Important information for future and current KI potdoc fellows:

 
1. Stipend vs Salary

Make sure you know whether you are going to receive a stipend (scholarship) or a salary, since the benefits connected to them are very different. Below, we summarise the most important differences.
 
1.1 Stipend (scholarship)
KI has a regulation for scholarships (stipends), as scholarship holders are not tecnhically employed by KI, scholarships (or equivalent) are free of taxes. Therefore, the national laws do not apply. This means that you do not have the benefits that naturally come with signing a standard employment contract (e.g., social security benefits).  It is very important that you read the KI regulation on stipends before you sign your scholarship agreement, you can dowlaod the document here .
As a receiver of a postdoc stipend, you have to sign a form with which you understand that, in cases of negligence, such as failing to be present in accordance with the course syllabus/study plan, KI may withdraw scholarship funds that are yet to be not paid out. So please make sure you read all the rules and regulations before signing. 
Scholarship holders can, however, be part of a union, if they wish ( Saco ). We do not advise you to join A-kassan (see salary section below) when on a stipend. Indeed, you would pay a monthly fee, but once your scholarship is ended you are entitled to an unemployment check of zero SEK. This is because the calculation is based on the amount of your SALARY, but stipends are NOT salaries. 

Being a postdoc on a Stipend means you are  NOT entitled to:
  • Unemployment benefit 
  • Sick leave 
  • Full parental leave 
  • Student benefits 
  • Holiday allowance
  • Working hours limit
  • Student supervision responsabilities
 
Therefore, we strongly encorage you to discuss these points with your future supervisor BEFORE signing a scholarship agreement, in order to agree on how any of these aspects will be managed.

The KI Postdoc Association managed to agree with KI management that stipend agreement should be AT LEAST 1 YEAR long. Agreements for shorter periods ARE NOT ALLOWED. If you happened to be offered an agreement of less than 1 year, please contact us prompt. This is very important because short contracts will lead to difficulties with Försäkringskassan, personnummer, personnummer for family members, childcare, service contracts (telephone or internet) , mortgage, accommodation.
 
It is also worth considering that you do not automatically pay into a pension when on a stipend so you may want to keep up payments with your former pension from your home country. 
 

1.2 Salary
If you come from a foreign country and you receive a salary, it will be easier to get your personnummer and you will be able to join "forsakringskassan". Furthermore, you will build up a pension and you can get an unemployment insurance. However, you will have to undertake some actions to get the extras that come with a salary and some of there do not come for free.

If you haven't lived in Sweden in the last 5 years and you are not planning to stay longer than 5 years (but who can check that?), you might be eligible for 'tax relief':  www.forskarskattenamnden.se  Most of the information on this website is in Swedish, so please check with your administration office at your department. You have to apply within 3 months of your starting date.

If you are on a salary, you will also have to choose your pension fund.

To insure yourself to get unemployment benefits at the end of your contract, you will have to join  A-kassan . To get benefits you must be a fund member and have been in membership for at least 12 months. Please, note that this means unemployment benefits are not automatic. For more information, please click here
 
Furthermore, the salary does not say anything about your project, so please make sure you have a project plan and preferably also an education plan.
 
1.3 Common to stipend or salary holders

There is a template for project plans your HR department or supervisor should be able to provide you. This project plan is an agreement signed by both parties: you, the postdoc, and your supervisor. It describes your plans and research objectives. We strongly recommend adjusting (and both sign) your project plan throughout your postdoc, to have some form of evidence which scientific ideas are yours.

Whilst you are not a student, a postdoc on a stipend at KI is technically in training and is thus meant to have an education plan. Education plans can be very beneficial; it is advisable to discuss your education plan with your PI at the beginning of the post or before you arrive. 
 
 2. Accommodation
 
It is very hard to find accommodation in Stockholm. As soon as you know you will be working here, be very proactive and sign up for as many waiting lists as possible! For more detailed information, visit our dedicated 'Tips for accomodation' page.

