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'Sweden only EU nation to allow age discrimination'

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13:05 CET+01:00
Swedish collective bargaining agreements that give more holidays to older employees may be in breach of EU age discrimination laws.

Susanne Fransson, a researcher from the National Institute for Working Life, claims that many contracts currently in use would not pass muster if tried in the labour courts.

"We have had six years to implement an EU directive forbidding age discrimination.

"Those six years ran out last Saturday, meaning that Sweden is now the only country in the EU that does not have legislation forbidding age discrimination," Fransson told The Local.

But Dan Holke, legal expert for union confederation LO-TCO, claims that the EU permits unequal conditions if there is sufficient cause. And old people need longer holidays, he says.

Fransson however considers that this explanation would not be accepted by the European Court of Justice. Nor is she aware of any studies suggesting that people over the age of 40 need more time to recover than, for example, parents with young children.

The Annual Leave Act currently gives all full-time employees 25 days off work. It is then up to the employer and collective bargaining agreements to negotiate any further holidays.

"Collective agreements in the public sector currently stipulate that employees should have 28 days until the age of 29. This is increased to 31 days until the age of 30 and finally 35 days from the age of 40 onwards," said Fransson.

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