who have been granted a work permit to carry out work in Sweden and who are citizens of countries outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland.
This guest membership is the same as regular membership for employees, providing the same services and benefits as other members are entitled to. However, guest membership differs from a regular membership in two important ways:
- Guest membership ceases when the work permit expires, but cannot last longer than one year.
- The price is SEK 200 for the year or period. Guest membership cannot be combined with the introductory (regular) membership offer of three months free. The total membership fee is payable on joining Unionen. The fee or part thereof is not refunded should the guest member leave his/her position earlier than was stated at the time of joining.
Being a guest member immediately entitles you to advice, and after three months entitles you to be represented in negotiations, as long as the matter occurred after your application for membership was accepted by Unionen. Exemption from the three month rule may be granted if there are special circumstances, for example if Unionen has a fundamental interest in the matter.
Exemptions may also be granted if the member is new to the labour market, for example has come directly from being a student, immigrated from another country or some other similar situation. The same applies when transferring membership from another trade union.
Other fees that may apply:
As a member of Unionen you are automatically and compulsorily a member of the local Unionen trade union branch. If such a branch exists in your workplace, any additional membership fee will be payable. Applications can be made to the Unionen Membership Registration Office.
- A local fee may apply if there is a local trade union branch in your workplace
- A membership fee for the unemployment insurance fund is added if you have chosen to be a member of an unemployment insurance fund
- The premium for the optional part of the Unionen income protection insurance scheme is added if you have chosen to subscribe to this
Conditions for all members
The statutes of Unionen cover all members. We wish to draw your attention specifically to a couple of things mentioned in the statutes.
As a new member, you are immediately entitled to advice and information from Unionen and after three months you can be represented in negotiations, as long as the matter occurred after your application for membership was accepted by Unionen.
Exemptions from the three month rule may be granted if there are special circumstances, for example if Unionen has a fundamental interest in the matter. Exemptions may also be granted if the member is new to the labour market, for example has come directly from being a student, immigrated from another country or some other similar situation. You do not have to wait for three months to be entitled to support in negotiations if you are switching directly from membership of another trade union.
Do not forget that you need to be a member of a Swedish unemployment insurance fund, the Unionen unemployment insurance fund or some other, in order to be entitled to our income protection insurance scheme.
If you wish to become a member of the Unionen unemployment insurance fund, you need to submit a separate application form.