Ad-PHS project’s workshop in Sweden

On November 13, ESFI organised the Swedish workshop, in the framework of the Ad-PHS project. Firstly, EFSI member Almega – the employers’ organisation for the Swedish service sector – presented the RUT avdrag system. Launched in 2007, the system was initially criticised by the fact that it could primarily be used by high income households, although funded by all taxpayers. Nonetheless, the system was eventually recognised as an effective mechanism to reduce black labour and increase work-life balance. Indeed, this mechanism based on tax deductions reduced undeclared work from 90% to 25%, created new jobs and became a driver for gender equality and labour market integration of low-skilled migrant workers, while promoting professionalisation.

Secondly Aurélie Decker, EFSI Director, presented the Country in focus document. Stakeholders actively participated in the revision of this report, providing significant contributions as for policy instruments available in Sweden in the PHS sector. Questioned about the final country report, Swedish stakeholders expressed their views on topics such as the impact of the RUT tax reduction system on the traditional Welfare model, the RUT invoicing system and tax deduction threshold, undeclared work reduction and the integration of migrant workers.

Thirdly, two roundtables discussions were organised around the following topics: social dialogue structures in PHS and the development of professional profiles. Adam Dobbertin (Almega) and Lars Fischer (“Workplace and contract unit”, trade union Kommunal) shed light on the main features of social dialogue in the Swedish domestic sector, by highlighting the role of sectoral negotiation in defining pensions, sectoral minimum wage, insurances and leaves. Two collective bargaining agreements have been concluded by Kommunal in the home services industry: an agreement signed in 2006 with Almega and another with KFO, an employers’ organisation gathering co-operatives and popular-movement-owned enterprises as well as civil society organisations. Both parties agreed that more awareness-raising is needed on the importance of choosing a company that complies with collective agreements. In this regards, Adam Dobbertin mentioned a bi-partite certification system, known as “Auktoriserat Serviceföretag”, which requires companies to meet specific criteria and prove their responsibility towards workers and customers. During the last roundtable, Tjoffe Sjögren (Städarna, the third largest cleaning company in Sweden), and Ari Kouvonen, (Almega and SRY – Service Industry’s professional committee) shared their views about professional trainings in the home services sector. Ari Kouvonen presented the training activities conducted by SRY (Servicebranschens Yrkesnämnd), a bi-partite training body launched by social partners in 1985. Alternatively, some companies like Städarna prefer to launch their own in-house trainings. In conclusion, it is important to mention that the ILO Convention 189 on decent work for domestic workers was ratified by Sweden in April 2019 and has not yet entered into force (expected for April 2020).

As a result of the seminar, the Ad-PHS project will deliver the final country report on Sweden, revised thanks to stakeholders’ contributions. Furthermore, the practices gathered during the seminar will be integrated into a set of promising practices identified across various EU Member States.