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Who is eligible for Swedish unemployment benefits?

TT/Becky Waterton
TT/Becky Waterton - [email protected]
Who is eligible for Swedish unemployment benefits?
You may be eligible for basic unemployment benefits even if you're not a member of an 'a-kassa'. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Unemployment is expected to rise in Sweden this year, but what are the rules for unemployment benefit if you lose your job in Sweden?

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If you become unemployed in Sweden through no fault of your own you may be eligible for unemployment benefits comprising up to 80 percent of your previous salary.

However, this benefit, known as a-kassa, short for arbetslöshetskassa, doesn't automatically apply if you lose your job. You have to fulfil some requirements first in order to be eligible.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know if you lose your job in Sweden

What are the requirements?

"You need to fulfil the basic requirement, which means that you're signed up to the unemployment agency and are available to work," Charlotte Hasselgren, department head of Sveriges a-kassor, told TT newswire.

You'll also need to fulfil a work requirement, meaning that you must have worked for at least six of the last 12 months, with at least 60 hours of work in each calendar month.

A working day in Sweden is typically 8 hours, so this means in practice that you need to have worked for at least 7.5 days a month for six months in the last year to qualify. It doesn't matter if these days are spread out across the month or in a single block.

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"There are a lot of exceptions," Hasselgren said, "but this is the general rule."

If you fulfil these requirements, you are entitled to the basic amount, known as grundbeloppet in Swedish, which is a benefit based on the amount you worked over the last six months. 

"If you've been a member of an a-kassa for 12 months, you're eligible for an income-based benefit," Hasselgren explained.

How much can you get?

The basic amount is 510 kronor per day, if you worked full-time for the last 12 months. If you worked less than that - full time for the last six months, for example - you will get a corresponding amount, in this case half of the basic amount: 255 per day.

As previously mentioned, the income-based benefit is as much as 80 percent of your previous salary, up to a maximum of 1,200 kronor per day for the first 100 days, after which you'll receive a maximum of 1,000 kronor per day.

There are a number of different a-kassor you can join depending on the sector you work in.

"If you work across multiple sectors you can choose an a-kassa where you fulfil the requirements," Hasselgren said. 

"There's also an a-kassa which doesn't cover any particular sector, Alfakassan."

What if you're not a member of an a-kassa?

If you lose your job and you are not a member of an a-kassa, or you haven't been a member for long enough to qualify for income-based benefits, you can apply to Alfakassan, who handle benefit payouts for a-kassa non-members.

"But you still need to fulfil the basic requirement and work requirement," Hasselgren said.

"There's a general assumption that you have to be a member of an a-kassa for a year to get a benefit, but you can still get a basic benefit," she explained. "You just need to apply for it at Alfakassan.

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