In a time when most news revolve around Covid-19, it is difficult to keep up with all other changes that could impact the business. In this article, we try to summarize some of the more important employment news of 2021-2022 currently announced, including e.g. changes in the employment protection rules and a new act on whistleblowing.
Implementation of EU Directives
Amendments to the Employment Protection Act
The EU Directive 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable working conditions is prepared to be implemented into Swedish law, which will lead to several amendments to the Employment Protection Act (Sw. lagen om anställningsskydd).
The amendments, which are suggested to enter into force in August 2022, will for example lead to additional requirements on which employment terms must be presented in writing. The additional information requirements include, for instance, information on (a) the procedure to be observed by the employer and the employee if either party wants to terminate the employment, (b) the frequency and method of payment of the salary, and (c) if applicable, the training entitlement provided by the employer.
In addition, parts of the Employment Protection Act will be applicable to employees in managerial positions, including managing directors. An employee in a managerial position will for example have the right to claim damages due to the employer’s breach of applicable parts of the Employment Protection Act. Also, the additional requirement on terms which must be stated in writing shall also apply to employees in managerial positions.
The amendments will also forbid employers to impose a general prohibition on parallel employments. The employer may only impose limited restrictions on such side activities and any such restrictions must be agreed upon with the employee. Thus, the employer may through such an agreement restrict the employee to take up parallel employment which (a) competes with the employer’s business in a way that may cause the employer damage or that is otherwise disloyal, (b) will hinder the employment, (c) may cause damage to the employer’s business in any other way, or (d) means that the employee’s actions are otherwise disloyal to the employer. This regulation will also be applicable to employees in managerial positions.
The Whistleblower Directive
Another EU directive which is on the agenda is the EU Directive 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law. The Directive is prepared to be implemented into Swedish law through the adoption of a new act which will replace the existing Swedish Whistleblowing Act.
If a business has more than a certain number of employees (see below), the employer is obliged to establish internal reporting channels and procedures for reporting and follow-up. There are no specific criteria for how the system should be designed, but it must be user friendly (clear, easy and accessible). The system should also be available for everyone who are active in the business and thus not only for employees. This means that suppliers, consultants and trainees should be able to use the system.
The act is suggested to enter into force in December 2021. The obligation to establish internal reporting channels is suggested to enter into force in December 2022 for businesses with 250 employees or more. However, if the business has 50 employees or more (but less than 250 employees), the obligation will enter into force in December 2023. Regardless of when the obligation enters into force, it is recommended for businesses concerned to start implementing a system which meet all demands of the new rules as soon as possible, in order to be compliant when the act enters into force.
Morris law has experience of and can recommend different Whistleblower software solutions compliant with the new legislation, suited for your particular business needs. If you want more information, feel free to contact us.
New employment protection legislation is being prepared
Right now, significant amendments to the Swedish employment protection legislation are being prepared. The parties on the labour market have agreed on major changes of central employment protection rules. If the amendments and changes would become legislation, we will most certainly have reason to come back to this topic. Listed below are some of the main areas of the proposed changes.
- The grounds on which a Swedish employer may terminate an employee will be amended and clarified.
- Additional exemptions to the so called “priority rules”, (Sw. turordningsreglerna, the rules on which an employee is to be terminated in case of redundancy) will be introduced. The employer will have further possibilities to make exceptions for employees from being terminated due to redundancy.
- The rules on fixed term employment will be subject to amendments. The period for which fixed term employments can be used will be shortened from the current 24 months to 12 months.
- The employee’s right to further development and competence will be strengthened.
- Decreasing an employee’s working hours will be subject to additional regulations.
Proposed amendments to existing legislation
Additional protection for trade secrets of a technical nature
Additional provisions on criminal liability for unlawful use of trade secrets are suggested to enter into force in July 2022. Through the provisions an employee may be subject for criminal liability when the employee has legal access to trade secrets but unlawfully uses such secrets. However, the additional provisions will not cover all kind of trade secrets, only trade secrets of a technical nature.
Amendments to the Discrimination Act
Amendments to the Discrimination Act are proposed and suggested to enter into force in July 2022. It is suggested that labour unions should have increased possibilities to act in case of breach of the Discrimination Act. Also, the Equality ombudsman (Sw. Diskrimineringsombudsmannen) is suggested to be empowered to issue compulsory regulations within the scope of the Discrimination Act. The amendments will increase the focus on businesses to take active measures under the Discrimination Act.
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