Swedish word of the day: klämdag

Swedish word of the day: klämdag
Here's a nifty little feature of Swedish public holidays. Photo: Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Did you have the Friday following Ascension Day off? Congratulations, you perhaps work for a company that honours the old Swedish tradition of "klämdagar". Or you took it off your own annual holiday allowance – either way, we hope you enjoyed your day off.

Klämdag literally means “squeeze day” (klämma – to squeeze, and dag – day) and refers to the day that falls, or is squeezed, between a public holiday and a weekend.

In neighbouring Norway it’s also referred to as a squeeze day (inneklemt dag) while it’s a “bridge day” in Italy and Germany among others (ponte and Brückentag, respectively).

Sweden has several public holidays, often called “red days” or röda dagar. If these fall on a weekend, you don’t automatically get a corresponding weekday off, as is the case in the UK for example, so the exact number of days off changes each year.

This is why you will often hear Swedes talk about particular years being “a good year” for holidays, when the maximum number of holidays fall on a weekday and even better, fall on a Tuesday or a Thursday – thus allowing you to take a klämdag and give yourself a lovely four-day long weekend while using up only one day of leave.

On top of that, many workplaces – but not all, so do please check with your boss before clocking out early – allow you to take a halfday off the day before a public holiday.

Whether your workplace lets you take a klämdag without taking it off your annual allowance or not, Swedish holiday laws are generally very generous.

Employees have the right to take at least 25 days of holiday each year. Of those, 20 days (four working weeks, apart from in a few industries where this is slightly shorter, or if your employment contract says something else) can be taken consecutively during the summer months of June, July, and August, although this isn’t necessarily a must.

And not only do you get paid your normal salary during holiday, but you also get a small bonus or semesterlön, calculated as a percentage of your salary. This is usually paid out the month after holiday is taken, meaning that if you go away in June, you’ll receive an increased salary in July.

Examples

Do you have the day between the public holiday and the weekend off?

Är du ledig på klämdagen?

Ascension Day falls on a Thursday, so the following Friday is always a “squeeze day”

Kristi himmelfärdsdag faller på en torsdag, så följande fredag är alltid en klämdag


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.