Thanks to The Swedish Part Model, (the collaboration between trade unions and employers’ organisations), anyone can enjoy the same benefits that are usually only available to the very richest in other countries.
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So really, 0.1% is a very small price to pay in the long run. Because in return you get a well-functioning labour market, a more enlightened surrounding and furthermore, a certificate you can print and casually put on your fridge as if it weren’t such an awesomely big deal that you just took a stand for the Swedish labour market.
The Swedish Part Model can be summarised in one word - collaboration. It involves unions and employers' organisations jointly agreeing on the best conditions in the labour market, without the government interfering in every decision. Those who are the closest to the issues, make the decisions for their respective labour market. And that makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Who else is better suited to discuss a particular labour market than those who actually work in it? That’s The Swedish Part Model. And ultimately, it leads to happy and creative people in the workplace, while providing opportunities for flexibility to employers. A real win-win, so to speak.
The Swedish Part Model has been declared dead many times. But it still lives on. Like never before. Mostly because of the models ability to deliver desired results. With the model as a foundation, it has been possible to combine rising living standards and improved life opportunities for the majority of the population, with ever-increasing efficiency and high profitability in business. Collective agreements have solved a lot of questions on the labour market for over a hundred years. With a system where the two partners themselves set the conditions on the labour market, it will continue to resolve issues in the future as well. We are extremely confident about that.
The collective agreement constitutes a large part of The Swedish Part Model. It is a result of the important negotiations that take place between unions and employers' organisations and can include agreements on salaries, employer pension, insurances, annual leave days and much more. The agreement is valid for a certain number of years and is in that period binding and covers all employees in a workplace whether you are a union member or not. During the period all industrial action is forbidden for the parties.
A calculated value of the collective agreement is rounded to $12 000 per year for employees in ordinary income positions that are members of the TCO unions. In that agreement you can, for example, find parental leave pay, overtime pay, health care contributions, pension, travel allowance and annual leave days. It's easy to take these things for granted, but they have actually been negotiated for. And with more members, the more power there is to continually make improvements.
In Sweden, all employees are entitled to vacation, thanks to the Annual Leave Act. The act includes five weeks of vacation per year, with the right to four weeks continuous leave during the summer period of June to August. Collective agreements in the workplace often provide even more leave. Two months before the start of your vacation, you should know which weeks you received, and once they are set, the employer may not withdraw or change them. The employer and local union representatives negotiates on exactly when during the summer period that the vacation days are levied.
An important thing most people don’t think much about is the pension - your future salary. And it can come from several places. For simplicity reasons, one can resemble it to a pyramid with three parts, where the national pension from the National Pension Authority sets the foundation. If you’re working at a workplace with a collective agreement, you can be sure that your employer pays money for the next building block - the employer pension. Exactly how much varies based on your salary, how long you work and where you work. The employer pension may constitute a very large part of the future pension, depending on what your career looked like. The last part consists of possible private pension savings that many Swedes choose to add. Together they form the total pension.
All parents in Sweden have the legal right to take time off to care for their child, without the risk of losing their job. To be able to be at home with their children instead of working, parents receive a parental benefit. Altogether, you get paid for 480 days per child, and these days can be taken out up until the child has completed the first year of primary school. However, not more than 96 days can be taken out after the child’s fourth birthday, according to the four year limit. The parental insurance also includes temporary parental benefits when the child is sick, plus the right to reduced working hours. Collective agreements do not govern parental insurance but often tends to be the ”icing on the cake”. For example, there are agreements that provide parental allowance paid by the employer to those on paternal leave. Typically, the employer tops up the parental benefit for a certain number of months, which reinforces the parental allowance from the Social Insurance Agency.
Health care benefits from the employer are not statutory in Sweden, but is something every employer can decide to offer their employees. The benefit includes various fitness activities outside of work, such as gym memberships or relaxing massages. If you have a health care allowance at your workplace it’s usually due to your local union who has pursued the issue, or that the benefit is regulated by a local collective agreement. If the local union in your workplace and the members believe that wellness is an important issue, they can use their right to influence at work, and often make a change. Exactly how much the allowance should cover is not regulated, but usually equals the cost of a gym membership in the region.
Here you can find your trade unions.
Here you can find your employers' organisations.
Idea – Arbetsgivareförbundet för ideella organisationer.
Kommunala Företagens Samorganisation (KFS)
ME – organisationen för landets företagare med anläggningsmaskiner
Svenska kyrkans arbetsgivarorganisation
Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting (SKL).
Sveriges Skorstensfejaremästares Riksförbund
Like a Swede is an initiative from TCO, a trade union confederation, in order to get Swedes to learn more about the unique model which distinguishes Sweden, and its neighbouring countries, from almost every other country in the world. The Swedish Part Model is a collaboration between trade unions and employers’ organisations.
Many look at the trade union as an insurance policy in the workplace. Meanwhile, most Swedes live with the belief that the state regulates our labour market. That’s why they are surprised when they hear otherwise. That it actually is the trade unions and employers’ organisations that negotiate the conditions on the labour market. The state has handed over the responsibility to these two parties, and it isn’t really that surprising. Who else are best suited to address the issues if not the ones that are the closest to them? That’s what we call The Swedish Part Model, and the results of the negotiations are the collective agreements. In the contracts you can find agreements on salaries, pension, insurances, annual leave days, parental leave and much more. Things that are easily taken for granted in Sweden. That’s why we created Like a Swede. A way to show how everyone with collective agreements in Sweden can enjoy the same benefits that are usually only available to the very richest in other countries.