Sweden gives all employees time off to be entrepreneurs

entrepreneurship 2019

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sean Fleming, Senior Writer, Formative Content


For the last 20 or so years, workers in Sweden have enjoyed an unusual perk – a statutory right to take six months off and start their own business.

The Right to Leave to Conduct a Business Operation Act is one of a series of rights afforded to Swedish employees, allowing them to take time off to study or care for a family member. It’s also one of the reasons the country’s capital, Stockholm, has become Europe’s start-up capital, second only to California’s Silicon Valley for the number of unicorns (billion-dollar tech companies) that it produces per capita.

One such Swedish start-up success is Spotify. Set up in 2006, the company floated on the New York Stock Exchange last year and has a market capitalization of $24.5 billion. Others include Skype, which was acquired in 2011 by Microsoft for $8.5 billion, and Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, which was also acquired by Microsoft, in 2014 for $2.5 billion.

Anyone who’s been in full-time employment for at least six months is entitled to apply for the unpaid sabbatical, or tjänstledighet, as it’s called in Sweden. Employers can only turn the request down if the employee is vital to the business’s operations. Also, your new idea can’t compete with your existing employer, nor cause them any significant inconvenience.

Image: CBInsights, Global Tech Hubs Report

Do the hustle

There’s a growing trend in many countries for people to develop a business venture outside of regular working hours, then devote their free time to nurturing it. A side hustle, as it’s often called.

It’s an outlook that tallies with that of the gig economy – spare time, spare capacity, spare resources are all just waiting to be monetized. That might include delivering takeaway food, signing up to be a taxi driver or a courier for a few hours a day, or making your own arts and crafts items to sell via the web.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 16.5 million Americans working in the gig economy. By comparison, there are 80,000 people employed in the US coal industry. Although the BLS took in a broad swathe of work, including independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary help agency workers, and workers provided by contract firms, its figures demonstrate the extent to which alternative approaches to employment are entering the economic mainstream.

 

In the Nordic countries, equality is famously hard-wired into society and the economy – the so-called Nordic Model. Free education and healthcare are part of a comprehensive tax-funded welfare system with correspondingly high rates of tax. There are high levels of unionization within the labour force, low levels of corruption, and a vibrant free-market economy. There is an emphasis on supporting people when needed, enabling them to prosper, and ensuring equality. When it comes to the issue of parental leave, the Scandinavian nations are regularly cited as a model for other countries to follow.

All new parents in Sweden, for example, are entitled to 16 months paid parental leave, during which they receive around 80% of their salary. Fathers are expected to take some of that leave, too. It’s a similar story in Norway, which introduced shared parental leave in 1977. In 1993, it followed that up by setting a 10-week quota for fathers to take during the parental leave period.

In Denmark, parents are entitled to 52 weeks, with mothers able to take four weeks before the birth of their child and 14 weeks after. Danish fathers can take two weeks off work during the first 14 weeks, then both parents can share the remaining 32 weeks between them.

The need for innovation

The latest World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness report highlights that innovation is an imperative for countries across the globe – but most are failing to make it an engine of growth.

Germany, the US and Switzerland were all named innovation powerhouses, but for most countries innovation capacity remains limited, is very localized or exists in just a few sectors.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

First 17 “European Universities” selected: a major step towards building a European Education Area

100 years on, UN labour agency mission focussed on growing inequality, says Director-General

Business can be profitable AND drive progress on societal priorities

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

To retire at 65, American millennials need to save almost half their paycheck

UN Chief ‘strongly rejects’ Guatemala decision to expel anti-corruption body

UN agencies call for action to bolster rights of Europe’s stateless children

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

GSMA Mobile 360 in Kuala Lumpur– Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

What the Fifth Industrial Revolution is and why it matters

Just transition in EU regions: support to people, economy and environment

Happiness apps: how schools are joining the fight for better student mental health

Low productivity jobs continue to drive employment growth

This is why retail is such a sore point in India-US trade relations

Serious concerns over Sahel, require ‘urgent action’: Senior UN Africa official

EU Budget 2019: focus on the young, on migration and innovation

How big data can help us fight climate change faster

Entrepreneurship’s key to success showcased by a serial young entrepreneur

UN Children’s Fund chief condemns ‘horrific’ Kabul bomb attack

EU presses India for a free trade agreement

Former Chilean President Bachelet put forward by UN chief as next High Commissioner for Human Rights

France is bringing back national service

Silicon Valley can do more to achieve the #GlobalGoals

Is Eurozone preparing to abandon austerity and stagnation?

Unemployment and stagnation can tear Eurozone apart if austere policies persist

Lives at risk if wireless technology demands are not held in check: UN weather watchdog

Welfare of transported animals: MEPs urge EU states to do a better job

South Sudan famine threat: UN food security agency in ‘race against time’

How can we make entrepreneurship serve the greater good?

Abu Dhabi is investing $250 million in tech start-ups

EU cross-border payments outside Eurozone: MEPs scrap excessive fees

Restore land to save the planet, boost the economy, says head of UN body combating desertification

COVID-19: Commission provides guidance on EU passenger rights

Africa Forum aims to boost business, reduce costs, help countries trade out of poverty

Teamgum @ TheNextWeb 2014

The global appetite for meat is growing, and it’s harming the planet

All States have ‘primary responsibility’ to protect against hate attacks

End racist discrimination against Afro-European people in the EU

‘Stay at home’ UK tells people as global confirmed cases pass 380,000 – Today’s coronavirus updates

The digital skills gap is widening fast. Here’s how to bridge it

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

This Hungarian man quit his job to clean up his favourite river

What’s needed now to fight COVID-19 – Updates from today’s WHO briefing

Endocrine disruptors: A strategy for the future that protects EU citizens and the environment

Youth not prioritised in new Commission

Sudan: top UN official demands cessation of violence and rape against civilians by security forces

MEPs urge the EU to lead the way to net-zero emissions by 2050

Counterfeiters are taking advantage of the pandemic. Here’s how to stop them

Investment, not debt, can kick-start an entrepreneurial Europe

Nearly four million North Koreans in urgent need, as food production slumps by almost 10 per cent

UN rights experts call on Russia to release Ukrainian film-maker whose life is in ‘imminent danger’

Food finally features in the climate debate. Now what?

Terrorist content online: companies to be given just one hour to remove it

Sustainable Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): a stimulating China-EU dialogue at European Business Summit 2018

A Sting Exclusive: “Asia-Pacific response to COVID-19 and climate emergency must build a resilient and sustainable future”, by the United Nations Under-Secretary-General

From start-up to scale: This is how governments can accelerate innovation and build inclusive economies

FROM THE FIELD: Enslaved Guatemalan indigenous women wait for reparations

How the world can gear up for the fight against cancer

Mozambique pledging conference hopes to soften devastating blow of back-to-back cyclones

African continent ‘an example of solidarity’ towards migrants and refugees: UN chief

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s