Tillväxtverket

Short-Time Work Allowance 

Short-time working means that employers can reduce their employees’ working hours and receive financial support from the central government to compensate for a significant part of the costs for retaining the employee.

The short-time work allowance programme will remain in effect throughout 2020.

A brief summary of the most important information about this financial support can be found under the heading "Short-time work allowance - a brief summery” below. For more detailed information, see the questions and answers further down on this page.

Short-time work allowance - a brief summary

We have summarised here the most important things about short-time working.

  • The money can’t run out. The financial support is part of a government entitlement assistance programme. All employers fulfilling the eligibility requirements for the financial support will receive the assistance.
  • A short-time work allowance is financial support whereby the employer’s costs for personnel can be reduced by one-half at the same time as the employee receiving 90 percent of his or her regular salary/wages.
  • Short-time working can be implemented utilised when companies are faced with temporary financial challenges as a consequence of something unexpected happening. What this means in practice is that the company’s employees reduce their working hours for a period of time (unpaid leave or reduced pay layoff) at the same time as the State comes in and provides financial support in the form of a short-time work allowance.
  • The financial support is available to both legal entities and natural persons which/who conduct a business enterprise or similar activity. The owners/employers are encompassed within the programme, and this includes limited liability companies, partnerships, charitable/non-profit associations and foundations.
  • Instituting a short-time working plan within a company support in a central/local collective bargaining agreement or with its own agreement.
  • The financial support does not encompass newly hired employees, but rather only those employees who were employed by the company for three months prior to obtaining Tillväxtverket´s, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth’s, approval to receive support.
  • An owner of a company employed by their own company, as well as employees belonging to the family of the owner, can also be included in the programme.
  • As a first step, the employer must first have taken those measures available to reduce the cost of labour, for example by laying off non-permanent personnel who are not considered to be -critical to the operations of the company.
  • Employers may reduce their employees’ working hours by 20%, 40% or 60%.
  • 80 percent reduction in working hours, can be applied for for the months May, June and July of 2020. 
  • The salary ceiling for the financial support is SEK 44,000 per month.
  • An employer may receive the financial support for a period of six calendar months, with the possibility of an extension for an additional three calendar months.
  • The employer pays the applicable reduced amount of the salary to the employee. The financial support is paid to the employer, not to the employee.
  • What the financial support reimburses the employer is for hours worked. Absences due to illness, parental leave, care of an ill child and annual leave or other time off are regarded as absences and thus will be included in the provisional calculation of the financial support.
  • The short-time work allowance is intended to support the costs the employer incurs for reduced working hours. Employers have a liability for repayment if employees work more hours than the financial support relates to.
  • The maximum amount the financial support may be is SEK 26,030 per person/per month. This is the amount if the regular base salary is SEK 44,000 or more and the reduction in working hours is 60%.
  • The financial support can cover the period starting from 16 March 2020. It will be possible to submit an application for financial support until the end of 2020.

How are the costs for a reduction in pay due to reduced working hours apportioned ?

Exemple: The employer’s costs for personnel can be reduced by one-half at the same time as the employee receiving 90 percent of his or her regular salary/wages.

How are the costs for a reduction in pay due to reduced working hours apportioned in 2020?

How can I enter into such an agreement?

Instituting a short-time working plan within a company support in a central/local collective bargaining agreement or with its own agreement.

How can I enter into such an agreement?

What are the steps to complete the application process?

The application consists of a few simple steps.

What are the steps required to complete the application process?

Support

Telephone support for issues related to the short-term work allowance: 08-681 92 98.

Telephone hours: Weekdays 08:00 - 16:00 (closed lunchtime 12:00 - 13:00)

Prior to contacting Support, please check to see if your question has already been answered under the heading below: “Questions and answers about the short-time work allowance.”

PLEASE NOTE! The Support service via the telephone can not respond to technical questions related to the e-service Min ansökan.

For technical questions, e-mail support is available. Read more about this and other practical information about the application on the website pages in Swedish ”Ansök om stöd för korttidsarbete”.

Link to the page Ansök om stöd för korttidsarbete

Questions and answers about the short-time work allowance

NOTE! Additional information can be found on the Swedish webpage on the short time work allowance. New Questions and Answers added will be posted in English as soon as possible, although some delay is inevitable.

Swedish webpage on the short-time work allowance

About the short-time work allowance

What does short-time working mean?

Short-time working means an employee’s hours are cut, i.e. where a reduction in regular working hours occurs due to a partial release from work, such as unpaid leave, is introduced for a limited period of time as allowed for under a central collective bargaining agreement (or - in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement - on the basis of an agreement with the impacted employees under certain preconditions). The wages received will therefore be slightly lower than the regular wages the employees have been receiving.

Short-time work is work where the working time is shorter than the regular working time, where partial work release is introduced with the support of a collective agreement

The State support means that the employer’s personnel costs can be reduced by one-half at the same time as the employee will receive 90 percent of his or her wages. The temporary increase in the State's share of the costs over the course of 2020 makes the system more favourable to both employees and employers.

Why is the short-time working allowance being introduced now?

The objective is for companies impacted by an external unforeseen crisis such as the outbreak of COVID-19 to have the financial means to be able to retain their personnel and to be able to gear up quickly again when the situation turns around.

Might it occur that your funding for the short-time work allowance will run out, where our company will not be able to access this and take advantage of this programme?

The scenario you mention cannot occur; there is no overall limit to the funds. The financial support for short-time working an entitlement support for those companies that fulfil the criteria in the regulations to receive the support, and funds will be available to finance all requests approved.

