There’s a lot to keep track of when you move to a foreign country, and it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. Many expats in Sweden are unaware of their options for unemployment insurance – and all the benefits it offers.
The Swedish word for unemployment insurance fund is arbetslöshetskassa – simply called a-kassa for short. There are multiple a-kassa funds in Sweden, but the largest is Akademikernas a-kassa, an unemployment benefit fund specifically for workers with higher education.
Here are seven reasons why you should join today.
1. More bang for your buck
While everyone working in Sweden is eligible for unemployment insurance at a low, basic level, the compensation is limited.
But members of an unemployment fund like Akademikernas a-kassa can receive up to 80 percent of their previous salaries, making the transition between jobs a whole lot smoother.
2. It’s simply smart
Some people figure they don't need unemployment insurance, since they already have jobs.
But think about it like this: Do you get car insurance because you plan on crashing your car?
Probably not. But you still pay that monthly fee for the security it gives you, on the off-chance that something might happen. The choice to get unemployment insurance should be just as obvious.
3. It’s cheap
Unlike car insurance, membership in an unemployment fund is actually really cheap! Akademikernas a-kassa charges just 100 kronor each month. The fund is not-for-profit and there’s no reason for them to charge members a fortune. Think about it – that’s less than the cost of a single meal out in Stockholm!
4. For security
The security of an unemployment fund isn’t just in case you get fired. There are plenty of other scenarios where it could come in handy.
What if your company goes bankrupt? What if you meet someone, fall in love, and want to move to another city but don’t have a job there yet? What if you get a new boss at work whom you simply can’t tolerate?
With unemployment insurance, you don’t have to stick around. You have the freedom to change your mind while still receiving a different salary.
5. To try something new
Even if nothing goes wrong and you absolutely love your job, maybe you get tired after 10 years of doing the same thing. Or perhaps you have an itch to try out a new career, but you’re worried about making a living before your new pursuit takes off.
With the security of unemployment insurance, you can dare to try new things and move around the labour market. And if you plan on going back to school to learn a new trade, it's not a problem: Unemployment funds protect the salary you've had, and periods of unemployment due to studying don't affect the benefits you can get.
6. It’s independent
Some workers choose not to join unions due to political reasons. And politics can complicate things.
With Akademikernas a-kassa that's a non-issue. The fund is completely independent and its sole purpose is to distribute benefits to the unemployed. It's as simple as that!
7. One for all and all for one
You might never lose your job. But what if your neighbour or best friend does? Swedes are famous for their solidarity – taxes may be high, sure, but everyone benefits so everyone is willing to contribute.
At the moment just 1 percent of the members in Akademikernas a-kassa are unemployed – but they're supported by the other 99 percent, making the burden barely noticeable. And unemployment benefits from a fund are cheaper than state welfare from tax-payer money – so it’s a win-win for everyone.
This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Akademikernas a-kassa.