Tillväxtverket

Skills Enhance­ment Initiatives

If you are an employer and are applying for financial support with short-time working, you have the possibility to apply at the same time for reimbursement for costs for skills enhancement initiatives. Employees who are receiving financial support with reduced working hours will have the possibility to increase their level of skills during the hours that are freed up. The company can freely choose a skills enhancement activity that corresponds to the needs of the employees and the employer.

Reimbursement for skills enhancement initiatives amounts to 60 percent of the employer’s costs incurred, however limited to a maximum of SEK 10,000 per employee for the period January 2021 to June 2021.

You can receive reimbursement for costs incurred with either internal or external skills enhancement initiatives, or both.

When are applications being accepted?

The application opens on 29 March 2021 and you can apply for reimbursement for skills enhancement initiatives at the same time as you apply for financial support with short-time working. Once the application period has opened up, you can apply for reimbursement dating back to 1 January 2021.

Terms and conditions for reimbursement

In order to be reimbursed for a skills enhancement initiative, the following preconditions must be fulfilled:

  • The employee must be on reduced working hours under the short-time work programme during the period of the skills enhancement activity.
  • The detailed terms and conditions for skills enhancement initiatives need to be governed in an agreement.

Why skills enhancement initiatives?

Skills enhancement initiatives can be an opportunity for companies not only to survive temporary and serious financial difficulties, but also a means to invest in skills that can strengthen the company in the short term and over the long term. For the individual, it can also be an opportunity to strengthen their position, both in the workplace and in the labour market in general.

What are skills enhancement initiatives?

A skills enhancement initiative refers to both skills-enhancing activities and validation of existing skills or knowledge.

Skills enhancing activities are efforts aimed at raising the level of knowledge and competence of the employee. These may include courses in an institution of higher education, higher vocational education, municipal adult education or folkhögskolan (institutions for adult education), and even in-service training for staff at the employer’s premises.

Validation of skills or expertise means to assess, evaluate, document and provide recognition of the knowledge and skills/expertise a person has acquired, doing so in a structured manner. Validation allows employers to make the skills and expertise that employees already have more visible and to build on them.

What are internal and external skills enhancement initiatives?

What is meant by an external skills enhancement initiative is the purchase of a service from an external training provider. These include, for example, activities within a specific subject or vocational/professional development activities, courses in an institution of higher education, higher vocational education, municipal adult education or folkhögskolan. The efforts can be both theoretical and practical.

What is meant by an internal skills enhancement activity is activities conducted by the employer itself or by companies in the same Group. In some cases, a skills enhancement activity can be both external and internal. For example, it can be an activity where part of the training is purchased from another company within the Group and the other part is purchased externally from a training company outside the Group.

What information should I state in the application?

When applying for reimbursement, you should provide the following information about the skills enhancement initiative:

  • type of skills enhancement initiative/activities (e.g. administration, language, IT, leadership or vocational-specific training),
  • training level (basic/introductory training, advanced training, specialist training or validation),
  • whether the activity is to be conducted internally, externally or both, and
  • the total cost of the skills enhancement activities.

It is not necessary to attach any documents or certificates at the time of application.

What do the different levels of training mean?

Basic/introductory training refers to basic level training and can, for example, be a new area of skills or expertise for the employee.

Advanced training refers to in-depth training within the existing area of expertise for the employee. For example, the activity contributes to the acquiring of specialised skills or a specific certification or licencing in the form of strategic certification.

Validation means assessing, placing a value on, documenting and recognising the knowledge and skills a person has acquired.

What can I recieve reimbursement for?

You can receive reimbursement for costs incurred with either internal or external skills enhancement initiatives, or both.

Examples of costs for external skills enhancement activities for which reimbursement can be received:

  • the purchase of services related to training or validation (for example when the employer purchases a specific training session or programme for one or more of its employees)
  • course fees (for example fees for a course where the employee is one of several participants who may be coming from different companies)
  • fee for the validation
  • course materials (including licences and anything similar) and other tools used solely for the skills enhancement initiative
  • tax-free reimbursement of costs the employee incurs in connection with the skills enhancement activity (per diem allowance)
  • travel expenses to and from the place where the skills enhancement activity takes place
  • cost for accommodations and related to enable the employee to participate in the skills enhancement activity
  • the rental of premises and facilities and tools, which are direct costs for the training.

Examples of costs for internal skills enhancement activities for which reimbursement can be received:

  • the purchase of a service related to skills enhancement sessions or programmes from companies within the same Group
  • fees for lecturers or the equivalent
  • tax-free reimbursement of costs the employee incurs in connection with the skills enhancement activity (per diem allowance)
  • travel expenses to and from the place where the skills enhancement activity takes place
  • cost for accommodations and related to enable the employee to participate in the skills enhancement activity
  • course materials and other tools used solely for the skills enhancement activity
  • rental costs for premises which the employer does not otherwise have access to.

What can I not recieve reinbursement for?

You cannot receive reimbursement for development costs or costs for training environments (e.g. investment costs, such as wireless presentation solutions, heating systems, sun protection, furniture, etc.), rent for an employer’s own premises or tools/equipment that can be reused in future training courses.

Salary costs for an employee who provides tutoring to another employee or similar activities are not encompassed within costs that may be reimbursed.

Can I apply for reimbursement for skills enhancement initiatives retroactively?

