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HR Legal

Balancing work and family

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Legal news
calendar 30 October 2022
globus Sweden

The Swedish Government has adopted new rules to implement the EU rules on work-life balance for parents and carers. Employees now have the right to ask for flexible work forms and companies have an obligation to answer these requests within a reasonable time. Companies will in some cases have to look at updating internal policies to comply with new rules as of 1 October 2022.

The purpose of the EU rules is to achieve equality between men and women with regard to labour market opportunities and treatment at work. This is obtained by having flexible work forms and rules to protect employees who wish to use such flexible work forms.

Some of the rules already apply under Swedish law but a few changes have been adopted where the last change came into force 1 October 2022. Changes have mainly been adopted into the Act on leave for informal care, the Act of parental leave, and the Act on the right to leave for urgent family reasons.

Right to ask for flexible work forms

Employees with children up to the age of eight and employees caring for a sick family member now have the right to ask for flexible work forms. Such flexible work forms could, for example, mean working from home, flexible working hours, or working part-time.

An employee making such a request must have been employed for at least 6 months prior to the request. If the request is granted, the employee has the right to return to the normal working pattern, after the period of irregular work pattern.

Employees do not have a right to flexible work forms, but the right to ask for flexibility. If the company denies an employee’s request, it must give a reason as to why the request was denied, if the employee asks. It is a condition that the request is answered within a reasonable time frame.

IUNO’s opinion

With the new rules, new protection against discrimination has also been adopted. A company is not allowed to disadvantage or victimize an employee for exercising their right to leave or their right to flexible working forms. Also, contracts that restrict an employee’s right to leave for caring for sick family members are now invalid.

IUNO recommends companies to keep in mind that the company has no obligation to grant this flexibility but to answer the request within a reasonable time. There is no legal requirement to give the answer in writing, but there are always advantages to giving these requests answers in writing.

[Draft bill prop. 2021/22:175 on the Balance Directive]

The purpose of the EU rules is to achieve equality between men and women with regard to labour market opportunities and treatment at work. This is obtained by having flexible work forms and rules to protect employees who wish to use such flexible work forms.

Some of the rules already apply under Swedish law but a few changes have been adopted where the last change came into force 1 October 2022. Changes have mainly been adopted into the Act on leave for informal care, the Act of parental leave, and the Act on the right to leave for urgent family reasons.

Right to ask for flexible work forms

Employees with children up to the age of eight and employees caring for a sick family member now have the right to ask for flexible work forms. Such flexible work forms could, for example, mean working from home, flexible working hours, or working part-time.

An employee making such a request must have been employed for at least 6 months prior to the request. If the request is granted, the employee has the right to return to the normal working pattern, after the period of irregular work pattern.

Employees do not have a right to flexible work forms, but the right to ask for flexibility. If the company denies an employee’s request, it must give a reason as to why the request was denied, if the employee asks. It is a condition that the request is answered within a reasonable time frame.

IUNO’s opinion

With the new rules, new protection against discrimination has also been adopted. A company is not allowed to disadvantage or victimize an employee for exercising their right to leave or their right to flexible working forms. Also, contracts that restrict an employee’s right to leave for caring for sick family members are now invalid.

IUNO recommends companies to keep in mind that the company has no obligation to grant this flexibility but to answer the request within a reasonable time. There is no legal requirement to give the answer in writing, but there are always advantages to giving these requests answers in writing.

[Draft bill prop. 2021/22:175 on the Balance Directive]

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Anders

Etgen Reitz

Partner

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Alexandra

Jensen

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Anders

Etgen Reitz

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