EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Sweden: Obligation to consider alternatives to collective dismissals

Sweden
Phase: Management
Type:
Obligation to consider alternatives to collective dismissals
Last modified: 21 July, 2021
Native name:

Lag (1982:80) om Anställningsskydd

English name:

Employment Protection Act (1982:80)

Article

7, 22

Description

For a termination due to redundancy to be justly caused, the employer is obliged to investigate the possibility of internal redeployment to vacant positions within the company.

If any vacant position exists, the employer must offer it to the employee if this is reasonable. If there are no possibilities of redeployment to vacant positions, the order of priority for the redundancies is based on seniority, i.e. a last-in-first-out principle.

The employer is also obliged to inform the concerned trade unions. However, there is no specific obligation to consult on the alternatives to dismissals. 

Comments

A recent conflict has highlighted the difficulties in determining what constitutes a dismissal and what constitutes a redeployment. In 2015, employees at a supermarket in Örebro were given new employment contracts with fewer weekly working hours. The workers felt pressured to sign the new contracts and the case eventually ended up in the labour court. According to the Commercial Employees' Union, the workers were in effect dismissed, and that the order of priority rules should have been complied with. But the employer argued that the workers were only redeployed, and that therefore no consideration to the order of priority rules had to be paid.

The labour court ruled in favour of the employer. The ruling has sparked a fierce debate as many unions feared that, as a result, employers would start 'redeploying' workers systematically in order to reduce their working hours. The Swedish Trade Union Confederation has proposed extending the order of priority rules to also include redeployments, a proposal to which the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise is firmly opposed.

Cost covered by
Not applicable
Involved actors other than national government
  • Trade union
Thresholds
No, applicable in all circumstances
Sources
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