How many paid vacation days are employees entitled to is a question that every business owner must be aware of when hiring people in Sweden. Typically, the rules on paid employees’ vacation days differ between countries. Accordingly, the Swedish government has enacted several regulations that govern the number of paid vacation days each company must provide to its employees. 

Full-time Swedish employees are entitled to at least 25 paid vacation days per year if they worked during the earning year – the first year of employment – without absenteeism that is not due to a paid National/Regional holiday.

However, as an employer or overseas company looking to hire talent in Sweden, besides knowing what the government says about paid vacation days, they should also know some other aspects, such as if they can specify when employees go on paid vacation, how much they are required to pay their employees on vacation and how to calculate the number of paid vacation days for employees that have not earned the 25 entitled paid vacation days.  

What is the minimum amount of holidays Sweden employees are entitled to?

Sweden has various kinds of holidays, including national, regional, and vacation holidays. Some of these holidays are granted at the employer’s discretion, while others are mandated under the Swedish Annual Leave Act.

According to the Swedish Annual Leave Act, businesses must provide 25 days of vacation to full-time employees who work 40 hours per week. Part-time employees’ number of entitled holidays is calculated based on the percentage of the standard 40 hours they work weekly.

Generally, the number of holidays will vary from one employee to another based on the longevity of employment and the employers’ discretion. Nonetheless, the minimum number of holiday days is 25 for all full-time employees. These 25 vacation days do not include National/Regional holidays. But, in situations where one of the vacation days of a worker on vacation falls on a public holiday, the employer and employee can decide to exempt it or include it in the 25 vacation days.

Do employers have to pay for employees’ holidays in Sweden?

Not all holidays in Sweden are paid holidays. As complicated as this might sound, Swedish employees must work for their paid holidays with the exemption of paid public holidays. 

In Sweden, the first year of employment is known as the earning year (April to March), and the proceeding year is known as the holiday year. During the earning year, all full-time employees that work without absenteeism – except on public holidays – are entitled to 25 paid vacation days. It is called the “earning year” because it is the year when full-time employees earn their 25 paid vacation days for the proceeding year.

office workers in sweden
Swedish employees must earn their paid holidays during the “earning year”

Typically, within the earning year, any employee who does not work the required number of days will not be entitled to the 25 paid vacation days. Based on the number of days worked, they will be eligible for fewer paid vacation days. In other words, the legislation mandates that all full-time employees receive at least 5 weekly paid holidays every year. This means that the number of paid vacation days depends on how many days an employee works per week and the length of the employment contract. 

Therefore, for employment contracts that last for at least a year, 

Full-time workers (work 5 days a week) are entitled to 5 x 5 = 25 paid vacation days yearly.

A Part-time worker (that works 3 days a week) is entitled to 3 x 5 = 15 paid vacation days yearly

And so on.

How much should employers pay their employees for paid vacation days in Sweden?

Some people think that the payment for paid vacation days should be less than that for working days. This is not true. It is called “paid vacation days” because the normal pay is maintained while on vacation. Employees on paid vacation should still receive the same amount of money they are usually paid – nothing less. 

Swedish law stipulates that an employee can take 4 consecutive weeks of paid vacation. For someone who is paid monthly and decides to take a month of paid vacation, his employer should give him his usual salary at the end of the month – which is the end of the paid vacation.

If another employee decides to take a week of paid vacation, his full salary should also still be handed to him by the end of the month.

For employers that pay daily or weekly based on the number of hours or days an employee works, the employee on paid vacation should still receive the money he gets during his normal working hours.


In addition to receiving your normal pay during a paid vacation, Sweden employees sometimes get bonuses – a percentage of their salary – at the end of the paid vacation.

Can employers request employees to take holidays at specific times of the year in Sweden?

Employers can sometimes request employees to take a vacation at specific times of the year for good reason and vice versa. Normally, most employees in Sweden go on vacation in the summer (June, July, and August).

Any employer who intends to do this must give a 2-month notice and a valid reason.   However, unless expressly indicated in the employment agreement, the employee is not authorized to accept.

Paid National and Regional public holidays in Sweden

There are several National/Regional holidays in Sweden. The most common paid public holidays in Sweden include;

  • Christmas Day
  • New Year’s Day
  • National Day
  • Midsummer Day
  • Labour or May Day
  • All Saints Day
  • Epiphany
  • Easter
  • Easter Monday
  • Ascension Day
  • Pentecost


Not all vacation and public holidays in Sweden are considered paid vacations and paid holidays. Every detail on paid vacation and holiday and when to take them must be stipulated in the employer-employee contract. 

As stipulated in the Sweden Annual Leave Act, every full-time Sweden employee who has completed their earning year – the first year of employment – without absenteeism due to a public holiday is entitled to 25 paid vacation days yearly.

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