For you as an employee

Who are considered relatives?

The law includes family members and close relatives such as spouse, registered partner, cohabitant, child, parents, siblings, parents-in-law, grandchildren, and grandparents. It is important to note that collective agreements may affect the definition of close relatives, so it is crucial to check what applies specifically in your workplace. While the law does not require employees to notify their absence in advance, it is good practice to inform the employer as soon as possible.

Are there any requirements for length of employment?

There is no requirement for length of employment to be covered by the law, which means that even newly hired employees have the right to leave. However, the law only grants the right to unpaid leave. This means that the employee is not entitled to pay during the leave, but may be entitled to paid leave if it is regulated through a collective agreement. The leave ceases when the presence with the family member is no longer absolutely necessary, which means that the employee is expected to return to work when the acute situation is over.


What happens in case of discrimination?

Employees who are discriminated against for requesting or taking leave under the law have the right to bring a legal action against the employer. This protection is important to ensure that employees are not discriminated against or treated unfairly because of their leave. In cases of serious illness, employees may also have the right to leave for caring for a seriously ill relative under the Act on Leave for Care of Close Relatives (1988:1465). To be eligible for this right, the illness must pose a significant threat to the life of the ill person and the employee must receive care allowance from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan). The employee must notify the employer of the leave as soon as possible.


Is there a right to longer leave for caring for relatives in other cases?

In addition to the right to leave specified in the law on urgent family reasons or for care of close relatives, employees do not have an automatic right to longer leave for other personal matters. Employees may request leave for other reasons, but the employer is not obliged to grant it. It is therefore important for the employee to obtain approval from the employer before taking leave if possible to avoid unauthorized absence. Unauthorized absence can have serious consequences for the employee, such as termination of employment.


For employers

The law on the right to leave for urgent family reasons is mainly mandatory for the benefit of the employee. What is considered urgent family reasons is assessed on a case-by-case basis, and the law does not specifically mention what constitutes such a situation. However, as a general rule, the employee's immediate presence with the relative must be absolutely necessary.


How many days can employees take leave?

The proposal states that it concerns a smaller number of working days per year. When the basis for the leave no longer exists, the employee is obliged to return to work. Through a collective agreement, the right to leave can be determined for a specific number of days per year or per occasion. This means that employers and employees can agree on specific limitations through a collective agreement, which can be beneficial for managing workload and planning within the company.

Will the employee's job security and benefits be affected by the leave?
Employment form or length of employment is irrelevant to the right to leave for urgent family reasons. Employees cannot be terminated or dismissed for using their right to leave. Employees may be reassigned during the leave, but this must be done within the framework of the employment agreement and be a necessary consequence of the leave.

It is therefore prohibited for employers to discriminate against an employee who requests leave under the law. This includes all forms of discrimination and retaliation, including deterioration of employment benefits, terms of employment, or reassignments within the company. Employees who are subjected to retaliation have the right to report the employer and may receive compensation if the employer has acted in violation of the provisions of the law.

By following these rules and guidelines, both employees and employers can ensure that the right to leave for urgent family reasons is handled in a fair and legal manner.

In summary

  • All employees have the right to unpaid leave for urgent family reasons, regardless of employment type or length of employment. The employee must return to work when the leave grounds cease.
  • The collective agreement may specify additional rights, including the possibility of paid leave under certain circumstances.
  • Family members usually include spouse, partner, cohabitant, children, parents, siblings, parents-in-law, grandchildren, and grandparents. Collective agreements may affect this.
  • In the event of a life-threatening illness of a family member, you can also request leave for family caregiving according to the Act (1988:1465) on leave for family caregiving.
  • Employees who are disadvantaged because they have requested or taken leave can take action against the employer. Disadvantaging employees on leave may result in compensation.

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