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Sweden:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

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Overview Sweden


Sweden:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Sweden:Historical Development

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Sweden:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Sweden:Political and Economic Situation

Sweden:Organisation and Governance

Sweden:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Sweden:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Sweden:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Sweden:Organisation of Private Education

Sweden:National Qualifications Framework

Sweden:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Sweden:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Sweden:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Sweden:Funding in Education

Sweden:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Sweden:Higher Education Funding

Sweden:Adult Education and Training Funding

Sweden:Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:Organisation of Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Programmes for Pre-Primary Education

Sweden:Organisation of the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Assessment in the Pre-Primary Class

Sweden:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:Single Structure Education (Integrated Primary and Lower Secondary Education)

Sweden:Organisation of Single Structure Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Assessment in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Single Structure Education

Sweden:Upper Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Organisation of Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Upper General and Vocational Secondary Education

Sweden:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Sweden:Higher Education

Sweden:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Sweden:First Cycle Programmes


Sweden:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Sweden:Second Cycle Programmes

Sweden:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Sweden:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Sweden:Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Distribution of Responsibilities

Sweden:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Sweden:Main Providers

Sweden:Main Types of Provision

Sweden:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Sweden:Teachers and Education Staff

Sweden:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Management and Other Education Staff

Sweden:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Sweden:Management Staff for Higher Education

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Sweden:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Quality Assurance

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Sweden:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Educational Support and Guidance

Sweden:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Sweden:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Sweden:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Sweden:Mobility and Internationalisation

Sweden:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Mobility in Higher Education

Sweden:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Sweden:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Sweden:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Sweden:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Sweden:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Sweden:National Reforms in School Education

Sweden:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Sweden:National Reforms in Higher Education

Sweden:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Sweden:European Perspective




Planning Policy

The aim of the forward planning policy is to maintain balance between teacher supply and demand. The government sets goals for the number of students to pass teacher exams at different levels for the coming four year period. This is based on long-term projections and quantitative analyses as well as qualitative forecast analyses, general analyses for each level of education and for specific subjects. Projections of supply and demand of teachers are made annually for a fifteen years cycle.

Entry to the Profession

To be permanently appointed as a teacher in the national school system an applicant must have a university diploma in teaching, knowledge of the Swedish language as well as of the regulations applicable to the school system, in particular the regulations concerning the goals of education. The applicant should also have undergone either a teacher education programme in Sweden, which content focuses on the type of teaching the position involves, or equivalent training from another Nordic country or a country that is a member of EFTA or the EU. If the applicant has undergone a course in higher education other than those, the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) determines whether it fulfils the necessary conditions.

The recruitment procedure for teachers in preschool education, compulsory education and upper secondary education as well as for teachers at higher education institutions is completely open. The responsibility of the recruitment lies with the municipalities or the schools. The schools/municipalities are responsible for publishing posts, requesting applications and selecting candidates.

All offered employment in preschool, school and school age child care are checked against a register of persons convicted of sexual offences, crimes of violence or child pornography. This also covers teacher trainees, participants in adult education and other trainees in the area. This also goes for staff who work under circumstances similar to employment, for example, temporary staff from companies which supplies temporary staff, kitchen staff and cleaning personnel.


Since 2014 it is no longer mandatory to complete an induction year in order to obtain the teacher registration (lärarlegitimation), but it is the right of a newly qualified teacher to get an induction year with a mentor from the employer. The responsibility to provide an induction year with a mentor lies with the employer, i.e. the municipality or the organisation managing the grant-aided independent school. Only half of all newly qualified teachers get an induction year from their employer. This is what an induction year should include:

  • An induction period should be at least one academic year and may be implemented in one or more positions.
  • During the induction, the newly qualified teacher is entitled to a mentor who will provide support in the professional development. The mentor must be a registered teacher, have sufficient experience of working as a teacher or a preschool teacher, and as far as possible have the same training as the newly qualified teacher.
  • The induction period should offer support in using various teaching methods, to plan and carry out lessons, development plans for pupils, assessment and documentation. It is also important to develop the ability to lead, meet students and interact with others in the role of teacher.

Professional Status

Teachers at compulsory, upper secondary and preprimary schools are employed by a municipality or an independent organiser. Decisions on employment for individual staff are taken at school level.

School heads are employed on a permanent contract by the institution. Although they are not subject to individual evaluation, their general performance may be assessed as part of the overall responsibility of the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) to follow-up and evaluate early childhood education/care and school, and in the responsibility of the Swedish schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) to perform quality controls in schools.