Who is eligible to apply

Who can apply for compensation under the short-time work allowance programme?

Companies that can show temporary and serious financial difficulties in coping with the challenges that have arisen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus the difficulties must have been caused by a relationship outside of the employer’s control and specifically negatively impacting the company’s business operations.

All employers, with the exception of certain governmental entities, may receive support in the event of short-time work if the requirements for the support are fulfilled.

What does it mean that an employer who is in bankruptcy/insolvent is ineligible to receive the support?

A fundamental precondition for being eligible to apply for support for the short-time work allowance is that at the time of filing the application the employer is not in bankruptcy/insolvent, nor subject to an obligation to prepare a Balance Sheet for liquidation purposes, nor undergoing restructuring.

Being in bankruptcy/insolvent means that the company is incapable of paying its debts and that this ability is not merely temporary.

A Balance Sheet for liquidation purposes must be prepared when there is reason to assume that the company’s equity is less than half of its registered share capital.

Which employers can take advantage of the short-time work support?

The support applies both to employers who are legal entities or natural persons, and conduct a business enterprise.

However, the support does not apply to:

  • The central government, county councils, municipalities and local government associations,
  • limited liability companies, partnerships, associations and foundations over which the central government, a county council, municipality or association of local authorities has controlling influence (ownership), unless the activities relate to commercial business activities

Are sole traders / gig workers able to obtain the financial support?

The legislation for short-time working allows for financial support to be provided to companies with employees. Therefore, we are unable to provide support to self-employed persons/gig workers who conduct their business in the form of a sole trader.

See additional information under the heading "Which employees are encompassed within the short-time work allowance?"

Can staffing agencies receive support under this programme?

Staffing agencies are encompassed within the possibility of applying for support from 16 March to 31 December 2020.

What are the rules concerning distribution of dividends for companies applying for financial support under the short-time working programme?

When examining the applications for financial support, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth takes any distribution of dividends into account. The assessment will be carried out for each distinct individual employer (recipient of the financial support). The recipient of the financial support is obligated to provide sufficient evidence in support of its entitlement to the financial support.

The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth’s principle assessment of the rules is that employers should not be making any distributions of dividends during any part of the financial year in which the company receives a short-time working allowance, with the exception of dividends disbursed prior to 16 March 2020.

Any disbursement of dividends made up until 16 March 2020 will not influence the right to the financial support. A disbursement of dividends is deemed to have been implemented on the date the disbursement is made. In certain instances, the underlying decision made by the Annual General Meeting concerning dividends may affect an entitlement to the financial support. For example, a company can not be regarded as being in serious financial difficulties if the AGM makes a decision during a period when the company is receiving financial support in the form of a short-time working allowance to distribute dividends, even if the actual distribution of dividends is planned to take place at a later date.

What are the rules concerning Group contributions for companies applying for financial support under the short-time working programme?

Tillväxtverket, The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, takes Group contributions into account when examining the applications for financial support.

The assessment will be carried out for each distinct individual employer (recipient of the financial support). The recipient of the financial support is obligated to provide sufficient evidence in support of its entitlement to the financial support.

Tillväxtverket’s principle assessment of the rules is that employers should not be making Group contributions in respect of the financial year in which the company receives a short-time working allowance.

Group contributions for the financial year 2019 will not affect the possibility of receiving this financial support. The same applies to companies with financial years not corresponding to the calendar year, if they end prior to 16 March 2020.

Is it only Swedish employers who are eligible to receive this financial support?

The financial support is only available to companies/organisations registered in Sweden and for those of their employees it pays an employer social insurance contribution for in Sweden.

Concerning a transfer of business activities prior to 16 March 2020 where the employees will transfer over to a new company, what applies in this case?

According to the legislation, a company must have been registered as an employer for the last three months in order to apply for financial support.

In the situation where the transfer of a company, business activities, or a part of a company’s business activities, from one employer to another, where the rights and obligations arising from the employment contracts and employment relationships in effect at the time of the transfer are transferred over to the new employer, both the new and the former employers may also be regarded as an employer who may be entitled to financial support under the short-time working allowance. For example, this may apply when a franchisee takes over a business operation with a newly formed company, a transfer of assets and liabilities, or a similar situation.

The applicant must provide a statement, in the application, concerning the manner in which this has occurred. The statement must include an explanation of why in their assessment, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth is able to make a reasonable assessment that the employer is eligible to receive the financial support. The statement must also include information on other facts and circumstances, such as which company has been transferred to the other, which employees this concerns, and include a copy of the transfer agreement. The transfer of business activities must have taken place prior to 16 March 2020.

About introducing short-time working

What are the requirements to be eligible for the short-time work allowance?

• The possibility for short-time working must exist within their central and local collective bargaining agreement.

• In the event the company is not encompassed within a collective bargaining agreement, at least 70 percent of the employees in the operating unit must consent to and participate in the short-time working. The reduction in working hours and wages that has been agreed upon must be the same for all participating employees within the operating unit.

• The employer must have made use of other available measures to reduce its labour costs. Such measures may involve making changes to the scheduling of work shifts plus the use of other measures to reduce labour costs, such as the dismissal of staff who are not employed as permanent employees and who are not regarded as being critical to the business operations, for instance consultants, leased personnel, or temp staff. Thus in the assessment, the employer must take the role and position of the employee in the company into consideration. Even consultants and leased personnel may be critical to the operations of the business activities and there is no general requirement to lay off consultants or leased personnel. The assessment may be made on a case-by-case basis taking the particular circumstances of the employer concerned into consideration.

