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How to get 12 days off in Sweden at Christmas next year

The Local Sweden
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How to get 12 days off in Sweden at Christmas next year
Unfortunately for Santa, he may have to work next Christmas too. Photo: Carolina Romare/

By taking key days off in Sweden at Christmas next year you can get 12 days of holiday despite only using up three days of your annual allowance.


Let's break it down. 

Next year, Christmas Eve (which is when Sweden's main Christmas celebrations take place) falls on a Tuesday.

Christmas Eve is not officially a public holiday in Sweden, but it's treated the same as a weekend in most workplaces, so if you normally get public holidays off you will almost certainly have December 24th off as well. Obviously, you should check with your company if you're unsure. 

It is followed by Christmas Day and Boxing Day (or Annandag jul as it's known in Swedish), which are both public holidays.

This means that if you take the Monday and Friday off that week, you get a stretch of nine consecutive days off, counting from Saturday December 21st to Sunday December 29th – but you only have to take two days out of your annual holiday allowance. 

But wait, it doesn't stop there!

If you then look ahead to the following week and also take December 30th off, you'll get 12 days off in total. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are both public holidays in Sweden, so if you're a full-time office worker, it's unlikely you'll be asked to put in any hours on those days.


Can my employer force me to work at Christmas?

In short, yes.

It's up to the employer to decide when work takes place, so unless your contract states otherwise, they can make you work a Christmas shift.

Many offices close down completely over the holidays, but even workplaces that stay open (such as hospitals, shops, public transport and other essential services) usually prepare their Christmas rotas well in advance and try to allocate the days as fairly as possible.

There's probably more information in your contract, but in general employers are entitled to refuse holiday requests. Swedish law gives workers the right to have four consecutive weeks off at some point during June-August, but there's no law guaranteeing time off in the winter.

The exception is parental leave, which an employer can never refuse as long as you apply two months in advance and haven't already had three or more periods of parental leave that year.

If your workplace is covered by a collective bargaining agreement, it will include rules on Christmas shifts – for example the number of hours the employer is allowed to make you work on the public holidays (you may get shorter days) and any extra pay you're then entitled to.



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