Prior to 1991, teachers in the compulsory and upper secondary schools were employed by the municipalities, but the state negotiated with the teachers’ trade unions on salaries and working conditions. The responsibility as employers for teaching staff was divided between the state and the municipality. From the point of view of the municipalities, dual employer responsibility was a clear obstacle for the municipalities’ aim to introduce an integrated personnel policy and meant that neither the state nor municipalities took overall responsibility for the school and its activities. Teacher associations regarded state regulation as a guarantee that schools would be equivalent in all parts of the country.

The question was subject to a number of public investigations and in 1989 a proposal was put forward suggesting giving municipalities the overall responsibility for running schools. It is still the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges kommuner och landsting) that negotiates with teachers’ trade unions over working conditions. Salaries are negotiated locally and individually. Within the framework of the agreement on salaries, working hours and conditions of employment, schools also undertake to increase the fulfillment of the nationally set goals for education by i.a. local development work.

In addition to general labour legislation conditions, employment regulation procedures apply as well as the requirements for teaching qualifications, promotion, work content etc set out in the Education Act (Skollagen) (concerning school teachers) and in the Higher Education Act (Högskolelagen) and the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen) (concerning teaching staff at universities and university colleges).

The curriculum, which emphasises the role of the teacher as a mentor for pupils has stimulated the development of teamwork and increased co-operation within the school. The preschool has a long tradition of working in this way.

Replacement Measures

There are no specific regulations in this area; the school head is responsible for replacement for absent teachers. Usually the school head uses existing resources especially for shorter vacancies, and this is done depending on the individual situation, the length of the replacement etc. Teachers who have to work over time filling in for vacant colleagues are to be financially compensated. Additional workload is considered in the individual wage negotiations between the employee (represented by their trade union) and the employer.

The regulations for recruitment of substitute teachers are the same as for permanent posts i.e. a teacher who is not fully qualified can only be employed for 12 months at a time. Overall collective agreements state that if you are employed as a substitute for a certain time, you have to be offered a post within the organisation, however not necessarily at the same school.

Supporting Measures

The school head is responsible for ensuring that teachers receive the support they need. The details of such support are not centrally regulated. Support may be provided as extra resources (staff) to a class or to one or more pupils, smaller classes, individual support for the teacher etc as well as internal or external mentorship.

It is the responsibility of the school to plan and implement teaching. This also applies to the support measures available at school, namely additional adjustments and special assistance. If a teacher or another member of school staff notices that a pupil is at risk of not achieving the knowledge requirements, the school must find out why. If it emerges that the pupil requires additional adjustments to the teaching, these adjustments must be made immediately. Additional adjustments may include giving the pupil clear instructions or explaining terms, concepts or relationships before a new topic is introduced. They may be in the form of additional training in reading, mathematics, study technique or swimming. Access to scanned material or digital aids are further examples of additional adjustments, as well as a special education teacher working with the pupil during a short period. The additional adjustments can be entered in the written individual development plan.

If a pupil is at risk of not achieving knowledge requirements despite additional adjustments, the school must investigate whether the pupil is in need of special support. The investigation is usually carried out by the teacher together with staff from the school health service. An investigation consists of a survey of the pupil’s school situation and an analysis of the pupil’s special needs. It is important that the school listens to the child’s and the parent/guardian's point of view. Special support is provided for a longer time period and is more extensive. Examples of special support are a special education teacher who works with the pupil for a long time, special teaching groups or a pupil’s assistant who follows the pupil throughout most of the school day. If the investigation shows that the pupil is in need of special support, the school must develop an action programme. The action programme is a tool and a plan for what actions the school intends to implement. The action programme must also contain information about when it will be evaluated. The evaluation is there to note the results of the actions. The school has one unique action programme for each pupil needing special support which covers all subjects, topics or courses.


Most preschool teachers, leisure-time pedagogues, teachers and school heads are employed by a municipality, and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges kommuner och landsting), negotiates with the teacher trade unions over salaries and general working conditions. Teachers employed by grant-aided independent schools get their salaries and working conditions set through negotiation by the principal organiser and the teachers' trade union. For some teachers in independent schools, the negotiations may take place with the assistance of an employer organisation and the teachers' trade union.

Teachers' salaries are individual and differentiated and are determined locally (see 3.1 - Early Childhood and School Education Funding and 3.2 - Higher Education Funding). Teacher evaluation is not regulated by law. However, all school staff have regular individual development dialogues with the school head and wages are individually set in accordance with labour market rules.

The table below shows average salaries for 2015. Salaries are not based on a salary scale, thus there is no direct link between salary and years of employment although experienced teachers usually have higher salaries.