• Companies that at the time of the application are under the obligation to prepare a Balance Sheet for liquidation purposes, undergoing restructuring, or are in bankruptcy/insolvent are ineligible to receive the support.

There are three fixed levels of reduction in working hours: 20%, 40% or 60%, which means reduced costs of 19%, 36% and 53% respectively for the employer in the three different cases. It is only in the case of a reduction of working hours within these levels that the short-time work allowance will be available.

You can find a table for the apportionment of the costs under the heading "How are the costs for a reduction in pay due to reduced working hours apportioned in 2020?"

Who decides on the introduction of short-time working, and who decides when to end the short-time working?

The employer makes decisions concerning both the introduction and withdrawal of short-time working. The circumstances at this occasion should be clarified in the local collective bargaining agreement, or alternatively an agreement with 70 percent of the employees in the situation where a there is no collective bargaining agreement.

Is participation voluntary for employees?

Partly. The collective bargaining agreement governs if this applies. Otherwise, an approval and consent is required in an agreement with the respective employees.

How can I enter into such an agreement?

You can inform the trade union and call for a co-determination in the workplace negotiation and then reach an agreement with the trade union concerning short-time working, provided that there is a provision in your central collective bargaining agreement concerning short-time working. Contact your employer’s organisation for more info about this!

Employers whose employees are not working under a collective bargaining agreement must instead sign an agreement for short-time working with at least 70 percent of the employees at the operating unit. The agreements can only be entered into when the employees have been temporarily laid off or otherwise paid less due to reduced working hours. Such an agreement must state which employees it encompasses and the fixed percentage the working hours are to be reduced by (according to applicable levels).

The agreement may be entered into so that it will apply retroactively.

Tillväxtverket, The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, has prepared a suggested agreement template. However this is only available in Swedish.

Draft agreement template in Swedish - under the heading "Avtal med arbetstagarna”

To fill out the form, first download it to your computer. Then open it in Adobe Acrobat and fill in the information.

Adobe Reader can be downloaded for free from here .external link, opens in new window

It is also possible to download the Adobe Reader app from Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store.

What does it mean that is possible to establish an agreement for short-time working with retroactive effect?

This means that what is agreed upon applies from a specified date, even if that date was prior to when the agreement was signed.

Can personnel who have been given notice of termination or actually laid off be included in the agreement for short-time working?

Pursuant to the ordinary legislation, financial support can only be obtained for personnel who have been given notice of termination, however during the exemption period 2020, this is also possible for also for personnel whose employment has been terminated. Personnel who have been given notice of termination and personnel laid off should be included in the agreement on the same terms and conditions as other employees.

If all of the employees do not fall within one single central collective bargaining agreement, is the employer required to have multiple agreements?

No, this is not necessary. In practice, the collective bargaining agreement applies to all employees. It does not matter if some of the employees are not a member of a trade union or if they belong to different union with which the employer does not have a collective bargaining agreement with.

What should one as an employee of one’s own aktiebolag (limited liability company) do with the agreement to be signed between employer and employee? Normally, a person cannot sign a contract with themself?

The provisions state that if there is no collective bargaining agreement there must be an agreement with at least 70% of the employees. However, the rules have not been clarified in regards to the case of companies where the owner constitutes a part or all of the personnel of the company; but rather that all companies must be able to show that there is an agreement with the employees and so far no exceptions exist.

Is it possible to have different percentages of short-time working for different groups or individual employees?

The rules vary, depending upon whether one is encompassed within a collective bargaining agreement in effect or not.

If there is a central collective bargaining agreement in effect, the application of short-time working and which employees are to be covered by it is governed in a local agreement. Which employees are encompassed within the financial support and the extent to which working hours and wages are reduced is governed by this local agreement.

Therefore it may be different between different groups of employees.

In the event the company is not encompassed within a collective bargaining agreement, at least 70 percent of the employees in the operating unit must consent to and participate in the short-time working. The reduction in working hours and wages that has been agreed upon must be the same for all participating employees within the operating unit.

Is it possible to change the scope after some time, or even return to normal working hours?

Yes, it is possible for the employer to change the scope of short-time work. This should be governed in a new local collective bargaining agreement (or an agreement with the participating 70 percent of the employees in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement). Similarly, it is possible to return to regular working hours. This will affect the degree of financial support received.

Is it possible for an employer to temporarily suspend receiving financial support for a period and return to full staffing?

Yes, it is perfectly okay to not make use of the financial support with the short-time working allowance or to go to a different percentage level for a period of time. The changes are not reported until the time of reconciliation.

It is important however that during the period you go up in staffing, this is done to regular working hours or to a new agreed percentage level.

When later on applying an agreement for short-time working and the financial support, it is important to keep in mind that only the employees who were employed in the comparison month will be encompassed within the short-time working allowance.

For how long can a company continue to receive the support?

An employer may receive the financial support for a period of six calendar months, with the possibility of an extension for an additional three calendar months. After this period, a waiting period of 24 calendar months from the date of the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth’s approval of the financial support will be required. In addition, the total time period the support is received may not exceed 24 calendar months over a period of 36 calendar months.

Who will be paying the salary to those who are on short-time working?

The employer pays the applicable reduced amount of the salary to the employee. The financial support from Tillväxtverket, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, is granted to the employer, not to the employee.

Can employees do whatever they want with the time they are released from working?

During the time the short-time work allowance is being received, the employees are obligated to be present at the workplace when the employer requests this. In general, they have unrestricted control over their time they are not working, unless stipulated otherwise in a local agreement, for example with regard to in-service training/skills development initiatives or secondary employment/side gigs.

