Unemployment benefits in Sweden
Unemployment benefits in Sweden vary depending on how much you worked, what you earned and how long you have been a member of an unemployment insurance fund. Some people who are unemployed are entitled to 80 per cent of their previous salary – others are not entitled to any unemployment benefits at all.
Become a member of an unemployment insurance fund when you begin working
Everyone who works in Sweden has a right to insure their income by becoming a member of an unemployment insurance fund. This applies regardless of whether you are employed or if you are self-employed as a sole proprietor.
There are over 20 unemployment insurance funds in Sweden. Contact the unemployment insurance fund that best matches your profession or your education if you want to become a member. Membership costs about SEK 100-200 per month.
One of the requirements to receive benefits based on your previous salary is that you have been a member of an unemployment insurance fund for the past 12 months. In March-December 2020, there are temporary rules according to which you may be entitled to benefits based on your previous salary after a shorter period of membership. You receive benefits on the same terms regardless of which unemployment insurance fund you are a member of. All of the rules and benefit amounts are governed by Swedish law.
The main rule is that you should become a member of an unemployment insurance fund if you work in Sweden and pay social insurance contributions here. But in some situations, you can become a member even though you are working or have worked in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland. Contact the Swedish Social Insurance Agency if you are unsure whether you belong to the Swedish social insurance system or not.
Work enough hours per month
In order to be entitled to unemployment benefits, you must have worked enough hours. Right now, the minimum requirement in Sweden is
- at least 60 hours of work in six of the past 12 months
- or at least 40 hours per calendar month and 420 hours in total during a consecutive period of six months in the past 12 months.
In some cases, part of parental leave or military service may also be considered to meet qualification requirements. Contact your unemployment insurance fund to find out what applies.
Crediting work in Sweden
Under certain conditions, you can be credited for work from another country when you move within the EU/EEA or Switzerland.
Do you need a certificate showing that you have worked in Sweden? Contact the unemployment insurance fund you are a member of and ask for the certificate PD U1. If you were not a member of a Swedish unemployment insurance fund, contact the Alfa unemployment insurance fund to obtain the certificate. In some cases, your unemployment insurance fund can get the PD U1 information through EESSI – an electronic exchange system between institutions in different countries.
You most often need to submit certain supporting documents to obtain a PD U1 certificate.
Register with the Public Employment Service immediately when you become unemployed
If you become unemployed, it is important that you register with the Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) on your first day of unemployment. You can only apply for benefits from the unemployment insurance fund for days that you were registered as a job seeker with the Public Employment Service.
You must register with the Public Employment Service even if you have travelled to Sweden from another EU/EEA country or Switzerland to seek employment with a U2 certificate.
Apply for benefits from the unemployment insurance fund
Once you have registered with the Public Employment Service, you apply for benefits by contacting the unemployment insurance fund you are a member of. If you are not a member of an unemployment insurance fund, you can apply for basic benefits from the Alfa unemployment insurance fund.
Provide information digitally
If you have a Swedish electronic ID, you log into ‘My pages’ on the website of your unemployment insurance fund. There, you can see what information you need to provide to find out what benefits you are entitled to. Contact your unemployment insurance fund if you need help logging in.
Complete paper forms
If you do not have a Swedish electronic ID, you can send in information to the unemployment insurance fund using paper forms.
If you want to get credit for work in another EU country, you need a certificate PD U1. In some cases, your unemployment insurance fund can get the PD U1 information through EESSI – an electronic exchange system between institutions in different countries.
Contact the unemployment insurance fund you are a member of to find out what information they need to calculate your benefits. Normally, you need to submit certificates that show what you have done in the past 12 months – for example, worked, studied or been on sick leave.
The unemployment insurance fund calculates your benefits
Your unemployment insurance fund checks if you meet the requirements and works out what benefits you are entitled to according to current law. The benefit amount depends, among other things, on how much you worked, what you earned and how long you have been a member of the unemployment insurance fund. Contact the unemployment insurance fund that you are a member of to find out what applies in your case.
The income-based benefits are up to 80 per cent of your previous salary and a maximum of SEK 26,400 per month before tax. You can apply for these benefits if you
- are a member of an unemployment insurance fund and have been a member for the past 12 months
- worked enough hours in the past 12 months
- are unemployed, registered with the Public Employment Service and are available for employment.
Basic benefits are up to SEK 11,220 per months before tax and are based on how much you previously worked. You can apply for these benefits if you
- are not a member of an unemployment insurance fund or have been a member less than 12 months
- worked enough hours in the past 12 months
- are unemployed, registered with the Public Employment Service and are available for employment
- are 20 years of age or older.
If you are self-employed, you must also discontinue your business or close it down temporarily in order to be entitled to unemployment benefits.
How to appeal a decision
Do you think that your unemployment insurance fund has made a wrong decision in your case? Contact the unemployment insurance fund within two months from when you received the decision and request them to reconsider your application.
If you are dissatisfied with your unemployment insurance fund’s reconsideration decision, you can appeal it to the administrative court. Send your appeal to your unemployment insurance fund, which checks that it has been received within the time allowed and forwards the matter to the administrative court. The unemployment insurance fund’s decision after reconsideration should state what you must do if you want to appeal and the deadline when you must submit the appeal by.
Follow the rules – keep your benefits
Once you have been granted benefits from the unemployment insurance fund, there are also requirements for you to keep your benefits:
- Actively seek employment, participate in booked meetings and send activity reports to the Public Employment Service every month.
- Continue to pay the membership fee to your unemployment insurance fund every month.
- Fill in time sheets to your unemployment insurance fund every week so that they can pay out your benefits. You must send the time sheets within nine months of the week for which you are applying for benefits.
- Notify your unemployment insurance fund directly if you begin working, begin studying, are out sick, take parental leave or have other changes in circumstances that may affect your right to benefits. If you received too much money, you may be obligated to pay the surplus back. Deliberate fraud or gross negligence can also lead to a police report and lost membership.
- Accept the offer if you are offered a job. Your benefits from the unemployment insurance fund may be suspended for a certain number of days if you turn down a job or a place in a labour market policy programme. This also applies if you resign or if you close a profitable business.
Contact the funds if you have any questions
Do you have questions about the Swedish unemployment insurance, applying for unemployment benefits or becoming a member of an unemployment insurance fund? Contact the fund where you have a membership, or one that matches your field of work.
Links to legal texts
The Unemployment Insurance Act from 1997 (1997:238)
The Unemployment Insurance Ordinance from 1997 (1997:835)
The Unemployment Insurance Funds Act from 1997 (1997:239)
The Unemployment Insurance Funds Ordinance from 1997 (1997:836)
Ordinance on Compensation to Participants of Labour Market Policy Programmes from 2017 (2017:819)
Unemployment Insurance Board’s Regulations
This information is provided by the Swedish federation of unemployment insurance funds. Our task is to serve the interest of, and provide services to, Sweden’s unemployment insurance funds. This includes developing their IT systems, supporting them in interpreting the laws of the unemployment insurance and creating public opinion on important issues concerning the funds and their members.
Questions and correspondence regarding matters concerning unemployment insurance are referred to the unemployment insurance funds. It is the responsibility of The Swedish Unemployment Insurance Board (IAF) to ensure that insurance funds adhere to legislation.
Last updated 14/12/2020