Sweden: Government proposes clampdown on the abuse of temporary employment

The government is taking action against what it considers to be the overuse of temporary employment.

The Swedish Government is proposing stricter measures against the abuse of temporary employment (text in Swedish). The new regulation would ensure that a temporary post would become a permanent one when the accumulated time of employment reaches two years. The proposal has now been submitted for comment to a number of public authorities, courts, universities and social partner organisations. If it passes, the reform of the Employment Protection Act (1982:80) should come into force on 1 May 2016.

The issue of temporary employment in relation to the Employment Protection Act has been a source of conflict between trade unions and employers in Sweden for many years. The trade unions share the government's opinion that temporary employment is being used by the employers to a detrimental extent. In relation to the proposed reform, TCO stated that while the proposal was a step in the right direction, it is not nearly enough (in Swedish). A representative from the organisation argued that while temporary employment is often necessary, too many workers get stuck in temporary work arrangements.

TCO’s counterpart in this debate, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprises, published a report in May dealing with the issue of temporary employment (in Swedish). The authors argued that the flexibility that comes with the use of the temporary employment is crucial, especially in the retail industry and in the hotel and restaurant sector.


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