The basic rules can be found in the Employee's Right to Educational Leave Act (SFS 1974:981) and in the general agreement on pay and benefits for government employees. The purpose of the act is to make sure educational leave does not affect an employee’s position or employment status.
For an employee to have the right to educational leave, they must, when the leave starts, have been a government employee for the six last consecutive months, or for a total of 12 months during the last two years. Union training is exempt from this requirement.
Type of education or training
There are no limitations as to the kind of education or training. However, the studies should be systematic and planned. Training that only consists of self-study is not covered by the act.
Length and scope of leave
Leave should be granted for the length of time needed to complete the studies. The planned length of a course will normally be stated in the syllabus. The scope of leave granted (as a percentage of full time) should correspond to what is deemed reasonable given the scope and content of the course.
Leave should, in principle, be granted according to the wishes of the employee. The employer may, under certain circumstances and if the requested leave presents obstacles to activities, postpone the leave until a later date than that requested. If the leave is postponed, the employer must immediately inform the employee of this. The employees’ organisation concerned should also be informed, and the issue may become the subject of negotiation.
Claiming the right to educational leave may not be given as a reason for terminating employment. After completing the education or training, an employee is entitled to return to the same position or one that is equivalent regarding tasks, conditions etc.
Interruption of studies
The employee has the right to return to work if they interrupt their studies. If the leave has lasted at least one year, they must inform the employer of their intention to return at least one month in advance. If the leave has lasted less than a year, they must inform the employer two weeks in advance. If the leave is for one week or less, the employee always has the right to return to work immediately. The employer may agree to a shorter advance notice.
If an employee returns to work earlier than predicted, this often causes practical problems. What to do e.g. if there is a temporary substitute? Formally, if the substitute is employed to replace an employee on leave of absence, for an indefinite period but no longer than to a specified date (the most common situation at SLU), the appointment is terminated, without prior notice, as of the day the employee on leave returns to work, even if this is an earlier date than expected. The substitute must be informed of this at least one month in advance. This means that it may be necessary to pay a salary to two people for a shorter period of time.
Please note that if the employee has applied for and been granted leave for a longer period that includes holidays, e.g. an entire calendar year, they do not have the right to return to work during a holiday period.
Unless otherwise agreed, an employee who is granted educational leave will normally pay for all costs such as course fees, travel, course material etc.
Education or training deemed necessary for the employee to be able to perform their tasks can be taken during working hours. There is no particular right to attend such training; this is up to the head of department or equivalent to decide. If the employee and their superior agree that the training is necessary, there is no need to apply for leave. In such cases, the employee also has the right, in most cases, to be reimbursed for any costs.
Courses arranged at SLU can normally be taken during working hours, as professional training. The same applies to any training needed e.g. in connection with new duties, organisational changes etc.
Studies under the job security agreement (SAV cirk 2006:2)
In connection with dismissals due to lack of work, employees may be granted paid leave of absence if they, during the period of notice, undertake training or take part in other activities organised by Trygghetsstiftelsen (job coaching for government employees). “Other activities” may include trying positions elsewhere than SLU. If such an activity is paid, the salary paid by SLU will be reduced by the same amount. The application for leave should include a copy of proof of admission, a certificate from the place of work where placement will be done etc. Decisions on leave are taken by the Division of Human Resources.