2.1 Tips for accommodation in brief
 
  • Take into account that you may be waiting on waiting lists for accommodation for up to, or even over 2 years (e.g Wennergren ).
  • For different options to find an apartment, see the KI's International Staff Office website .  
  • One website that is not included there is:  http://www.fixakontraktet.se . You pay 298 SEK for the first month, but they send you messages with available apartments, even first-hand contracts!
  • Generally, there are many offers on Blocket  , EasyRental and other websites but it does not mean that you will necessary get a lot of response from people who posted them. Be patient and very active!
  • Make sure that you say a few words about yourself in your email/application. Making a good impression is always a plus, instead of saying only: "Hi, when can I see your apartment?".
  • Before you make a decision about moving in somewhere, you may check the transport options from this place to KI. Even though Stockholm might be the nicest place to live, don't forget that Solna and Sundbyberg are just as close to KI as some other suburbs within Stockholm.
  • And one last very important tip: be careful during your house-hunt, as some of the offers are scams. Common sense rules apply: DO NOT PAY anything until you meet the person, confirm his or her identity, see the place, and sign a contract. You can recognize fake advertisements because they usually sound too good to be true: low rent for great apartments/locations. Sometimes they even show you the apartment and give you keys. They usually ask for payment in advance, so DO NOT PAY IN ADVANCE. Payment via Western Union or Money Gram means TROUBLE. Scams are a real problem in Stockholm, please help fighting it and report such scams to the Swedish police The best way to find accommodation is via family, friends or friends of friends.

 
3. Personnummer
This is the social security number (personnummer). For more detailed information, visit our dedicated ' personnummer ' page.
 
3.1 Personnummer in brief
In Sweden, you absolutely need your 'personnummer', your social security number. You have to visit skatteverket in person to apply for a personnummer.
You will need
 
1) your (valid) passport
2) KI contract/scholarship
3) valid health insurance
4) documentation for your spouse/children (if applicable)
5) working permit that is valid for at least a year (for non-EU citizens) 
 

 
4. Health Insurance
Make sure your health insurance is still valid when you get here. It is necessary when applying for a personnummer. For more information you can visit our dedicated page on Health Insurance .
 
4.1 Health insurance in brief
If you have problems with getting a health insurance in/from your home country, it is possible to get a health insurance especially for expats at a private Swiss company (click  here ). It costs around 300 euros for a year, which might help you to get a personnummer at skatteverket/tax office. This page also contains information about försäkringskassan (Swedish social security system), emergency and dental care. 

4.2 Health insurance for non-EU citizens
If you are not an EU citizen, you need to get a residence permit for visiting researcher before coming to Sweden. Importantly, your working permit needs to be valid for at least one year, when you go to skatteverket to apply for a personnummer. Register with immigration within the first three months of arrival , if you are planning to stay for longer than 3 months, to receive right of residence (if you are from within the EU); you will need a copy of your passport or national ID and a certificate of employment when applying. You can apply online.
 
5. Social security (försäkringskassan)
 
Försäkringskassan’s role is to administer social insurance and to ensure that you get the benefits and allowances you are entitled to. The Swedish social insurance covers everyone that lives or works in Sweden. It provides finan­cial protection for families and children, for persons with a disability and in connection with work injury, illness and old age.
 
Through the Swedish membership in the European Union, you may also be eligible for social insurance benefits in other EU member states if you or anyone in your family resides or works in any other EU member states.

As soon as you get here, you should sign up with Försäkringskassan to get insured. For more details please click here .
 
 
6. Opening a Bank Account
 
It is quite difficult to open a bank account without your personnummer, but it is possible depending on which person you encounter at which bank. KI provides you with your Coordination nummer (ask at the HR office in your department).
At some branches of some banks it is possible to open a bank account with this coordination number; however, not every branch of every bank is helpful. Some banks you can contact and ask for more information are nordea, SEB, Handelsbanken, and Forex Bank.
 