Can the employer require the employee to work more hours than what was agreed upon in the agreement for short-time working?

Except for special circumstances, the employer may not require an employee to work more than the agreed number of hours per week. The short-time work allowance is intended to support the costs the employer incurs for reduced working hours.

If the employer makes use of the short-time work allowance system and allows employees to work more time than agreed, this may constitute a breach of the rules and the employer will then become liable for repayment. However, if an unforeseen incident or circumstance has arisen that requires additional work, the reduced working hours may be temporarily suspended for the particular individual(s) in question, which can be reported at the reconciliation.

How are the remaining working hours allocated?

The employer manages and distributes the work during the working hours. Employers and employees can come to an agreement concerning short-time working at one of the three fixed levels of reduction of working hours. The agreed levels do not need to be followed every month.

The reduction in working hours may be scheduled without restriction during the agreement period as long as the short-time working throughout the agreement period corresponds to the agreed level. It is also possible to reach an agreement via a collective bargaining agreement concerning how the reduced working hours are to be scheduled.

The provisions of the Swedish Working Hours Act (1982:673) concerning that the employer must inform the employee of changes in the regular scheduling of working hours remain in effect, unless one of the exceptions to the statute applies or is otherwise agreed to in a collective bargaining agreement.

What are the possibilities of organising skills development initiatives during the time released from working?

Tillväxtverket, The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, looks favourably upon skills development efforts during the time released from working, considering that from a long-term perspective the business sector’s supply of skills and expertise is crucial for growth.

The local parties have the possibility to reach an agreement that skills development will take place under the short-time work programme, for instance internal or external skills training or other in-service education, sitting next to a co-worker, or engaging in skills validation.

The fact that the employees participate in educational, training and other skills development efforts as agreed to between the local parties during the time released from working does not affect the financial support.

Is it possible for the employer to introduce short-time working and then dismiss the staff? Or on the other side of the coin, could the employer lay off staff and introduce short-time working for them?

Yes, according to the exception rules for 2020, it is fully possible to receive financial support even during the notice period for personnel who are laid off for whom short-time working has been introduced. In the same way, it is also possible to introduce short-time work in 2020 for employees that have already been laid-off. However, according to the ordinary rules, the financial support cannot be paid during the notice of termination period.

How do I proceed to introduce a 80% short-time working plan?

You can apply for a short-time work allowance up to 80% of the working hours for the months of May, June and July. Since the change in the law for the 80% level does not take effect until 1 June, you cannot apply for a 80% short-time work allowance prior to that date. However, companies can introduce 80% short-time working from 1 May and adjust the financial support retroactively.

If you are applying for a short-time work allowance prior to 1 June, you should apply at the currently applicable levels, i.e. 20%, 40% or 60%. From 1 May, you can introduce 80% short-time working but then the adjusting of the level of financial support is done after 1 June.

Companies that have already applied for and received a preliminary payment in advance that encompasses an allowance for May, June and July will be able to adjust the support retroactively after the amendment to the statute becomes effective with a reconciliation with Tillväxtverket, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. Therefore there is no need to do anything to adjust the level at present and all information about this will be provided by Tillväxtverket at the appropriate time.

Do I need to prepare a new contract for 80% short-time working?

Yes, the employer must always establish a new local agreement when changing the level of short-time working. If an agreement has already been entered into for 20%, 40%, or 60%, a new agreement must be prepared for the period covered by this (only May, June and July for 80%). The employer must be able to show this agreement at the time of reconciliation.

Can employers bring in extra outside staff and temps when regular staff have been given reduced working hours?

If the company experiences a change in circumstances that results in an increased need for manpower beyond what existed when it applied for financial support, the employer shall, to the extent feasible, utilise the employees participating in the short-time working arrangement. The employer has the possibility to plan and schedule the reduction in working hours without restriction during the agreement period, as long as the short-time working throughout the agreement period corresponds to the agreed level. Read further under “How are the remaining working hours allocated?”

If an unforeseen incident or circumstance has arisen that requires additional manpower, the reduced working hours may be temporarily suspended for the affected particular individual(s), which can be reported at the reconciliation. Bringing in extra outside staff when demand increases instead of allowing the regular employees participating in the short-time working arrangement to return to work can result in that the employer will be liable for repayment.

The employees must be able to resume work at short notice, no later than the following day, however specific rules can be governed in collective agreements; see more under “Can employees do whatever they want with the time they are released from working?”

Extra outside staff during the summer holidays

Employees have the right to take their annual leave days during the summer, as provided law. However, annual leave days are counted as absences from work as it relates to the short-time working allowance. Thus it is not possible to receive financial support for short-time working employees during their annual leave days.

During the annual leave season, first and foremost regular staff encompassed within the financial support for short-time work must be scheduled to cover for employees taking their annual leave days. It is permissible under the rules to adjust the working hours of the regular staff and have the financial support adjusted based on levels of 20%, 40%, 60% or 80% in the months of May, June and July.

If there is no possibility to replace a regular employee taking statutory annual leave days with another employee from of the company’s regular staff, “annual leave substitutes” may take the place of employees taking annual leave days. Annual leave substitutes are not encompassed within the short-time working programme.

How will our application be affected if we bring in trainees, apprentices or temporary employees?

In order to receive financial support in the short-time work programme, the employer must have used the measures available to reduce the cost of labour. Therefore the taking in of paid trainees and/or apprentices is not compatible with receiving financial support under the short-time work programme.

