Within the meaning of the 1976 Co-Determination Act, a collective organization of employers formed for the purpose, in accordance with its internal rules, of protecting its members' interests in dealings with employees. The rules laid down in the Act also apply, as appropriate, to federations of such associations. In the private sector the overwhelmingly dominant employers' organization has long been SAF, i.e. the Swedish Employers' Federation (in April 2001 merged with the Federation of Swedish Industries to form the new Confederation of Swedish Enterprise), alongside a small number of autonomous associations such as the Banking Employers' Association (Bankernas Arbetsgivarorganisation) and the Newspaper Employers' Association (Tidningarnas Arbetsgivareförening).
The degree of organization among Swedish employers is high, and although many small employers do not belong to any association their employees represent only a very small proportion of the overall labour force. Furthermore, many non-organized employers apply the collective agreement for their respective industries (see application agreement).
In the local-government sector there are two associations: the Swedish Federation of Local Authorities (Svenska Kommunförbundet) and the Federation of Provincial Councils (Landstingsförbundet). The former consists of some 285 municipalities, the smallest local administrative unit, while the latter consists of some 25 regional bodies, most of them provincial councils, whose main responsibility is health care provision. Both of them also function as employers' associations, negotiating on behalf of their members and entering into agreements. Although in many cases these are not binding on their members in the same way as a collective agreement unless they are accepted as binding on an individual basis, such acceptance is the norm. In the state (i.e. central-government) sector the relevant employers' association is the Swedish Agency for Government Employers. This is, in principle, an autonomous body with respect to the government and enters into collective agreements which are binding on the state employers it represents. See also collective organization.)
Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.