Guide: Seasonal work in Sweden

Mand i grå hoodie og sorte bukser der holder en brun kasse på en mark
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
A seasonal job in Sweden is a good opportunity to explore life and work abroad. Make sure you learn about Swedish job opportunities, contract terms and conditions, holiday pay, work environment regulations, and guidelines on sickness, when you are working temporarily in Sweden.

Are you looking for a summer job in Sweden? Or would you rather find seasonal work in Sweden during the winter? 

There are many good reasons to consider looking for a seasonal job in Sweden. It gives you a chance to learn new skills, try a new job, meet new people, and get to know another country. It also gives you a chance to experience Sweden and Swedes, while getting paid. As a student or young person, it can be a chance to get a temporary job during the course of a holiday. 

Many Swedish employers need extra staff in the high season, and are therefore interested in you working for them for a short period and then returning home. In Sweden, you can generally find seasonal jobs in tourism, the hotel and restaurant sector, entertainment, and the care sector. 

Both summer jobs and winter jobs are available in Sweden. Before each season, hotels, resorts, restaurants and bars are looking to recruit staff before the busy period, and you could very well be the person they are looking for!

Work permits in Sweden

Nordic citizens do not require a work permit or a residence permit to live and/or work in another Nordic country, and can stay in Sweden for up to twelve months without needing to register in the Swedish Population Register. 

If you are an EU citizen, you can also start working in Sweden directly without needing a work permit or registering your right to residence. However, if you are a citizen of a third country, you must have a work and residence permit from the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) before you can work in Sweden.

Tax in Sweden

You must apply for a temporary Swedish personal identity number, called a coordination number. You can do this at the same time as you apply for a Swedish tax card and SINK tax from the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).

If you are working in Sweden for less than six months, you are generally taxed through the SINK scheme (Special income tax for foreign residents), which is a tax rate of 25%. 

In the SINK scheme you do not need to submit a tax return (deklaration) in Sweden. You can print out the SINK form from the website of the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) and submit it to the Swedish Tax Agency. Remember to attach a copy of your passport or some other proof of identity. By submitting this application you also apply for a coordination number. Your employer must have your coordination number in order to pay your salary. Make sure you apply in good time, as case processing time can be long.

If you earn more than 90% of your taxable income in Sweden, you can choose to pay tax according to the standard Swedish tax regulations instead of SINK. In that case, you use the same form, but under “Other information”, write that you want to be taxed according to the Swedish Income Tax Act. Under the same heading, you apply for your standard tax allowance. 

This means that you do not pay tax on the first SEK 20,000 that you earn. You pay 30-35% tax on the rest of your income. If you pay tax according to the Swedish Income Tax Act, you must submit a tax return (deklaration) in Sweden. Income from abroad must be stated in the tax return, which has much information already filled in, and is sent to you during the course of the year.

Open a bank account in Sweden

Ask your employer if you need a Swedish bank account. It may be easier to open a bank account after you have received your coordination number.

Not all employers demand that you have a Swedish bank account. Some employers instead pay your salary to your account in your home country.

At the end of your period of work, you can decide whether you want to close your bank account or keep it until next year.

Rights and obligations in the labour market in Sweden

If you are a seasonal worker in Sweden, you are entitled to the same employment conditions as Swedish employees in terms of salary, working time, work environment, and safety.

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) has compiled useful information for when you are taking a seasonal job in Sweden. Contact LO if you want to know more about rights and obligations when you work in Sweden.

If you are looking for a summer job, a winter job, or some other form of temporary employment in Sweden, it is important to ensure that you are working under proper conditions.

Swedish agreement

Ask the Swedish employer if the workplace has a collective bargaining agreement. Salary, holidays and other conditions are regulated in collective bargaining agreements, and if you do not have a collective bargaining agreement in the workplace you must negotiate these conditions yourself. Collective agreements are made between the trade union and the employer.

If there is a collective bargaining agreement in place, it applies for all employees, regardless of whether you are a member of a trade union or not.

Salaries in Sweden

You can compare the salaries in different sectors in Sweden on the website of the Swedish statistics agency, Statistics Sweden (SCB). Many trade unions and organisations also have salary figures on their websites for their sectors.

You must come to agreement with the employer on what salary you are to receive through an individual salary negotiation – in general, there is a specific agreement, a collective bargaining agreement, that forms the basis for your salary.

You should be given a salary slip (lönebesked) every time you receive wages or salary, so that you can check that everything is correct. The simplest way is to ask your trade union about salary levels for your job.

An employer may sometimes offer you a job without pay as a trial. Even if you really want the job, you must never work without being paid. You must not work without pay in Sweden.

Check your Swedish contract before signing it.

By Swedish law you are always entitled to an employment contract. This is a contract between employer and employee, and shows that you work for the employer. The contract should include, for example, what your work tasks are, the length of the employment, and who you are employed by.

If there is anything in the employment contract you do not understand, it is important that you ask the employer about this before signing.

If your work is weather-dependent, your employer may tell you that you will not be working on the days the weather conditions are not optimal, and that you must go home without pay. However, if the number of hours per week is stipulated in the employment contract, the employer may never send you home without pay.

You have rights as a seasonal worker in Sweden, so make it clear that you expect the employer to comply with your agreement.

Work environment regulations in Sweden

It is important to know about the work environment regulations, so that you know how to perform certain work tasks in a way that prevents mental or physical injury or sickness.

Certain regulations may concern you if you are under 18, if you for example work in a warehouse and must lift heavy objects. Some work tasks are prohibited for young people under 18, For example, if you are under 18, you may not work nights, nor may you work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.

Holiday pay in Sweden

Even if you are not entitled to holiday leave when you have a seasonal job, you are entitled to holiday pay. An employer may sometimes try to incorporate holiday pay in the salary, but by law, holiday pay must be paid in addition to your salary.

No later than one month after you have stopped working, you should receive your holiday pay.

Pensions in Sweden

Contact your employer in Sweden for information about pensions relating to your employment position. You can also contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for information about how you earn your pension when you have a seasonal job in Sweden.

Certificate of employment

Make sure that your employer gives you a certificate of employment (arbetsintyg) that you can show next time you apply for a job.

Undeclared work (svartjobb) in Sweden

If your work is undeclared, you are not an employee, and you are not formally working at the workplace. If anything happens while you are at work, you are not covered by any insurance.

You should always demand a salary slip that shows both your gross salary, i.e. the salary before tax, and your net salary that you receive after you have paid tax. Your salary slip is proof that tax has been deducted from your salary.

Seasonal work in Sweden

You can find seasonal jobs in Sweden through the Swedish Public Employment Office (Arbetsförmedlingen). You can also enter “seasonal work in Sweden” into a search engine.

If you are a Nordic or EU citizen aged between 18 and 30 may apply for a summer job through Nordjobb, which arranges both work and accommodation for young people in the Nordic countries.

Private insurance when you work in Sweden

Contact your private insurance company in your home country to check whether you have insurances that are relevant for you when you are working for a limited period in Sweden.

Medical care in Sweden

If you become sick during your stay in Sweden, you are always entitled to necessary health care. This is medical help that cannot wait until you return home. Nordic citizens also have the same rights to emergency dental care as Swedish citizens.

In order to receive treatment, Nordic citizens must show their passport, ID card, or some other proof of identity. Contact the regional health authority in Sweden where you are staying for help and information. You can also find information in the 1177 Healthcare Guide (Vårdguiden).

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