Employment Contract - Special Fixed-Term Employment
An employment contract is an agreement between an employer and employee that sets out the terms that apply to the employment, including their rights, their duties, their responsibilities and potential liabilities.
What is an Employment Contract?
An employment contract is an agreement between an employer and employee that sets out the terms that apply to the employment, including their rights, their duties, their responsibilities and potential liabilities. Even though an agreement which is not in writing is valid, it is usually very difficult to prove verbal agreements. If there are any unclear terms relating to the employment, the burden is on the employer to prove what has been agreed. The employee is seen as the weaker party, and therefore tends to be protected by the Employment Protection Act in Sweden. The law presumes that the employment is full-time and indefinite unless it can be proven otherwise.
When should you use an Employment Contract?
From 29th of June 2022 there are detailed requirements of what an employer must inform the employee - you should use PocketLaw’s template to ensure you are compliant.
Usually, an employer will want to include additional terms beyond what the law says must be included, which is why an employment contract is normally used. This template employment contract incorporates (and goes beyond) what is required to be included, and it provides a number of additional protections for the employer.
As the employment is for a fixed and limited period of time, we assume that the employment contract will be used for a junior or mid-level employee (full time or part time) i.e. who is not a permanent member of staff. This means that their contract ends automatically on a certain date without the need for notice to be given. For more senior staff, you should consider using the Employment Contract - Indefinite Term (PocketLaw Standard) or the Employment Contract - Indefinite term, which contains additional clauses that provide enhanced protection for the company. Please note that this new form of agreement should be used for any agreement entered into after 1 October 2022. The previous form called general fixed-term employment contract can no longer be used after 1 October 2022.
Why is an Employment Contract important and why should you use an Employment Contract?
Having a written employment contract is important because:
The employer has complied with their legal obligation to provide details of the employment to the employee.
There is no uncertainty or dispute about what terms have been agreed. Without a written employment contract in place, it is far more likely that there will be a dispute between the employer and employee either during the employment or after the employment ends about what the employer and employer agreed i.e. what terms and conditions applied, particularly where verbal discussions have taken place over a period of time. Just because there is no written employment contract doesn’t mean there is no employment contract - employment law means that a contract still exists, it is just not written down. Having a written agreement that clearly explains the parties’ rights, obligations and responsibilities reduces confusion, avoids ambiguity or uncertainty and gives everyone clarity and peace of mind. An employment contract is not seen as a contract between two equal parties in Sweden. The employee is always seen as the weaker party and therefore tends to be protected by the law. This means, if there is any doubt, the court would often rule in favor of the employee.
Unless otherwise agreed, the Employment Protection Act assumes that the employment is permanent and full-time. If the employee is hired on a part time and/or fixed term basis, it is particularly important that you have an employment contract that reflects the role.
The employer is adequately protected. For example, the contract contains obligations on the employee to keep information that they obtain during their employment confidential, and it enables the employer to terminate the employment by making a payment in lieu of notice rather than having the employee working their notice period.
It encourages good relationships between the employer and employee. It puts a new employee at ease and gives them confidence in their employer. This is especially important in early-stage startups, where there may already be some uncertainty and where the structures and processes seen in larger companies may not be present.
The employer and employee should sign the employment contract before the employment begins.
What are the common pitfalls of an Employment Contract?
Not having a written employment contract
Whilst there is no legal requirement for an employee to have a written contract of employment, as explained above, having a written employment contract in place avoids uncertainty and disputes, and protects the employer.
Using the wrong contract
It is important to use the accurate/right form of contract: e.g. indefinite, substitute, fixed-term contracts etc - so that the form of the contract is clear. If there are any ambiguities or unclarities in this area, there is a risk of the employment being deemed as an indefinite role (instead of a fixed term role).
This is a basic contract that is suitable for a junior member of staff (i.e. someone without managerial or executive responsibilities), who is employed on a fixed term basis, i.e. who is not a permanent member of staff, and is deliberately short and simple in style. For more senior staff, you should consider using the Employment Contract - Indefinite Term (PocketLaw Standard) or the Employment Contract - Indefinite term, which contains additional clauses that provide enhanced protection for the company.
Including the wrong information in the contract
Start date: As an employer you are obliged to pay an employee’s salary accrued on a daily basis. You could therefore end up paying more if the start date is incorrect.
Work Hours and salary: It is a common mistake to specify, for example, 50% part-time in relation to working hours but then set out 100% salary instead of 50%. The employee can claim that they thought that the full time salary in the contract is applicable to their working hours.
Using an out of date contract
Employment law in Sweden has had substantial changes recently. For example, as of 29 June 2022, the Employment Protection Act now requires employers to obtain certain information from employees. Using a PocketLaw template ensures that an employer remains legally compliant when changes to the law happen.
Updating the contract during the employment
A common misunderstanding is that you need to update an employment contract each time an employee changes work-tasks, roles etc - which is not required. If you would like to add more terms and provisions to an employment contract as a result of an employee being promoted, we would recommend that you do so by way of a new contract, given the substantial change in terms.
Losing the signed copy
Without a signed copy of the employment contract, there is no evidence of what the agreed terms and conditions of the employment are. Signed contracts can quickly and easily be saved on the PocketLaw platform so that they are securely stored.
Not having the other documents you need
As you will be processing your employees’ personal data, in addition to the employment contract, you should also provide employees with a privacy notice in accordance with GDPR. You should create this using PocketLaw to ensure you are compliant with the law.
Access all the templates you need with PocketLaw. Save time and reduce risk by leveraging our extensive library of 170+ templates, which are developed by qualified lawyers.
Ready to get started? Create all your employment contracts in minutes. PocketLaw offers a platform with legal documents, guidance and a clever contract management system, as well as personal legal advice. All legal you need to grow your business and drive it forward.