In a cyclically sensitive branch such as that in which architects work, termination due to redundancy is not unusual. What does redundancy mean and what happens if it affects you?
Here you will find the answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding the subject. If you have more questions or if you want advice you are very welcome to contact our association lawyers.
What is redundancy?
Redundancy is a collective name for different situations where personal circumstances are not the basis for the termination. Employers must however show that there is just cause for termination due to lack of work. Redundancy is a broad concept that encompasses economic and organizational changes in a company, and it is the employer who determines whether redundancy applies.
What happens if you are terminated on grounds of redundancy?
Redundancy is the most common reason for termination. Before you are terminated the employer is, as a rule, obliged to contact your union representative at your place of work (trade union) or Architects Sweden for negotiation. Termination must, in accordance with MBL, Medbestämmandelagen (Co-Determination in the Workplace) not be implemented until after the conclusion of the negotiation. You also have, according to LAS, Lagen om anställningsskydd (the Employment Protection Act), the right to written notification of termination which must be delivered personally and comply with certain formalities.
What is notice?
In connection with termination one often hears the term notice. There is no notice requirement to employees or the relevant trade union organizations in connection with termination due to redundancy. The obligation that exists is to notify Arbetsförmedlingen (the Employment Office) of a reduction in activity, provided that at least five employees are affected by the terminations.
What is the obligation to negotiate?
In accordance with MBL, Medbestämmandelagen (Co-Determination in the Workplace), the employer has an obligation to negotiate before decisions on important changes. If Architects Sweden have a collective agreement with the employer, then the employer is obliged to negotiate with the local representative (trade union at the company) or with Architects Sweden, before possible terminations are implemented. If an employer has no collective agreement, the employer concerned, if they are members of Architects Sweden, is obliged to negotiate with Architects Sweden in the question concerning termination on the grounds of redundancy.
Before termination takes place, the employer must also look into whether there are any other vacant positions in which to relocate redundant employees. If there are no vacant positions, then the employer must follow LAS’, Lagen om anställningsskydd (the Employment Protection Act) regulations on the sequence of termination. The foremost principle is summarized by the well-known phrase ”last in first out”. The employee must always possess the appropriate qualifications for the position. Prior to determining the sequence, employers with a maximum of ten employees, have the right to exempt two employees who, according to the assessment of the employer, are of particular importance for the continuation of operations.
When negotiations are concluded – negotiations can be concluded in agreement or disagreement – the employer may implement the termination, that is to say, deliver the notice of termination. The notice of termination must comply with certain formalities, including that the notice of termination be in writing and delivered personally to the person concerned.
How much notice do I get?
The decision on the length of notice period to which you are entitled, is regulated in LAS, Lagen om anställningsskydd (the Employment Protection Act), collective agreement and the individual employment contract.
Below you will see the length of notice period, when the employer terminates the employee on grounds of redundancy, in accordance with LAS and for those who work for private architect firms who have, or follow, a collective agreement.
Total length of employment Notice period:
- 2 years, 1 month
- 2 – 4 years, 2 months
- 4 – 6 years, 3 months
- 6 – 8 years, 4 months
- 8 – 10 years, 5 months
- 10 years ,6 months
N.B. If you work for a private architectural firm that has a collective agreement, you are 55 years old and have had continuous employment with the firm for a minimum of ten years, then you have a twelve-month period of notice of redundancy. For those of you employed in the public sector, different notice periods apply.
What applies during the notice period?
During the notice period you have of course the right to keep your salary and other employment benefits. You also have the obligation to work throughout the notice period. You have however the right to reasonable payed leave in order to visit Arbetsförmedlingen (the Employment Office) or in some other way seek work. Though you must apply for this leave.
Holidays during notice period
You are always entitled to take your holiday leave during the notice period if it has already been applied for and granted. If on the other hand the holiday has not been arranged, you may not take your holiday during the notice period if the employer is not in agreement. During notice periods not exceeding six months, the employer may not impose holidays if you are not in agreement.
What do you yourself need to do when the notice period has begun?
- When you get notice of termination, notify your claim for preferential right of re-employment. Note that your preferential right does not apply before you have notified your employer of your claim, do it in writing!
- If there is a collective agreement – make a notification to TRR, Trygghetsrådet (employment security foundation) together with the employer.
- Go to Arbetsförmedlingen (the Employment Office) and register there as an employment seeker.
- Make sure you get a Certification of Employment with references.
- Discuss with your employer whether you may take copies of projects that you have been involved in, to put into your portfolio.
- Discuss with your employer how you might complete current projects, handover and what you can say to potential clients, all in order to achieve as good a closure as possible.
- Collect a Work Certificate from Arbetsförmedlingen (the Employment Office) or print one out from AEA, Akademikernas a-kassa (unemployment insurance for professionals) and make sure your employer completes it when you leave. You must have a Work Certificate in order to get unemployment benefit from A-kassan (the unemployment insurance scheme) if you have not obtained a job before the notice period is finished. The employer is required by law to complete the form.
Am I entitled to unemployment benefit?
If you are a member of A-kassa (the unemployment insurance scheme), you may apply for benefit based on your previous salary. If you are not a member, you may still have the right to benefit but then at a lower rate.
In order to get unemployment benefit based on your average salary, you must fulfill three conditions:
- You must comply with the conditions of work, that is, have worked a minimum of six months, 80 hours per month.
- You must be a member of A-kassa, and have been so for at least twelve months.
- You must be unemployed and registered at Arbetsförmedlingen (the Employment Office).
If these thee conditions are met you can receive up to 910 kronor per day for the first 100 compensation days, 760 kronor a day thereafter.
As a member of Architects Sweden you may have the right to income insurance. The income insurance complements unemployment benefits above the ceiling set by A-kassan (the unemployment insurance scheme). Here you can read more about income insurance and the conditions for obtaining compensation.