SHARE
COPY LINK
PRESENTED BY AKADEMIKERNAS A-KASSA

Working in Sweden: five reasons to protect your income

Uncertainty is a fact of life even at the best of times and much of what we thought was certain or secure has proven to have shaky foundations over the past couple of years. Long-term unemployment in Sweden recently hit a record level of 190,000, while tens of millions of jobs have been lost worldwide due to the pandemic.

Working in Sweden: five reasons to protect your income
Photo: Getty Images

While unemployment insurance is compulsory in most of the EU and the UK, it’s partially voluntary in Sweden. To be entitled to the full income insurance benefits available in Sweden, you have to join an a-kassa, an unemployment fund that pays income-related insurance benefits.

Little wonder that Eva Nordmark, Sweden’s Minister for Employment, encouraged all workers in Sweden to join an a-kassa unemployment fund during the pandemic. The Local has partnered with Akademikernas a-kassa, Sweden’s biggest provider for university graduates, to give you five reasons why it still makes sense to take her advice, whatever the future brings.

Safeguard yourself against unforeseen events by joining Akademikernas a-kassa today

1. Flexibility

Sweden is well-known for providing a generous social safety net. But few expats arrive with much idea of how it all works in practice. A-kassa funds are a crucial part of the Swedish system, providing members with income-related unemployment benefits when needed. You’re eligible to join if you’re a university graduate and currently work – or have previously worked – in Sweden, the EU, EEA or Switzerland.

Akademikernas a-kassa, one of the biggest funds, is specifically for people who graduated from higher education. Your profession is irrelevant. If you have a bachelor’s degree and work in Sweden, the fund is for you. Nor does it matter if you change your line of work or set up your own business; you can stay with the fund for your whole career. If you are working and currently studying for a bachelor’s degree, you can also join now.

2. Affordability

It may be designed for people with above-average earning potential – but that doesn’t mean it’s expensive. The fee to join Akademikernas a-kassa is 130 kronor per month. Everyone pays the same rate because the fund has over 750,000 members and unemployment among them is low.

It is sometimes necessary to be in an a-kassa to get a loan, for instance for a mortgage from a bank, meaning you may get even more value for your money.


Photo: Getty Images

3. Generosity

As of January 2021, you need to have been a member for one year before you can claim compensation based on your income. You can receive up to 80 percent of your previous salary with a ceiling of 1,200 kronor per day before tax (up from 910 kronor per day before the pandemic) for the first 100 days. If you had an average monthly salary of at least 33,000 kronor in the last year, you qualify for the maximum. From day 101, the maximum compensation is 1,000 kronor before tax per day.

Benefits paid to qualifying members now begin from day one, rather than day seven, as they have in the past.

You can receive payment for five days a week over a period of 300 days – that’s around 14 months. If you are a parent with children under 18, the maximum period is 450 days. Everyone who qualifies receives income-related benefits without any means-testing. 

Get peace of mind and protect yourself and your loved ones with Akademikernas a-kassa

4. Covering the self-employed

Every economy needs its entrepreneurs. But in times of insecurity, the self-employed often feel they face extra burdens. This is no secret in forward-thinking Sweden; the self-employed have been entitled to join an a-kassa for almost 50 years.

As a member of Akademikernas a-kassa, if you start a business and it does not go as hoped your unemployment pay can be based on the income of your previous job (up to 24 months after leaving). 

5. Nobody knows the future

As we have seen over the last two years, the world – and our own personal circumstances – can change very quickly. There is every reason for individuals, as well as nations, to want to be prepared.

Looking further ahead, being a member of an a-kassa could offer you protection in all kinds of unexpected or unplanned situations. With Akademikernas a-kassa, you can even claim during time between jobs if you take things into your own hands some day and choose to switch careers. 

Take a step towards stability and security in uncertain times, by joining Akademikernas a-kassa

INTEGRATION

Have your say: How would YOU shape Berlin?

“Berlin enabled me to become the kind of person I want to be,” Canadian Mo Moubarak tells us.

Have your say: How would YOU shape Berlin?
Photo: Getty Images

 Produced by The Local’s Creative Studio in partnership with Berlin Partner for Business and Technology

Have your say: How would YOU shape Berlin?

Have your say: How would YOU shape Berlin?

“Berlin enabled me to become the kind of person I want to be,” says Canadian Mo Moubarak. It’s a sentiment that resonates with many international people who moved to the German capital to work in a vibrant atmosphere of innovation and progress.