This also applies to staff employed temporarily such as summer employees and temps (see also "Can employers bring in extra staff and temps when regular staff have been given reduced working hours?" and "Can I hire additional employees after I have introduced the short-time working?).

Taking in students in unpaid internships, such as those included as part of an educational course/programme and where student aid is provided, is okay as long as they are not intended to replace the employees who are encompassed within short-time work arrangements.

Which costs is possible to receive the financial support for?

Which employees are encompassed within the short-time work allowance?

The financial support does not encompass newly hired employees, but rather only those employees who were employed by the company for three months prior to obtaining the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth’s approval to receive support. Only employees who then had the same or a higher percentage of full-time employment may be included.

The financial support applies to employees for whom the employer has been obligated to pay employer’s social insurance contributions during the month the support is received.

Previously, employees belonging to the employer’s immediate family were excluded from eligibility for the short-term work allowance. However, the family member exception from receiving financial support has been eliminated for the period from 16 March 2020 until 31 December 2020. Therefore it is possible to apply for financial support which relates to family members who are employed by the employer’s company.

Can personnel who have been given notice of termination or actually laid off be included in the agreement for short-time working?

During the 2020 exemption period, financial support can be provided both for employees who have been given notice that they will be laid off and employees who have actually been laid off. However, under ordinary legislation, financial support can only be obtained for employees who have been given notice but not yet laid off.

If you are applying for financial support both for employees who have been given notice that they will be laid off and employees who have actually been laid off, they must be included in the agreement on the same terms and conditions as other employees.

Can an owner of a company employed by their own company receive the financial support?

The legislation for short-time working allows for financial support to be provided to companies with employees whom they pay social insurance contributions for. Due to that a sole trader in an individual company/sole proprietorship is not “employed” in their business activities, as there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business entity, we cannot provide financial support to these individuals. This also applies to members of partnerships or limited partnerships.

If all other preconditions are fulfilled, your company can receive financial support for you as an owner, if you are an employee of the company. The financial support therefore requires a company form where you as an owner can be an employee of the company.

Is it possible to lay off personnel who are employed on a permanent basis, while other parts of the workforce are on unpaid leave or otherwise encompassed within the short-time working rules?

Yes, it is entirely possible. Ordinary seniority rules must be followed.

How are the costs for a reduction in pay due to reduced working hours apportioned in 2020?

This is how the costs for a reduction in pay and working hours are apportioned.‌

Level

Reduced working hours

Reduced wages

Employer

State

Reduced employer costs

1

20%

4%

1%

15%

-19%

2

40%

6%

4%

30%

-36%

3

60%

7.5%

7.5%

45%

-53%

4

80%

12%

8%

60%

-72%

PLEASE NOTE! Level 4, 80 percent reduction in working hours, can only be applied for for the months May, June and July of 2020. The level will be adjusted during the reconciliation.

Click here for an image that shows the apportionment of costs.opens in new window

Click here for an image that shows the percentage apportionment.opens in new window

The support is intended to correspond to 75% of the employer’s costs after the reduced working hours.

The basis of calculation is ordinary salary (or wage for hourly employees) excluding the employer’s social insurance contributions, however to still take the statutory employer’s social insurance contributions of 31.42% into account, the share of support will be 98.6%, i.e. 75% of 1.3142 = 98.565%

Examples of calculation of provisional support for one month:

In this case, the employer and employees have agreed that the staff should reduce their working hours by 60%.

  • Engineer Sara’s regular salary is SEK 60,000 per month, however the support calculation has a cap of SEK 44,000.
  • The preliminary support for Sara will be SEK 44,000 x 60% x individual working ratio x 98.6% = SEK 26,030.
  • Karl’s regular salary is SEK 30,000 per month.
  • The preliminary support for Karl will be SEK 30,000 x 60% x individual working ratio x 98.6% = SEK 17,748.

The individual working rate is 1.00 for a person who works full-time and there has been no absence due to illness nor parental leave during the month the financial support is received for.

For example, if a person has time off 2 days in a month consisting of 20 working days, the individual working ratio is (20 – 2) / 20 = 18 / 20 = 0.90, i.e. 90%.

Is there a ceiling on the maximum number of employees that an employer can receive support for?

No, there is no ceiling.

Can this financial support be combined with other types of support?

As a general rule, the financial support for short-time work does not affect the possibilities to obtain other types of support.

Will it be possible to combine reduced working hours with a reduction in employer social insurance contributions?

The temporary reduction in employer's social insurance contributions encompasses all employers. This means that companies that have received financial support from the central government for Nystartsjobb (new start jobs), a short-time work allowance, or other measures of financial support will also benefit from the reduction. This means that in some cases, companies may benefit from both the temporary reduction and the financial support from the government at the same time.

Is there a salary cap for the short-time work allowance?

The support is calculated based the employee’s regular base salary, up to a maximum of SEK 44,000 per month. This also applies to employees whose salary is more than SEK 44,000. Even when as it applies to the percentage reduction in salary, the support is calculated on a salary of a maximum of SEK 44,000 per month.

In addition, the amounts are not governed by law and therefore may be agreed up between the labour market parties.

Is an increase in salary (or wages) that became effective after the comparison month taken into regard here?

No. The regular base salary (or hourly wage) from the comparison month applies.

In situations where there is a central collective bargaining agreement encompassing the obligation after the comparison month to effectuate salary increases, these payments of increases in salary shall not affect the average reduction in salary pursuant to Section 13. The average salary reduction is based instead on the regular base salary, i.e. the salary prior to the salary increase. However, the employer may only use regular salary (i.e. excluding salary increases taking place after the comparison month) to calculate the amount of financial support.

