Sunday, January 2, 2011

3 good reasons to work in Sweden

Sweden is a good place for careers in most professions. And with relaxed labor migration rules in place, it has become easier to move here for work. As an employee in Sweden, you are also offered a range of benefits. Let us give you three good reasons to move to Sweden for work.

Photo: Nicho Södling

1. High standard of living

With one of the highest standards of living in the world, Sweden offers residents a good life — from the cradle to the grave. Take, for example, an average electrician in Sweden. He is likely to have a three-room apartment in the city and may have a small summer cottage in the countryside together with his partner, who also works full time. The couple is able to afford a biofuel car and a yearly vacation abroad, while supporting two children in daycare.
Like all other workers in Sweden, the electrician also enjoys a minimum of five weeks of paid vacation per year, along with paid sick and parental leave. If he and his partner have a child, they are entitled to up to 480 days of paid leave. Since they are working, the couple is also allowed up to a combined 120 days of paid leave per year to care for sick children.
Sweden sees many of these benefits as necessary rights for everyone, regardless of income or social status. They help to make sure that all children are educated and healthy, and that people from all parts of society are offered equal opportunities. Education is free from six years of age to university, and most health care and pension benefits are paid for by employer and income taxes.

2. Family migration

For people with partners and children, moving from one country to another is never a simple task. Swedish law takes this into account, making it possible for family members to receive work and residence permits for the duration of your stay. This opportunity is so far unique to Sweden.
Your immediate family members may be granted a work or residence permit in combination with your permit. Husbands, wives or registered domestic partners who submit a legal document proving the relationship are eligible for a permit, as well as children up to the age of 21.
If your employment lasts for more than six months, any of these family members may be granted a work and residence permit for the same duration as your stay. This means that you can pursue your career accompanied by your family. With the opportunity to live, work and study, your family is also free to fully participate in the Swedish society from the day they arrive.

3. Employment-based benefits

In Sweden, having a job means being offered a range of benefits, from paid parental and sick leave to employment-based pension and optional unemployment insurance, all based on your salary.
Sick leave payment
If you are sick, the Swedish system gives you the time and compensation needed to recover. Sick leave pay in Sweden typically amounts to 80 percent of your salary. Your first sick day is the waiting period (karensdag), which means that you do not receive any payment for this day. Your employer will pay for your sick leave for 13 days, following the waiting period. If you are on sick leave for more than seven days, you must also have a doctor's note explaining why you are unable to work.
Parental leave
Parental leave is a central part of Swedish family life, making it possible to have children while continuing your career. Parental leave allows parents to stay home with their children while keeping their job. Parents are entitled to 480 days of paid leave per child, with 60 days being reserved for each child. This is mainly to encourage equality and shared responsibility. Fathers are also entitled to 10 extra paid days of leave when the child is born.
Unemployment pay
While working, you need to pay into an unemployment insurance program (arbetslöshetskassa or a-kassa). This will guarantee unemployment benefits, should you lose your job. These insurance programs are administered by the trade unions but require a separate membership initiated by the employee. Your fees and benefits will depend on your field of work and on the insurance program you choose.
Employment-based pension
Throughout their working life, all employees in Sweden earn income pension. In addition, many employers make extra monthly payments to a so-called occupational pension. The Swedish pension system is often pictured as a pyramid, with your basic income pension forming the base of the pyramid, your employer contributions in the middle and any personal pension savings plans you choose at the top. You can also choose when you would like to retire, with some people retiring as early as 55 years of age. But income pension and premium pension can only be drawn from the age of 61.
This feature has been published by the Swedish Institute.