From its thriving startup scene to its enviable cultural highlights, Berlin is one of the world’s most exciting cities – and, with the rare sense of freedom and opportunity it offers, the city continues to attract global talent during the pandemic.

Moubarak, one of the founders of the successful digital recruitment firm MoBerries, is effusive about the city he has made his home: “I came here as a 19-year-old with €3,000 in my pocket, and went on to run my own company. You know what makes this city incredible? Your word means everything – that’s what matters. Not your money.”

While living in Berlin is an unforgettable experience, that doesn’t mean it comes without its challenges for internationals, however. That’s why The Local has partnered with Berlin Partner for Business and Technology, the city’s public-private development partnership, to explore the experiences of three international people living and working in the German capital. 

From the level of English to digitalisation, we’re also inviting you to make your voice heard on how Berlin could become even more welcoming to new arrivals. 

Want to make Berlin an even better place for internationals? Take the 5-minute Talent Berlin Survey (one reader who completes it will win two years of free access to The Local Germany)

Photos: Getty Images

Hurdles and challenges

Problems securing accommodation, lack of clarity in regards to visas and long waiting times for appointments were some of the concerns voiced by Claire Waggoner, an American copywriter who moved to Berlin in 2019.

Although she loves life in the capital for its vibrancy and cultural heritage, she states: “Making the choice to move here was pretty much the only ‘easy’ thing about moving from the US to Germany. There were two major challenges: securing an apartment and getting the ‘letters of intent’ required for my freelancer’s visa.

“If I could have spoken with a government employee before my visa appointment, I would have been much more confident going into that initial appointment.”

Priyanka Nair, originally from India, came to Berlin in 2016 to study an MBA, before moving into HR. She says she faced similar challenges. 

“I could manage with the bureaucracy as I spoke German but wondered how those who couldn’t speak the language would manage,” she says. “Getting appointments with different agencies was difficult. I sat up late looking for appointments at government offices like the foreign or registration offices.

“Like for everyone, finding accommodation was the hardest part.”

Having said that, Priyanka is hugely enthusiastic about the city she now calls home and the opportunities to integrate by getting involved with group activities.

“Do you like Improv? There are meetups weekly. Want to stand up for a cause? There are various demonstrations you can participate in. Love sport? You can join any sports club or do a marathon. The point is, there is something for everyone here. You can be whoever you want.”

Create the Berlin you want to live and work in: take the Talent Berlin Survey (for every completed survey, Berlin Partner will plant a tree)

Share your views and experiences

The examples above are some of the hurdles that Berlin Partner – a partnership between the city government and local business – wants to learn more about. To reach out to the many internationals who have made the city their own, Berlin Partner has created the new Talent Berlin Survey.

The short, confidential survey gives you the chance to share your view of life in Berlin, so you can help shape and improve all the important aspects of the relocation and settling in process. It’s a unique opportunity to tell the state government how you think Berlin can become a more welcoming city for international newcomers like yourself.

“Berlin is the most international city in Germany, and it’s changing all the time,” says Burkhard Volbracht, Head of Unit Talent International at Berlin Partner. “From my experience, we’ve seen a lot of people come to Berlin in recent years – and the government thinks that they’re all settling in smoothly.

“We feel that this is the wrong picture. Some people do struggle and have problems, and they do need the right person to speak with, or the right door to open. What we at Berlin Partner want to identify are concrete points where we can be better – for example, language competencies or better digital services. We want to be able to roll out the red carpet, in a sense.

“We think that this is the first opportunity for those coming to Berlin to really tell us how they found moving to the city”.

Mo Moubarak
Claire Waggoner
Priyanka Nair

Shape Berlin’s future (in just five minutes!)

Have you moved to Berlin to work, or are you in the process of moving? Here’s your chance to help build the kind of city that suits both your career and lifestyle needs.

Spending five minutes to complete the survey will not only help build a friendlier, more inclusive German centre of innovation, but for every survey completed, Berlin Partner will plant a tree, contributing to sustainability efforts in the Berlin area.

The Local is also offering a two-year membership for one reader that completes the survey – that’s two years of insider insights, advice and explainers for life in Germany.

Want to help shape Berlin’s future in just 5 minutes? Take the Talent Berlin Survey. One lucky reader who completes the survey will receive two years of free access to The Local Germany

SHOW COMMENTS