We have fewer duties for a group of our co-workers, and as their manager, I have difficulties in finding enough for them to do. Can I order them to take vacation days?
Uppsala University cannot temporarily dismiss co-workers.
Investigate whether there are other temporary duties within the person’s employment framework.
Are there any other departments/equivalent that need work done? It is possible to place the co-worker temporarily at a department/equivalent within the frame for work obligation following information to the unions. Check with other heads of departments/equivalent.
Members of staff need to be at home to look after their children because the preschool/school is closed. Do they have a right to be on leave and, if so, do they have a right to be paid?
The municipalities are obliged to maintain school and childcare services. If, temporarily, no alternatives are offered, the usual rules on right to leave and right to compensation apply. This means there has to a legal basis for leave. A right to go on leave may exist, in the first place, by virtue of the Parental Leave Act.
Admittedly, employers are only obliged to grant three periods of parental leave per calendar year, but there is nothing to prevent them being more generous. Employers can also grant annual leave under the Annual Leave Act or leave under Section 8 and Section 10b of the Leave of Absence Ordinance.
As regards leave under the Parental Leave Act and compensation from Försäkringskassan (the Swedish Social Insurance Agency), an employee has a right to be on full-time leave with or without parental benefits under Section 5 of the Act, on part-time leave with parental benefits under Section 6 of the Act or on part-time leave without parental benefits under Section 7 of the Act. If you have days of parental benefits left, you can therefore take out those days of leave. Section 8 of the Act entitles a parent to be on leave to care for a child with temporary parental benefit if the child is sick or contagious, or if the child’s regular carer is sick. This also applies if there is a definite suspicion that the child is spreading an infection.
This assessment can be made by a doctor or nurse, for example. If annual leave is granted, you have the right to holiday pay. If leave is granted under the Leave of Absence Ordinance, you do not receive any pay.
In this special situation, can we make an exception to the employee’s right to a main annual leave, in other words, four weeks of continuous leave in June, July and August?
The employee has a right to a main annual leave unless otherwise agreed with a local employee organisation (local collective agreement). Before the employer decides on the scheduling of the main annual leave, the employer is required to call negotiations under Sections 11 and 13 of the Employment (Co-Determination in the Workplace) Act. At these negotiations, the parties can agree on a local collective agreement of this kind.
If there are special reasons, as mentioned in Section 12 of the Annual Leave Act, the employer can unilaterally decide to schedule annual leave at some other time. Special reasons could include that it would jeopardise security at the workplace if the employee took annual leave or if the employee being on leave could have an impact on important public interests. Depending on how the situation develops, the provision on special reasons could be applicable. However, at present the assessment of the Swedish Agency for Government Employers is that employers should schedule annual leave as directed in the Annual Leave Act or local collective agreements, as far as possible.
We are concerned that because of the pandemic, we will be unable to schedule all the annual leave due to employees during this year, and the employee cannot save more leave. Can we invoke special grounds under Chapter 5, Section 12 of the General Agreements on Pay and Benefits?
The employer should preferably try to schedule annual leave in accordance with the Annual Leave Act or try to enter into local collective agreements on alternative scheduling. Only failing that should recourse be had to the provision on special grounds under Chapter 5, Section 12 of the General Agreements on Pay and Benefits.
Notification on the scheduling of the main annual leave must be given at least two months before the start of the employee’s leave. What is the situation if this is impossible?
If there are special reasons under Section 11, paragraph 2 of the Annual Leave Act, notification may be given at a later time, if possible at least one month before the start of the employee’s leave. The situation that has arisen must not be due to inadequate planning. The question of whether special reasons exist has to be assessed on a case by case basis, in light of the impact of the pandemic on activities.
Can an employer revoke approved leave if the employer turns out to need the employee to perform certain vital business functions during a period when many employees are absent from work because of sickness?
Decisions on approved leave are binding. This means that the employer, in the absence of good reason for doing so, cannot unilaterally revoke such a decision without being liable for damages (Swedish Labour Court 1983, no 123, and 2017, no 33).
An employer who unilaterally revokes leave that has already been approved is therefore generally liable to pay general damages and financial damages for costs that the employee has incurred as a result of having to interrupt their leave, for example, costs of return travel or costs of cancelling a trip for them and their family. However, if events occur that the employer could not have foreseen and had no reason to expect, there is no obligation to pay general damages. The revocation of leave must therefore not be due to bad planning.
In a situation in which a large number of employees suddenly become sick and activities cannot continue without employees interrupting their leave, the Swedish Agency for Government Employers considers there is good reason to revoke leave that has already been granted. However, this issue should of course be resolved voluntarily as far as possible.