When the application opens up on 29 March 2021, at the same time you are applying for financial support under the short-time work programme, you can apply for reimbursement for costs for skills enhancement initiatives that have been conducted from 1 January 2021 onwards. You can also apply for reimbursement for skills enhancement initiatives when you make a reconciliation during the period 1-28 July 2021.

What agreement is needed for skills enhancement initiatives?

In order for the company to be eligible to be reimbursed for the costs of the skills enhancement initiative, there must be a written agreement stating the detailed preconditions for the skills enhancement initiative.

The more detailed preconditions for the skills enhancement initiatives are governed either in your central/local collective bargaining agreement or in a written agreement between the employer and the employees.

The following details are to be set out in the agreement:

  • that the employee will participate in the skills enhancement activity organised by the employer during the hours the employee is freed-up from work
  • the objective of the skills enhancement activity must be to raise the level of knowledge of the employee, or to validate the knowledge already obtained
  • what the skills enhancement activity is to consist of (a description of the initiative/activity and the name of training programme, course(s) or validation measures)
  • whether the skills enhancement activity is to be scheduled during paid hours the employee is freed-up from work or unpaid working hours.*
  • that the employer is responsible for the costs of the individual skills enhancement activity.

*Paid hours the employee is freed-up from work is the number of hours for which the employee receives pay from employment without any work being carried out. As an example: if the reduction in working hours is 20 percent and the reduction in pay is four percent, then 16 percent of the reduction in working hours is paid hours the employee is freed-up from work.

Unpaid working hours is the number of hours for which the employee does not receive pay from employment under the short-time work programme. For example, if the reduction in working hours is 20 percent and the reduction in pay is four percent then four percent of the reduction in working hours is unpaid working hours.

You can find a template for agreements for skills enhancement initiatives here (information in Swedish).

How do I report for my costs for an activity involving several employees?

You will need to specify the costs of the initiative/activities when applying. If you have several employees participating in the same activity and receive an invoice with a total amount, divide the total amount up so that it is clear what the cost for each employee is. You will also need to report other actual costs per employee; see the example below.

Example:

If three employees take a training course that costs SEK 9,000 – the course fee is to be distributed equally among the employees. If there are specific costs per employee, such as travel costs and/or accommodations, these are to be added.

Li

Course fee: SEK 3,000

Travel costs and accommodations: SEK 2,500

Total for Li: SEK 5,500

Pelle

Course fee: SEK 3,000

Travel costs and accommodations: SEK 5,000

Total for Pelle: SEK 8,000

Kim

Course fee: SEK 3,000

Total for Kim: SEK 3,000

How do I report my costs for an initiative that is both internal and external?

You will need to specify the costs of the initiative/activities when applying. If an employee participates in an activity that is both internal and external, summarise the total cost of the activity.

Example:

Simon participates in an activity where a part is carried out internally and you have costs for the purchase of services from another company within the Group as well as course materials amounting to SEK 3,000.

You also have costs for the external purchase of services for training for Simon in the amount of SEK 4,000.

You then state a total of SEK 7,000 for Simon.

Should I report the costs including or excluding VAT?

  • You will need to specify the costs of the initiative/activities when applying. If you have a business activity subject to VAT, you report the costs excluding VAT.
  • If you have a business activity that is not subject to VAT, VAT is an expense, and in such case you report the total amount including VAT.
  • If you have a business that is both actively subject to VAT and not subject to VAT (a so-called mixed business), you must choose "not subject to VAT" (momsfri verksamhet) in the application.

What documentation do I need to submit when submitting the reconciliation?

If Tillväxtverket, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, requests documentation, you will need to submit:

  • supporting documents verifying the skills enhancement initiative conducted for each respective employee during the period financial support is being received (e.g. certificate of attendance)
  • supporting documents in the form of extracts for the bookkeeping entries and paid costs for the skills enhancement initiative as a whole.

Some examples

Example 1:

The company ABC, where Kalle is employed, identifies a need for a skills enhancement activity.

There is an agreement between the company ABC and Kalle that governs skills enhancement initiatives during the time Kalle has reduced working hours under the short-time work programme and according to the agreement Kalle is allowed to use the hours he is freed-up from work for skills enhancement activities.

Kalle, who has reduced working hours under the short-time work programme, is not allowed to purchase the skills enhancement activity himself but rather it is the company that does it. The company purchases the training (or makes plans to purchase it) and applies with the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth for reimbursement for Kalle’s training at the same time as the application for financial support under the short-time work programme is submitted. The costs for the training is a total of SEK 15,000. Kalle participates in the training activity during the hours he is freed-up from work and finishes with the training before the short-time work programme has concluded.

As the company fulfils all the preconditions for receiving reimbursement for skills enhancement initiatives, the company will receive SEK 9,000 from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth for the training activity. SEK 9,000 represents 60 percent of the total costs for Kalle’s training activity. The company is thus responsible for the remaining cost in the amount of SEK 6,000 for the training activity.

Example 2:

The company XYZ purchases a skills enhancement activity for Stina while she has reduced working hours under the short-time work programme. The costs for the training is SEK 25,000. The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth reimburses the employer in the amount of SEK 10,000, which constitutes the maximum limit for reimbursement for skills enhancement initiatives. The employer is thus responsible for the remaining cost in the amount of SEK 15,000.