 
7. Swedish courses
 
The great majority of people in Stockholm speak English, so you do not need to know Swedish to communicate on daily basis. However, as you might stay here for longer, you might consider learning Swedish anyway (e.g., to understand work documents, to improve communication with your patients, etc.). Some courses are free of charge. To enroll to these courses (SfI, Swedish for Immigrants), you need your personnummer and a resident permit. Also, you should apply through the municipality you live in, see links below:
 
Sfi-Stockholm
Sfi-Solna
Sfi-Huddinge 

 
Other courses have fees. You can choose to pay or ask your supervisor/department for reimbursement. Here some links to different language schools:

Studiefrämjandet
Folkuniversitetet
Medborgarskolan
Svenska Nu
 
 
8. Unions
Trade Unions are an integral part of Swedish life. Around 70% of the population belongs to a union, this makes Sweden one of the most unionised countries in the world.
 
The unions represent workers and help negotiate working conditions for their members. Due to the strength of the unions in Sweden, Swedish workers enjoy some of the most generous benefits in the world in terms of holiday allowance, healthcare and employment protection.  
 
Being a member of a union will help ensure that you have fair salary and working conditions and can also provide other benefits such as discounts on health and home insurance.  

In Sweden, there are Trade Unions for Academia
  • SULF : Swedish Association of University Teachers. It specifically represents professionals in a University or College environment; 
  • ST : Union of Civil Servants. It represents employees in the government sector, including lecturers, researchers and PhD students; 
  • Naturvetarna . It specifically represents scientists.
 
SULF and Naturveterna are part of Saco-S, a unifying union for academic scholars. ST is separate, it is a union for all (administration to professor), as the work floor consists of all.  

Both postdoc fellows with stipends and salaries can become a member of Naturvetarna, ST or SULF. 
 
SULF and Naturvetarna have a "stipend" option in their application forms. For ST, you may have to email and explain your situation. ST will consider you as a student to give you a reduced fee. For all unions, if you are on a Stipend you pay the lowest membership fee. When on salary, the membership fees will be calculated on your income.  
 
If you are a member of a union, the union representative can also help out in case you encounter any form of mistreatment at work.  
 
 
9. Pregnancy for Postdocs


9.1 Postdocs on employment contract

On regards to your pregnancy rights at KI , the employment benefits are the same but there is a difference on the usage of parental leave. Basically, your postdoc employment days depends on the type of employment contract you have as a postdoc.  At KI, there are two types of postdoc employment contracts:

1) Postdoc according to collective agreement -  Kollektivavtal (PKA)
 Fixed-term postdoctoral position (KPA) - maximum duration of 2 years - must have obtained Doctorate no more than 3 years before the application for PKA is activated.
Note: The time can be extended in special circumstances. Special grounds include leave due to illness, parental leave, clinical service, in trade unions or other similar circumstances.
 
2) Postdoc fixed-term employment LAS 5:1 –  Lagrum (LAS)
- Maximum duration of 2 years. It cannot be extended.
- Continues to run if postdoc is under parental leave
- The total time at KI is two years in the five-year period, regardless of position.
Note that during parental leave, your postdoc days under LAS contract continue to run at the same time. That is, days are not deferred while you are on parental leave.
 
On regards to postdoc salary during parental leave:
Under any of the postdoc contracts described above, you have the right for parental leave as described in the KI personnel handbook section 5 pages 13 – 15. Parental leave at KI is regulated by the Parental Leave Act, The Villkorsavtal agreement and a local agreement on Parental Salary .
 
Parental leave application should be made through the Swedish social system ( Försärkingkassan ). Go to the parent section ( Förälder ) to get more information and learn the application process.
Also, once your child is born, you will need to contact your human resources (HR) representative at your department with your child personal number in order to help you with the parental leave application for KI and get the additional 10% of your salary that KI compensates to all employers on contract. This process is done through primula and you must click on the box to indicate that you want the 10% additional of your salary. Note that this process is independent from the one that you do through Försärkingkassan .