What is the maximum amount of financial support possible to obtain per employee/per month?

The maximum amount financial support may be is SEK 26,030 per person/per month. This is the amount if the regular base salary is SEK 44,000 or more and the reduction in working hours is 60%.

Are the levels of financial support for short-time working affected by the announced reductions in social insurance contributions?

No, the financial support levels are not affected by these. Nor are they affected by the fact that certain groups have a lower employer’s social insurance contribution even with the current rules in effect.

What about employees who receive unemployment benefits or a recruitment incentive from Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish Public Employment Service?

Short-time working does not affect unemployment benefits or recruitment incentives received via Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish Public Employment Service. Unemployment benefits is not financial support to business enterprises, but rather financial support linked to an individual.

Tillväxtverket, The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, is aware that the combination of short-time working and employment support may result in a negative wage cost.

How are regular salaries calculated for those who receive, for example, a supplement for working unsocial working hours or a commission-based pay?

Ordinary salary is the regular cash payment that would have been disbursed to the employee during the month for the calculation of financial support if he or she had not participated in the short-time working arrangement.

Regular salary paid means such compensation and employment benefits that are normally included as a part of the person’s monthly salary and would be paid but for the employee’s participation in short-time working. It may occur, for example, that the employee receives normally payment for unsocial working hours (allowances for inconvenient working hours, or supplements for shift work), and to the extent that they would have in fact been earned during the relevant month. Commissions that are regularly paid every month are included.

In those situations where an average calculation of the salary/commissions (excluding benefits) is made in accordance with Section 4.2 in the same manner as the comparison month, the starting point is the date of Tillväxtverket´s, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth’s, decision (in accordance with Section 5(a)), which is a fixed date; in other words the average of unsocial working hours compensation and variable salary per hour worked received during the three-month period Tillväxtverket’s approval to receive the financial support.

Where the amount of the commissions is not shown in the collective bargaining agreement, the monthly commission is calculated as the lowest of the commissions received for the month preceding the comparison month, the comparison month, and the month following the comparison month.

Can this financial support also be received for fixed-term employees?

Yes, the financial support may apply to fixed-term employees if they have been employed during the comparative month and if the employer is assessed have fulfilled the basic requirements that exist for the support in general, for instance having taken measures to reduce personnel costs.

Is the sickness benefit qualifying income affected by the reduced salary?

No, during the short-time working, the sickness benefit qualifying income (SGI) is protected. However, the employee should inform Försäkringskassan, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, that they are participating in short-time working when applying for a social insurance benefit.

Is the pension affected by the reduced salary?

Yes, the pension is affected. However it is estimated that this will be marginal, due to that the short-time working is only for a brief period of time over the course of one’s working life.

Does the employer receive financial support for the period during the employee’s absence due to illness, parental leave, or annual leave?

Periods of absences due to illness, parental leave, care of an ill child and annual leave or other time off are regarded as absences, and thus will not be included in the provisional calculation of the financial support.”

Tillväxtverket, The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, has previously made the assessment that paid and earned annual leave is equated with being present at work, due to that annual leave pay is part of the compensation for work performed.

After the Swedish government announced a clarification of the rules, resulting in that it clearly should that state that when one is absent from work, for whatever the reason, the company is not eligible to receive financial support for that period, Tillväxtverket has chosen to adjust the Agency’s original position. The purpose of the adjustment is to harmonise the application of the legislation with the intention of the Riksdag. Consequently, all annual leave and other time off will be counted, for the purposes of calculating the provisional financial support, as an absence from work.

With the reconciliation, the company must report all absences, including annual leave and other time off. If the provisional financial support disbursed does not correspond to the actual period/hours worked for the period financial support is received, the surplus will be deducted from the future periods of financial support. No repayment of any excess amounts need to be made at the present time.

How is short-time working calculated, if an employee is on parental leave or part-time sick leave – for instance 25 percent?

If the employee is expected to work 75 percent (i.e. is on 25 percent parental leave or sick leave) during the months in which the financial support is to be received, the salary after deduction of parental leave or sick leave is to be specified in the application. The rate of being present at work is 100%. (See the example of the calculations below.)

Example: An employee who is on partial parental leave

Stina has a permanent employment at 100%. During the months the employer receives financial support under short-time working, Stina is scheduled to be on partial parental leave at 25 percent. Stina usually earns SEK 40,000 however during her parental leave will receive a salary equal to 75 percent, i.e. SEK 30,000 per month.

The short-time working allowance is then based on a salary 30,000 per month and a rate of being present at work of 100%. However, the working hours are calculated based on 75 percent and if Stina takes a partial layoff at level 3 (60 percent reduction in working hours), then Stina should be working a total of 30 percent of regular working hours.

Requests from an employee on parental leave to go up to the regular percentage of full-time employment before the voluntary unpaid leave of absence may be decided in dialogue with the employer. Parental leave allowance and sick leave benefits remain unchanged.

The example above also applies to employees on partial sick leave when the reduction of working hours begins. During the reduction of working hours, Försäkringskassan (the Swedish Social Insurance Agency) assesses the reduction in the work-capacity in relation to the extent of the work prior to the reduction of working hours and the employer then seeks a short-time compensation as described above. Previously, unfortunately it was incorrectly stated that the rate of being present at work will be adjusted. Any mistakes this has given rise to will be adjusted at the reconciliation.

