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Does special fixed-term employment apply to hourly staff?

“Special fixed-term employment does not concern us because we only employ staff by the hour” - this is something we hear frequently, but is it really true? In this article, we clarify the concepts of the different types of employment regulated by the Employment Protection Act (EPA) and what they mean. 

In the Swedish labour market, the EPA is applicable when an employment contract concludes and is in place to protect the employee in the Swedish labour market. The possibilities to deviate from the EPA are limited, no matter if there is a collective agreement in the workplace or not. There have been several changes to the EPA in 2022, for instance, a change in the type of employment known as special fixed-term employment.


Types of employment regulated by the Employment Protection Act:

Permanent employment 

Permanent employment is employment where the duration of it is not predetermined but continues indefinitely. Permanent employment can begin with what is known as a probationary period.


Fixed-term employment 

Fixed-term employment means that the employment is limited to a predetermined date. That includes types of employment such as: 

  • Temporary position
    Employing someone in a temporary position involves replacing another employee who is absent for some reason. The main rule is that a temporary position is linked to a specific employee that is absent from work. 


  • Special fixed-term employment
    Special fixed-term employment is fixed-term employment, a type of employment that an employer is essentially free to use. The employer does not have to give a reason why the employment is limited to a specific time. As of 1 October, this type of employment has replaced what was formerly known as “general fixed-term employment.” The change means that the qualification to switch to a permanent position has been adjusted in terms of both time and qualifying period. Special fixed-term employment now becomes permanent employment after 12 months, instead of after two years as was the case before.


  • Seasonal employment
    Seasonal employment is often limited to a specific season, such as working at ski resorts or berry picking.


So what does “employment on an hourly basis” mean?

It is a common misconception that employment on an hourly basis is regarded as a type of employment and that it is not regulated by the EPA. However, there is no such thing as “employment on an hourly basis.” With that said, an employee may be paid by the hour in a type of employment such as special fixed-term employment, for example, which is commonly the case. 

Therefore, the concept of “employment on an hourly basis” is not a type of employment, but a form of remuneration. In other words, people who are employed by the hour can still be covered by special fixed-term employment.  

The EPA regulates when and how frequently types of employment should be used and how an employment contract must be structured. 

At Azets, we are happy to help you review your current contracts to ensure they are compliant with current legislation. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to know more about what else we can offer, or if you have any more questions about the new EPA.