   
9.2 Postdocs on stipend
 
If you're on stipend, unfortunately there is no parental benefits under KI, but you still have some rights including parental allowance from the Swedish social system ( Försärkingkassan ) and you are eligible to get some parental benefits. In order to initiate this process, you must contact Försärkingkassan or call customer services 0771-524 524 and explain your situation. Basically, being under KI stipend is as being unemployed in the Sweden, so the allocated parental benefits allowance is under this category.
 

9.3 Additional information
 
When you learn that you are pregnant, it is good to have a roadmap on what to do and where to go to obtain the right information. Here are some steps that you may want to follow:
 
Step 1. Upon learning about your pregnancy, contact the midwife-led antenatal care center (barnmorskemottagningar or BMM, sometimes known as MVC) where all expectant mothers are examined and received support and services during the pregnancy. 
 
Step 2. Communicate to your KI principal investigator (PI) about your pregnancy in case work rearrangements need to be made for your safety and the pregnancy.
If you work with chemicals, contact the chemical safety officer in your group or department for adopting tproper precautions. Also, communicate to your midwife for medical advice, if needed.
 
Step 3. As you go along in your pregnancy, you with your midwife need to communicate to the Swedish social system ( Försärkingkassan ) about your pregnancy status, so paperwork can be initiated between the employer, KI and Försärkingkassan .
 
Step 4. Upon receiving the letter from Försärkingkassan about your pregnancy and asking information about your salary from the employer, KI, you need to contact your human resources (HR) representative in your department to start the process from the KI side. Start this process early, preferably at the start of your second trimester is best.
 
Step 5. If during the course of the pregnancy you get sick and are advised to go on sick-leave, the doctor at your midwife center will send the proper paperwork to Försärkingkassan through the online process. You will get a copy of this document which you will need to provide to your HR representative in your dept. so a sick-leave application is registered. This process is done with your HR person and through primula . Further information about sick-leave and/or illness can be found in the KI personnel handbook  section 6, page 15.
 
Step 6. If you want to sign-up for expectant mother gym classes, such mamma yoga, mamma Pilates, mamma swimming, etc., you may do so and get reimbursed by your employer, KI. Further information can be found in the KI personnel handbook section 8, page 17.
 
Step 7. You are also eligible for reimbursement for total 300 SEK of the trip to and from the hospital. Keep the receipt and submit to your HR representative.
    
 
10. Moving with your family
You can register your spouse/partner at Migration Board and Skatteverket.  Swedish laws recognize same gender marraiges and unmarried couples. In the latter case, you and your partner can register as sambo, a Swedish term that denotes a couple that lives together but is not married.  
 
10.1 Childcare 
Your children must a personnumer to get access to healthcare, childcare, child allowance, and enrollment in public and private pre-schools. Once they get it, they have the right to free healthcare from 0 to 18 years of age.
They will also have access to childcare services. In this case, you have to contact your municipality of residence for more information.

10.2 Schools 
Compulsory education in Sweden begins at the age of seven, although most six-year-olds attend voluntary preschool classes. The compulsory education period is nine years. All education provided by the state is free. You have to contact your local municipality or district in Stockholm for more information about Swedish schools or schools with other language profiles. 

10.3 Child allowance
All children who live in Sweden are entitled to child allowance . It is paid by Försäkringskassan to the care-takers of the children. This means that even when the parents are working on a stipend, the child still is entitled to receive this allowance via its parent.

10.4 Pregnancy 
You have to check the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. As they are different for postdocs on stipends and salaries, we cannot give any conclusive information.  Insurance may pay for necessary and reasonable cost of care in conjunction with delivery, miscarriage or other serious complications prior to the end of the 28th week of pregnancy. A letter from a doctor or midwife confirming good health and expected date of delivery should be carried beyond the 28th week of pregnancy, when travelling. Medical clearance is required for pregnant women if delivery is expected less than four weeks after the departure date or if any complications in delivery may be expected. 
In  this link  you can find interesting information explaining parental leave and benefits in Sweden.