Financial benefits when you are unemployed

Everyone working in Sweden is covered by unemployment insurance, but if you are not a member of a unemployment fund (A-kassa) the insurance payout is very low, SEK 365 per day.

To be eligible for unemployment insurance, you must have been working for at least 50% of fulltime for at least 6 months during the last 12 months.

Employees on fixed term contracts who intend to stay in Sweden are strongly advised to become members of a voluntary unemployment insurance fund (A-kassa), since members receive payments based on their salary, this is called income-based benefit. As a member in an a-kassa you can receive up to SEK 910 per day.

If you are not a member of an A-kassa you can still be eligible for unemployment insurance but at the basic rate.

The unemployment benefit is administrated by two parties, Arbetsförmedlingen (the Swedish National Employment Office) and A-kassan (the unemployment benefit fund).

What Arbetsförmedlingen does

  • informs the unemployment benefit fund when you register with Arbetsförmedlingen as a job seeker
  • checks that you fulfil the conditions for entitlement to benefits from an unemployment benefit fund
  • sends a message to the unemployment benefit fund if you:
    • do not fulfil the conditions
    • are not looking for work in the manner you and your job search advisor have agreed
    • extend the time you are unemployed
    • cause yourself to become unemployed

What A-kassan does

  • investigates and decides whether you are entitled to benefit from an unemployment benefit fund
  • decides how much benefit you will receive
  • pays your benefit
  • answers questions about your benefits
  • decides whether you should get reduced benefits as a result of Arbetsförmedlingen sending a message to your unemployment benefit fund.

Requirements for you to receive benefits

In order to receive benefits from A-kassan you must first meet the basic conditions.

For this you must:

  • register as a job seeker at the Arbetsförmedlingen
  • be available to work at least 3 hours per working day and an average of at least 17 hours per week with an employer
  • otherwise be at the disposal of the job market, in other words have the intention of working and not have any thing that prevents you working

You must also fulfil a work condition

To qualify for basic or income-related benefit, you must meet the specified work requirement. This means that, prior to becoming unemployed, you must have worked for at least six months and at least 80 hours in every calendar month, or for at least 480 hours over six consecutive calendar months and for at least 50 hours in each of these months.

In certain cases you may also count a total of not more than two months national military service or paid paternity/maternity leave as employment.

If you have been unable to work in the past twelve months prior to becoming unemployed, this period may be extended (skipped time). This applies if you have been sick, have been doing your military service, have completed full-time studies or have been caring for a child of less than two years old. You may ‘skip’ a maximum of five years in addition to the past twelve months. For those that have been sick for a long period of time and have received sickness benefit or temporary sickness compensation for the maximum period, the exempt period can be 10 years.

Contact us if you want to know more.

If you would like to apply for unemployment benefit, follow all the steps in the guide.

What must you do during the time when you are receiving benefit?

When you are receiving benefits from unemployment benefit fund it is important that you look for work in a way that you and your advisor have agreed upon. This means that you must

  • create a personal action plan together with your job seeker advisor
  • submit your activity report on time to Arbetsförmedlingen
  • visit or get in contact with Arbetsförmedlingen, or other companies that work together with Arbetsförmedlingen at the times you have agreed
  • look for work that Arbetsförmedlingen deem as suitable and which would be appropriate for you
  • look for other jobs that you think would be right for you.

It is also important that you do not extend the time you are unemployed by:

  • turning down a suitable job
  • behaving in a way that means that a job does not happen
  • turning down a labour market programme that you have received funding (aktivitetsstöd) for.

You may not cause your own unemployment by:

  • leaving your job without a valid reason
  • behaving in such a way that you get dismissed
  • leaving a labour market programme you have received funding (aktivitetsstöd) for.
  • behaving in such a manner that Arbetsförmedlingen decides to
  • cancel a labour market programme you have received funding (aktivitetsstöd) for.

Report any changes!

 Inform us about anything that might affect your benefits, for example if you begin to study or work.

Also inform Arbetsförmedlingen if you change address, email address or telephone number so that they always can reach you.

Do you want to work abroad?

If you have worked in another country in the EU/EEA or in Switzerland, or if you are considering working abroad, special rules apply.

Contact us if you want to know more.