Forms of employment and time limits

Last changed: 01 October 2021

Indefinite-term employment

One of the main lines of thought in the Employment Protection Act (LAS) is that as many as possible should have permanent employment. In labour legislation terminology, permanent employment is known as “indefinite-term employment”. A permanent position may be terminated via a notice of termination (from the employee or the employer) or resignation.

Temporary positions

From the ground rule on indefinite-term employment, there are a number of exceptions stated in the Employment Protection Act (LAS). These exceptions can be applied to any position other than that of professor.

In addition to the reasons for time limits (temporary positions) explained in LAS, it is possible to limit positions in accordance with the Employment Ordinance (AF).

There are also a number of different grounds for time limitations for teaching positions, doctoral candidates, etc. in the Higher Education Ordinance (HF). These grounds have however become significantly fewer in connection with the introduction of the new Higher Education Ordinance, effective from 1 Jan 2011.

Temporary positions may be available for a fixed term or an indefinite term, though there must be a maximum period of employment. In practice, only the latter form is used at SLU. Temporary positions may be terminated without notice once the employment period comes to an end.

The various permitted grounds for time limitations are stated below (act given in parentheses).

General fixed-term employment (LAS)

An employee may be taken on for general fixed-term employment (allmän visstidsanställning, AVA) for a total of up to two years during a five-year period.

. If a person has been employed under general fixed-term employment for a total of more than 24 months during a five-year period, the position automatically goes into indefinite-term employment.

Deputyships (LAS)

A person may be employed for a fixed period in a deputyship. A deputyship involves employing someone as a replacement for an employee on leave, to carry out the latter's duties in full or in part. The deputyship must therefore be linked to a particular individual who is on leave or who is carrying out duties completely outside of his normal remit.  The decision must clarify who the deputy is replacing. Exceptions to this can be made for holiday deputies, but in this case it should be completely clear that throughout the duration of the deputyship there is always one employee absent who is thereby replaced by the deputy.

Deputyships can also be used for vacant positions, pending appointment, provided that there is an intention to fill the vacant position, or before it has been decided as to whether or not a person shall be recruited for this purpose.

Note that if a person has been employed at SLU as a deputy for a total of more than two years during a five-year period, the position automatically goes into indefinite-term employment.

Seasonal employment (LAS)

In fields of work where the need for labour varies regularly from one period to the next due to changes in nature, the employer may make use of seasonal employment. Agricultural, forestry and horticulture are typical examples of work in SLU's field. Seasonal employment is advertised as a position lasting only for this season and should normally last for more than 3 months, though no more than 10 months.

Once the season is over, the position is terminated without notice from the day after the last day of work. A person who has had seasonal employment for at least six months in the past two years has right of preference for seasonal employment the following year.

Probationary employment (LAS)

If in the event of an employment decision the employer is unsure of how well a person will manage certain work, probationary employment is an option, though the maximum duration is 6 months. If employment is to end after the probationary period, the employee must be given notice of this before it comes to an end. Probationary employment may also be terminated prematurely. Probationary employment may only be used in connection with indefinite-term employment. If the employer knows the person well, there is normally no reason for probationary employment, unless the work is of an entirely different character to what they are used to.

After pensionable age (LAS)

Once the employee has reached the age of 67, time limitations can be imposed on their position.

Temporary employment (AF)

Temporary employment may be offered a person employed for short, isolated periods, for example temporary replacement in an animal shelter, temporary assistance with the harvest, lecturer, etc. These “short” periods are a maximum of three months.

Reorganisation (AF)

A person employed within a working team whose position is to be terminated within a period of 2 years or whose position is affected by extensive reorganisation may be offered a temporary position.

Teachers in disciplines in the fine, applied or performing arts

A teacher in disciplines in the fine, applied or performing arts may be employed for an indefinite period, though for no longer than five years. The position may be renewed. The total period of employment may not, however, exceed ten years.

Adjunct teacher (central collective agreement)

An adjunct's primary occupation lies outside of academia. An adjunct may be employed for an indefinite period, though for no longer than two years. A position of this nature may be renewed in periods of up to two years, provided the university retains the need for it. At SLU, there must be special reasons for the scope of the adjunct position to exceed 20 per cent. The collective agreement does not apply to adjunct professors; these positions are regulated by the Higher Education Ordinance. (see below)

Adjunct professor (HF)

An adjunct professor's primary occupation lies outside of academia. An adjunct professor may be employed for an indefinite period, but for no longer than a predetermined period. An appointment of this nature may be extended. The total period of employment may not, however, exceed twelve years.

Visiting professor (HF)

A visiting professor may be employed for an indefinite period, though a maximum duration applies. An appointment of this nature may be extended. The total period of employment may not, however, exceed five years.

PhD student position (HF)

The position must always be full-time. If a doctoral student so requests, the position may be for part-time work, though at a minimum of 50 per cent of full-time.

Employment as a doctoral student shall be for an indefinite period, though a maximum duration applies, and the position may not continue for more than one year after the individual has obtained their degree of doctor. The first employment period may be a maximum one year. The position may be renewed for up to two years at a time.

Individuals who have been awarded doctoral grants must, following application, be employed as a doctoral student no later than the point where they have two years full time doctoral studies remaining until finishing their doctoral degree, according to their individual study plan.

A person may be employed as a doctoral student for a total period of no longer than eight years. The total employment period may, however, not exceed the time corresponding to full-time third-cycle studies for four years. For studies which result in a degree of licentiate, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of two years' full-time third-cycle studies.

Deductions from these periods shall be made for the study period during which the doctoral student was not employed.

The total period of employment may however be longer than specified above, if there are special reasons (illness, trade/student union work, parental leave, military service).

Postdoctor (central collective agreement)

A person employed as a postdoctor can be offered a  temporary position for two years. Extensions beyond this are possible only under special circumstances, for example parental leave.

Before the agreement can be applied, the position must have been advertised externally and the degree of doctor must have been obtained no more than three years prior to the application deadline. Exceptions to this may only be made under special circumstances. 

Residency for veterinarians (local collective agreement at SLU)

Veterinarians at SLU who complete their residency may be offered fixed-term employment.

MSCA-funded positions (Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions), Horizon 2020

Employment as researcher, postdoc or doctoral student. Funds for these posts are granted from the EU framework programme Horizon 2020, either as grants to an individual and an organisation, or to several organisations at once.

For these posts, there is a special employment verification certificate which is to be filled in by the department concerned and the Division of Human Resources. The Division of Human Resources then registers the certificate in Primula.


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