Swedish LAS, a safety net or a threat?

In Sweden is now an ongoing debate whether to keep the law LAS, the law of employment protection, or not. Some people see the law as a safety net for employees working in organizations while other sees it as a threat to a flexible labour market.

So what is LAS?

LAS was constituted by the social demokrates in 1974 (restructured in 1982). The law was constituted to bring security on the labourmarket for employees. It is a big part of the “Swedish modell” and restricts the employer’s right to dismiss employees.  LAS defines and regulates four defferent areas wich together creates the structure of the employment security.

These four areas are:

1. Dismissal must be based on factual basis, such as lack of work or personal reasons (which for example can be the employees neglect of work duties).

2. Permanent employment should be the norm. If an employee have had limited employment with the same employer for totally two years over a period of five years the employment will automatically become a permanent employment.

3. Priority rules for dissmissal (Last in, first out).

4. Emption at re-employment (the one employed the longest have the right to get re-employed in the case the company has to employ again, under a certain amount of time after the dismissal).

People who want to remove the law says that it is creating a stiff labour market wich holds back the Swedish competitiveness. It makes it more riskfull to employ and hard to keep key people in bad times when companies have to cut down. The priority rules in LAS means that the companies in bad times must dismiss people who was last employed, wich often leads to that the companies loose important kompetences. At the same time it means that younger persons are having a hard time establishing on the labour market though they often were employed recently. They also mean that LAS is creating slow movement in the labour market thought employees are hesitating in changing jobs because of the fear or getting a lower priority place.

People who want to keep the law means that it would be a big failure for Sweden to remove this law. The law brings security for people and without this law employers have the abillity to do what they want which puts pressure on the employees to compete with each other in constantly keeping employable. It leads to an insecure a stressful situation for people and total power for the employer.



What do you think, is LAS a nessisary protection for the employees on the labourmarket or is it a stiff law that is slowing down the development of the swedish labourmarket? Maybe some restructuring of the law would be in place?







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