Average salary 2015

SEK per month

Preschool teachers, Leisure-time pedagogues

28 000

Compulsory school teachers

28 000

Upper secondary teachers

31 900

Teachers in special needs education, compulsary school

30 600 

Head teachers

44 200

Source: Statistics Sweden

More information on teacher salaries is available through the publication Teachers and School Heads Salaries and Allowances in Europe

Working Time and Holidays

Staff in preschool has an average working week of 40 hours, 31 of which are regulated. Most staff in compulsory school and upper secondary school has an average working week of 45,5 hours, 35 of which are regulated, i.e. at the employer's disposal, and 10,5 of which are entirely at the employee's disposal. The difference is due to longer periods of holidays in compulsory school and upper secondary school, when there is less need for teaching staff. These are real average working hours per week, the official regulation only applying to the number of working hours per year. Working hours/year for most teachers amount to 1767 hours - corresponding to the situation for other employees in the country - of which 1360 hours are regulated and usually scheduled and 407 hours are at the teacher's disposal for administrative and representative duties. For full-time employees this includes an average of 104 hours yearly for professional development that may be unevenly distributed between teachers. The regulated working hours are divided into 194 days during or in connection with the pupils' school year. Preschool teachers have equal rights to holidays as other municipal employees, 25-32 days depending on age. Teachers have holidays from mid-June to mid-August. Teachers’ vacation increases with age.

Promotion, Advancement

There is no national regulation of teachers’ promotions.

The government has allocated funds for a career development reform, with advancement stages for professionally skilled teachers in compulsory and upper secondary school that came into force July 1, 2013. Through the reform school principals are able to apply for government grants for salary increases of SEK 5 000 and SEK 10 000 a month for first teachers (förstelärare) and senior subject teachers (lektorer). Individual teachers apply to become a first teacher or senior subject teacher through their employer, who in turn can apply for funding to cover the wage increase from the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket).

In July 2012 a system of teacher and preschool teacher registration (lärarlegitimation) entered into force. To be qualified to teach at a school, a teacher should be registered and qualified for certain subjects and grades. Registration is required for a teacher to be able to independently set grades and to be a mentor to new teachers during their introduction year. Further, only registered teachers will be qualified for permanent employment. A teacher or preschool teacher can apply to be registered after a degree in initial teacher training or initial preschool teacher training. 

The parliament approved the bill ‘The new Education Act - for knowledge, choice and security’ (Govt. Bill 2009/10:165) in June 2010, and the new Education Act came into force in July 2011. The reforms regarding teachers in the new Education Act are:

  • Senior subject teachers (lektorer) were re-introduced into the entire school system. A teacher who has passed a Licentiate or doctoral degree and has demonstrated excellent quality of teaching over a period of service of at least four years is to be appointed a senior subject teacher.
  • Clearer and more stringent rules were introduced on the necessary requirements for teachers to be permanently employed to teach.

Mobility and Transfer

There is no national policy on teacher mobility. Teachers cannot be forced to take a certain position; open recruitment is applied for all posts with posts advertised and open for application. General rules for dismissal apply and salary is negotiated for each post separately.


There are no national regulations governing dismissal of teachers or change of career. Mismanagement of work, criminal activities, changes in the demand for teachers etc. may – as in other workplaces – be reasons for dismissal. In such cases the same regulations apply to teachers as to other employees.

The notice of termination by an employer must be based on objective grounds; however these are not further defined. The employee can take the case to court. Court records (previous decisions) are taken into consideration when stating what is an objective ground for termination of a post. Objective grounds for notice of termination are not needed when the employer provides other work in his service for the employee. The employee can request a written statement of the circumstances on which notice of termination is based.

The minimum period of notice is six months for the employer and three months for the employee. If the employee has been employed for more than 15 years (or 10 years if the employee is over the age of 40) the minimum period for the employer is one year. If the employee so requests, the time may be shortened.

A notice of termination must be given in a written document stating the procedure if the employee wishes to claim damages or invalid notice of termination. The employee’s rights to priority concerning re-employment shall be stated as well as information that notification is required for the employee to exercise such rights.

Notice of termination must be delivered personally, or alternatively if the employee cannot be reached, posted by registered mail to the last known address. Notice of termination is deemed effective when received by the employee. If dispatched by mail notice of termination shall be deemed effective 10 days after the letter was submitted to the post office for delivery. If the employee is on holiday notice of termination is deemed effective not earlier than the day after the holiday ends.

Retirement and Pensions

There is a flexible retirement age of between 61 and 67. Retirement at 61 is a universal right but does not grant full pension entitlement. While all teachers who retire at 65 are entitled to a full pension, those who work for longer up to a maximum age of 67 have an even higher pension entitlement.