Example: An employee going on partial sick leave after the employer has introduced short-time work

If on the other hand, the employee becomes ill during the reduction of hours during short-time working and is to work part-time, Försäkringskassan, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency assesses, the work-capacity based on the extent that he or she should have worked during the short-time work agreement. Financial support from Tillväxtverket, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, for short-time work will continue according to the original plan and will not need to be adjusted. If the number of hours worked changes during a partial sick leave (PTSL), it is important that the employee notifies Försäkringskassan.

In the case of full-time sick leave (FTSL), no financial support will be disbursed for short-time working and the support is corrected at the reconciliation.

How does VAB work during short-time work?

A temporary parental benefit for care of a sick child (VAB) is paid to a parent who needs to remain away from their job to care for a sick child. Receiving a temporary benefit for care of a sick child is regarded as being absent from work. If the parent is encompassed within a short-time work plan, the short-time work allowance is paid for the time that the parent would have worked during the short-time work plan.

Can the employer receive financial support, let’s say for 60%, but have the employee take a full 100% unpaid leave?

The legislation fully allows the employer to make a temporary layoff reducing the number of the employee’s working hours to zero. However the short-time work allowance is payable for a maximum of 60% of the working hours.

Can I hire additional employees after I have introduced the short-time working?

Employers shall, to the fullest extent feasible, staff the needs within the company with employees participating in the short-time work allowance programme.

On the other hand however, if there is a true need for a certain type of skill or expertise that none the employees whose work hours have been reduced have, for example due to that an individual with a business-critical expertise has quit, it can however be necessary to recruit and hire a new person. However, the new employee is not encompassed within the short-time work allowance programme.

Does the financial support for short-time working also apply to those only working part-time?

Yes. In such cases the reduction in working hours and salary paid is to be calculated on the basis of the extent of the part-time work (percentage of full-time) and the regular salary they would be paid for the part-time work.

What this means is that if an employee works part-time at 50 percent of full-time and receives a reduction in working hours of 60 percent, they will then be working 20 percent of a full-time job.

Are “red days” (national holidays) counted as absence from working?

The rate of being present is calculated based upon how the employee would normally have worked during the month.

If you have another position that requires that the employee works on red days, the rate of being present is calculated based on the expected working hours.

How does the financial support affect probationary employees?

The employer can also receive financial support for probationary employees, as long as the employer otherwise fulfils the requirements for receiving the support. One of the basic requirements is that employers must have made efforts to the extent possible to reduce their cost of labour.

Can employees who have changed their form of employment after the comparative month be encompassed within in the short-time work working?

A basic requirement to be able to apply for financial support for short-time working is that the employer has done what is reasonably feasible to reduce the cost of labour. If the employee with a new form of employment remains working for the company after these measures, with a lower or equal percentage of full-time employment compared to the comparison month, they can be encompassed within the programme providing financial support.

Can an employer receive financial support for an employee who has not been employed in the comparison month, however who subsequently has a period of employment of more than three months?

No, unfortunately this is not possible as the financial support is granted on the basis being employed during the comparison month. See the description under the heading “Definitions.”

I understand that an employer must sign an agreement based on the 70 percent rule – who is included in that calculation?

For employers who do not have a collective bargaining agreement, it is required that all employees who are to participate in the short-time working plan and who will be reducing their working hours must sign an agreement to do so. In order for you as an employer to receive financial support, at least 70% of the employees within an operating unit who fulfil the basic requirements* must be included in the short-time working plan.

The calculation of 70% of employees is to be made on the basis of all employees who fulfil the basic requirements* and who thus constitute the 100%. Employees who are or who have been temporarily absent from work are to also be included in the 100%, to the extent that they are to participate in the short-time working plan. The absence from work may be due to, for instance, sick leave, parental leave, care of an ill child or a general leave of absence.

* The basic requirements for employees are set out under the heading “Which employees are encompassed within the short-time work allowance?”

Practical questions

When can I apply for the financial support?

The first date the applications was accepted was 7 April 2020. However, the financial support can begin from 16 March 2020.

Support may be granted for a maximum of six consecutive months, with the possibility of applying for three additional months (within a statutory time limit).

What do I do to apply?

The application period opened on 7 Apri. You apply via tillvaxtverket.se. The process consists of several steps, such as submission, then approval, and then decision on preliminary financial support. The first month in the support period that the financial support is to be received must commence no later than 45 days after receiving the approval. Otherwise, the support will not be dispersed.

After preliminary financial support has been granted, the employer is obligated to make a reconciliation at regular intervals (in accordance with the provisions of the Act on Support Related to Short-Time Working) in order to establish the definitive amount of financial support.

How do I apply if we are multiple operating units within one company registration number?

The application for a short-time work allowance is based on the company registration number. Approval can be given to one individual employer in accordance with Section 5a. The approval is given per employer and applies to the entire company. An employer is a company that is identified by one individual company registration number.

An employer can have one or more operating units (see the question “What is an operating unit?”). Where an employer has several operating units, the application for approval and financial support for different operating units is to be collected together into one application. Multiple applications using the same company registration number risk a delay in the processing process arising.

How quickly will the request for financial support be able to be processed?

We will do our utmost to accomplish a speedy processing. However, presently we are unable to estimate how many applications will be received and hence the volume related to available resources. Therefore we cannot say right now what the exact time period for processing will be.

Does Tillväxtverket, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, accept digitally signed agreements between employers and employees?

Yes. However the employer will need to be able to verify the digital signature (meaning the signature of the specified person who has signed the document), at the request of Tillväxtverket.

