Secondary Employment

Secondary employment is any occupation or business that the PhD student engages in parallel with his/her employment.  The employee must report secondary employment annually. Secondary employment can be either paid or unpaid. Everyone, even those who have no secondary employment should certify in Primula that they have read the regulations. Fill in the form on My page in Primula. You report the changes continuously.

Labour/trade unions

(Please note that labour/trade unions are not the same as student unions!) In Sweden, working conditions are regulated to a greater extent through collective agreements than by legislation. Unions and employers negotiate these agreements. Therefore approximately 70% of all Swedish employees are members of a union, and these numbers are even higher for state employees. Unions are open to all, regardless of nationality or type of employment. Union membership can facilitate access to many kinds of assistance (e.g. information related to doctoral studies and legal assistance).

Two of the most popular ones at SU are SULF and ST.  If you have any problem related to your work at the university that you need help solving, you can reach out to Saco-S. They cover all of us at Stockholm University and is a negotiating body. You can contact Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64. Additionally, you can reach out to your own union, ask for help, advice, or represent you in a meeting etc.


In Sweden, it is widespread to pay for unemployment insurance, and they are called arbetslöshetskassa or simply a-kassa. While you are doing a PhD, you will have a guaranteed salary, but as soon as you finish, nobody can guarantee that anymore. While everyone working in Sweden is eligible for unemployment insurance at a low, basic level, the compensation is limited. But members of an unemployment fund can receive up to 80 percent of their previous salaries, making the transition between jobs a whole lot smoother. Therefore, it is recommended that you to start paying a-kassa to make sure you have unemployment benefits after your PhD.

At The Newbie Guide to Sweden, you have more information about it, including possible a-kassa’s one could join. The most common one for academics (i.e. for PhD students) is Akademikernas a-kassa. Even though you may not get unemployed soon, it is a good idea to register and start paying the fee (currently 140 SEK/month) since you need to have been a member of an a-kassa during at least 12 months to get the full benefits. 

PhD Student Councils at Stockholm University: SFR and CDR

The Faculty of Social Sciences council (SFR) at Stockholm University is a cooperative body extending over the entire faculty, consisting of student and doctoral student representatives from the Faculty of Social Sciences, as well as representatives from Stockholm University’s student unions DISK, SSAS and SUS. SFR’s mission is to defend the interests of students and doctoral students in issues education-related at the faculty of Social Sciences. It is also responsible for the overall study monitoring work on the faculty level and functions as a discussion and information forum where the representatives from all student and doctoral councils at the faculty have the opportunity to exchange experiences and coordinate their work.

The Central PhD Student Council (CDR) is a central consulting body for
PhD Student Councils and for the Student Union. CDR is a separate legal
entity associated with the Stockholm Student Union responsible for its
own operation and answers to the Student Union praesidium. CDR may
provide more detailed guidelines for its activities within the scope of
this instruction. CDR is comprised of PhD student representatives from each faculty. The Faculty Councils of Humanities, Social Sciences and Science appoint
two members and one alternate member each. The Faculty Council of
Law appoints one member and one alternate member. It falls upon the
representatives of each faculty to, when possible, establish that their
views are compatible with that of their respective Faculty Council
whenever possible.


As a PhD student you can visit Stockholm Student Health Services. Any health-related problem can be discussed.  For work-related illness (e.g. stress, backpain) you can also contact Feelgood

For exercise, there is a gym available as DSV,  and employees can go to free exercise classes at Frescatihallen. If you buy e.g. a gym card or other exercise classes, you can get some money back (ca 1500 SEK per year, called “friskvårdsersättning”). Contact for more info on this!

Harassment reporting

At Stockholm University, no violations or harassment may occur. Report violations and harassment here. (You can also contact Magdalena Pers Färjemark or Marihan Ameen directly.)