Swedish regulations on unemployment insurance and unemployment benefit

Svenske regler for arbejdsløshedsforsikring og -dagpenge
How you are insured against unemployment in Sweden and how your income is secured if you lose your job.

In Sweden, you can receive unemployment benefits (arbetslöshetsersättning) if you meet certain condtions. Swedish unemployment insurance consists of two parts - a general basic insurance (grundbelopp) and a voluntary income-loss insurance (inkomstrelaterad ersättning). You must be a member of an unemployment insurance fund (arbetslöshetskassa, a-kassa) to be eligible for income-loss compensation.

Unemployment insurance

Are you entitled to unemployment insurance in Sweden?

Everyone who works in Sweden is covered by unemployment insurance in the form of a general basic insurance. If you are also a member of an unemployment insurance fund, you may be entitled to an insurance that covers loss of income. You are only entitled to unemployment benefits if you meet certain conditions.

See the section ‘What conditions must you meet to be eligible for Swedish unemployment benefits?’ further down on this page.

How does unemployment insurance work?

Swedish unemployment insurance consists of two parts - a general basic insurance and a voluntary income-loss insurance. The two parts apply to both employees and self-employed persons. The basic insurance is only paid to jobseekers from the age of 20. You must be a member of an unemployment insurance fund to be entitled to income-loss unemployment benefits.

In Sweden it is the unemployment insurance funds that pay unemployment benefits.

How do you join an unemployment insurance fund?

You can become a member of an unemployment insurance fund if you are employed within the area of activity of the unemployment insurance fund at the time of application. If you are not working at the time of application, you can also become a member of an unemployment insurance fund if you met the conditions when you last worked.

You cannot be a member of an unemployment insurance fund after your 64th birthday. You are not entitled to be a member of more than one unemployment insurance fund at the same time.

Further information about the unemployment insurance funds in Sweden can be found on the website of the Swedish Federation of Unemployment Insurance Funds (Sveriges a-kassor).

Unemployment benefits

What conditions must you meet to be eligible for Swedish unemployment benefits?

You are entitled to unemployment benefits if you meet the general conditions and the work-related condition.

You meet the general conditions if you:

  • are capable of work and can work unhindered for at least 3 hours every working day and for an average of at least 17 hours a week
  • are registered as a jobseeker with the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen)
  • are at the disposal of the labour market.

You meet the work-related condition if you, in a period of twelve months immediately before the day you became unemployed:

  • have worked for at least 6 months and worked for at least 80 hours per calendar month, or
  • have worked for at least 480 hours in a continuous period of 6 calendar months, and worked for at least 50 hours in each of these months.
For how long can you receive unemployment benefits?

If you meet the conditions for unemployment benefits, the unemployment insurance fund grants you a benefit period of 300 days. Parents who, on Day 300, have children under 18, can be granted a further 150 days of benefits.

Qualifying period: Before you can start receiving unemployment benefits, you have a 6-day qualifying period.

How much can you receive in unemployment benefits?

If you are not a member of an unemployment insurance fund, or if you are a member of an unemployment insurance fund but do not meet the conditions for membership, you are entitled to the basic amount. The basic amount is not related to previous income, and comprises a maximum of SEK 365 per day. If you have worked less than full-time, the basic amount is reduced in proportion to working time.

If you have been a member of an unemployment insurance fund for at least 12 months and met the work-related conditions when you last became a member of the unemployment insurance fund, you are entitled to income-loss unemployment benefit.

When you are entitled to income-loss unemployment benefit, the level for the first 100 days is 80% of your previous income (although a maximum of SEK 910 per day).

The level of unemployment benefit for the remaining 200 days is 70% of your previous income (but a maximum of SEK 760 per day). If you have worked less than full-time, the financial amount is reduced in proportion to working time.

How do you apply for unemployment benefits in Sweden?

You apply for unemployment benefits from the unemployment insurance fund of which you are a member. If you are not a member of an unemployment insurance fund, or do not wish to apply for membership of an unemployment insurance fund, you can apply for unemployment benefits from the Alfa-kassan fund.

You send your application for unemployment benefits and other forms to your unemployment insurance fund. The forms you need to apply for unemployment benefits can be found on the website of each unemployment insurance fund.

In which country do cross-border workers apply for unemployment benefits?

If you work in one country and live in another, you apply for unemployment benefits in the country in which you live if you become fully unemployed.

If you live in Sweden and have worked in another Nordic country, and become fully unemployed, it is important that you send your application to the unemployment insurance fund in Sweden as soon as your work ceases, i.e. your first day of unemployment. If you are partially or periodically unemployed, you apply for supplementary unemployment benefit in the country in which you work.

Special information for people who have worked in several countries

You are normally covered by unemployment insurance in the country in which you work. For more information about what applies if you work in two countries, contact your unemployment insurance fund to discuss your situation.

Combining insurance periods if you have worked in another Nordic country

In order to be entitled to unemployment benefits and credited with periods of insurance, employment, and self-employment in other EU/EEA countries and Switzerland, a normal requirement is that you have recently worked in Sweden when you apply for unemployment benefits in Sweden.