What are the steps required to complete the application process?

The application consists of a few simple steps. These are briefly described here:

Your Information:

You will need to fill in the details here for the company you are seeking financial support for. You will need to specify:

  • Company registration number (or Org. registration number), (can be typed in or searched for via a search tool in the application).
  • Industry code (SNI code, can be searched for via a search tool in the application).
  • Bank details for disbursement of the financial support if you are granted this support.
  • Contact information.
  • Amount in kronor, time period, and the number of employees you are applying for financial support for. There will be a calculation tool to assist you in calculating the correct amount.
  • If you have fewer than 50 employees, you will need to attach the calculation you obtained from the calculation tool. If you have more than 50 employees, you can attach your own calculation data and documents.

Background Questions

You will need to answer some basic questions about your company and business activities along with the situation the company is presently in. The questions require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.

Review your application details

Now is the time to verify all of the information you entered before submitting your application. Keep in mind that it is very important that all information is correct. Take some time to verify all the information one more time; an incomplete application will result in a longer processing time.

Sign and submit

The application is signed with your bank ID. When you sign your application, you must also certify that you have the right to represent the applicant, that the information contained in the application is accurate and full and complete, that you are aware that false information will result in an obligation to repay the allowance plus a criminal offence punishable by law. You will also be informed that Tillväxtverket, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, verifies the information in the application against registries at Skatteverket (the Swedish Tax Agency), Bolagsverket (Swedish Companies Registration Office) and Kronofogdemyndigheten (Swedish Enforcement Authority).

More information

More information about the application can be found on the pages in Swedish ”Ansök om stöd för korttidsarbete”. The application itself is made in the "My application" e-service. All of the text in the e-service is in Swedish.

Link to the page ”Ansök om stöd för korttidsarbete”

Link to ”Min ansökan”.external link, opens in new window

We look forward to receiving your application.

How will the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth deal with suspected fraud?

The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth takes a particularly dim view at attempts to exploit the current crisis. Therefore, the Agency will be actively engaged in anti-fraud activities. If we become aware that someone is intentionally attempting to game the system for the purpose of obtaining taxpayer funds which the central government has now set aside to assist companies that find themselves in serious financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic, we will not hesitate to take legal action and report suspected criminal offences to the police. We are also working together with other governmental authorities to combat attempts to commit fraud and unlawfully obtain the short-term work allowance.

Note that the Agency’s anti-fraud activities concern deliberate attempts to commit a crime. In the event of an unintentional error or inaccuracy, it will of course be possible to correct this when noticed.

Our company/organisation requires that two persons must jointly sign, however via BankID the application can only be signed by one single person. How should we deal with this?

In order to comply with the requirement for joint signatures, a power of attorney that gives the applicant the right to sign the application for a short-time work allowance via BankID will be needed.

How is the money disbursed?

The money will be sent to the specified PlusGiro or BankGiro account.

Who is entitled to sign the application?

The individual who signs the application must be an authorised signatory or have the right to sign a contract for the organisation you are applying for financial support for. In certain situations, an authority to sign may be derived from a power of attorney or delegation of authority.

The party who has the right to sign a contract may differ between different organisations, therefore verify what applies in your organisation before signing the application.

Definitions

If a Group has several different subsidiary companies, will each unit/company be considered as separate?

Yes. In addition, it is also possible to regard the various operating units within a company as separate.

Is the short-term work allowance regarded as “state aid”?

No, it is not considered to be state aid due, to that the measure is not selective.

How do you define an “operating unit”?

An operating unit is delimited to one particular physical location. This may be the entirety, or part, of a company located within the same building or the same enclosed area/contiguous space. For example, it could be a factory, a retail shop, or a restaurant.

In order to define whether a workplace is its own operating unit, an assessment of the connections between the various workspaces needs to be made. There are three criteria to start out from:

1. Are the business activities organised in a cohesive manner?

2. Is the work carried out jointly?

3. Is the workplace organisationally independent?

It is not the size of the particular workplace, nor whether the workplace has an expanded administration, that determines whether a workplace is an operating unit: If there is no connection to another operating unit, a single employee can be regarded as being their own operating unit.

The interpretation of what is an operating unit is based on Section 22 of the Swedish Employment Protection Act (1982:80).

Each employer should make their own assessment of what constitutes an operating unit in its own organisation. The assessment should be documented.

What do you mean by “comparison month”?

If you are applying for financial support from a starting date that is between 16 March 2020 and 31 March 2020, your employees must have been employed both in March and three months prior, in other words from December. In this case, December becomes your comparison month.

If you submit an application in April and apply from a starting date in April or later, your employees must have been employed both in April and three months prior, in other words from January. In this case, January becomes your comparison month.

If the company has received an application for a short-time work allowance approved, the approval remains in effect for 6 months. Extensions/new applications for financial support are then based on the same comparison month as the original application.

Example:

  • Company A is receiving financial support in the form of a short-time work allowance from 16 March to 30 April. The comparison month becomes December 2019. The company now wants to apply for an extension/submit a new application for the months of May-July. Due to that it has already received approval for the financial support, the comparison month will be the same as before, i.e. December.
  • Company B has not applied for financial support in the form of a short-term work allowance but now intends to apply for May-July. Due to that it has not received an approval for financial support previously, the comparison month will be February.

Collected information relevant to you as an owner or manager of a company

Many of Sweden’s business enterprises severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Verksamt.se has gathered together information that may be of value for you to know as an owner or manager of a company.

Collected information at verksamt.seexternal link, opens in new window