The Nordic Convention on Social Security applies in all the Nordic countries. This convention includes a ‘five-year rule’, which means that if you were covered by Swedish unemployment insurance and then lived and worked in another Nordic country, you can re-enter the Swedish unemployment insurance system if you return to Sweden within five years. However, if you most recently worked in another Nordic country, under certain circumstances you may apply for unemployment benefits in Sweden, crediting periods of insurance, employment, and self-employment from your previous work/country of work.

You must apply for membership of a Swedish unemployment insurance fund within 8 weeks of the date you are no longer insured in the country you are moving from, in order to retain a continuous 12-month insurance period. In addition, you should apply for membership of an unemployment insurance fund whose area of activity you most recently worked in.

When you have worked in another Nordic country, you must prove your periods of insurance and work on the PD U1 certificate to apply for unemployment benefits in Sweden. NB. If you have worked in the Faroe Islands or Greenland, the certificate is N-301.

You have worked in Denmark

If you have worked in Denmark and have been a member of a Danish unemployment insurance fund, you should apply for the PD U1 certificate from your unemployment insurance fund in Denmark. If you have not been a member of an unemployment insurance fund, the certificate is issued by The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment.

You have worked in Finland

If you have worked in Finland and have been a member of a Finnish unemployment insurance fund, you should apply for the PD U1 certificate from your unemployment insurance fund in Finland. If you have not been a member of an unemployment insurance fund, the document is issued by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Kela.

You have worked in the Faroe Islands

You are automatically a member of an unemployment insurance fund when you work in the Faroe Islands. If you have worked in the Faroe Islands, you should contact the Faroese unemployment insurance agency, Arbeiðsloysisskipanin, for information about transferring your unemployment insurance to Sweden.

You have worked in Greenland

In Greenland, you can request a Residence and Tax form. For this, you must give your name, date of birth, Danish personal ID number if you have one, and your employer in Greenland. This information should be sent to sydtax@nanoq.gl.

You have worked in Iceland

In Iceland, the PD U1 certificate is issued by the Directorate of Labour.

You have worked in Norway

In Norway it is The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) that issues the PD U1 certificate that you use when you want to transfer your unemployment benefit rights to Sweden. The NAV website provides information about how you apply for the PD U1 certificate and what you need to verify when you apply. Send the application to NAV together with a confirmation of your working conditions in Norway, a copy of your contract/labour agreement, and a copy of salary slips and a final tax statement for the period for which you are applying for the PD U1 certificate.

You have worked in Sweden

If you have worked in Sweden and been a member of a Swedish unemployment insurance fund, you should apply for a PD U1 certificate from your unemployment insurance fund in Sweden. If you have not been a member of an unemployment insurance fund, the certificate is issued by Alfa-kassan.

Taking Swedish unemployment benefits to another Nordic country

If you receive unemployment benefits in Sweden, you can take the benefits with you for three months if you want to look for work in another Nordic country. However, you must meet certain conditions, for example:

  • You must be a member of a Swedish unemployment insurance fund or Alfa-kassan.
  • You must be entitled to unemployment benefits by the day you travel from Sweden.
  • You must have been registered at the Public Employment Service as fully unemployed and have been at the disposal of the labour market for at least a total of four weeks since you most recently became unemployed.

In order to receive Swedish unemployment benefits while you look for work in another country, you must have the PD U2 certificate from The Swedish Unemployment Insurance Board (Inspektionen för Arbetslöshetsförsäkring, IAF).

When you arrive in the country in which you want to look for a job, you must register at an employment service office within seven days from the day of departure from Sweden to receive unemployment benefits from the day of departure. If you register at the employment service office after these seven days have passed, you can only receive unemployment benefits from the date you registered. Note that you must follow the regulations in the other Nordic country while you are looking for a job. It is still your Swedish unemployment insurance fund that pays your unemployment benefits.

Contact your unemployment insurance fund in good time

You should contact your unemployment insurance fund in good time before you plan to travel, in order to find out about special requirements, deadlines and possible waiting time in case processing.

If you cannot find work

If you do not find a job abroad within three months, in order to retain your right to Swedish unemployment benefits you must return to Sweden and register with your unemployment insurance fund and with the Public Employment Service. If you do not return home before the three-month period has ended, you lose your right to financial support.

If you find work

If you find a job in another country, you will generally be covered by unemployment insurance in your new country of work. Contact your Swedish unemployment fund and the employment service in the country of work.

Looking for work in Sweden with unemployment benefits from another Nordic country

If you receive unemployment benefits in another Nordic country, you may look for work in Sweden under certain conditions. Contact the unemployment insurance fund in your home country for more information.

More information

More detailed information about Swedish unemployment insurance, how much you can receive in unemployment benefits, contact information to the different unemployment insurance funds, information about the Nordic Convention and EU regulations on unemployment insurance can be found on the websites of the Swedish Public Employment Service, IAF, and Sweden’s unemployment insurance funds.

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