FAQ doctoral students
Table of contents:
Are doctoral students entitled to vacation?
If you have an employment as a doctoral student, you are entitled to vacation according to the Annual Leave Act (Swedish: semesterlagen). Doctoral students at Uppsala University have standard vacation, which means that the employer times all vacation days starting from the week after Midsummer if the doctoral student has not applied for anything else.
What do I need to think about when it comes to standard vacation (Swedish: schablonsemester)?
If you do not want to or cannot take all the vacation days during the weeks after Midsummer, you need to agree on this with your head of department/ equivalent. The agreement to apply for vacation at other times of the year needs to be in writing and the Payroll Unit must have it no later than May 31. Webpage on the staff portal where you can download the form Application for exemption from standard vacation (Swedish: Ansökan om undantag från schablonsemester).
If you still have to work during the standard vacation, you and your head of department/ equivalent need to have an agreement on this in order for you to be insured at your workplace. That agreement can be, for example, a schedule or that you send an e-mail before you go to work. This is especially important if you work in a laboratory environment.
Doctoral student salary
Are the doctoral students included in the salary review?
The doctoral students at Uppsala University follow the so-called doctoral student salary ladder. It is usually revised once a year (October 1st). This means that the doctoral students are not included in the "regular" salary review.
Can you deviate from the doctoral student salary ladder if you have already worked in the field?
The parties agree that salary supplements for doctoral students may be justified in market-exposed areas of business and subject areas. The salary supplements should not be based on individual performance and competence.
This means that some departments have salary supplements for their doctoral students and then the same salary supplements apply for all doctoral students at the department, so the answer is that it does not matter if you already have "individual achievements" or competence.
What can I get prolongation for?
According to the Higher Education Ordinance (chapter 5, section 7, paragraph 3), a doctoral student can receive prolongation if there are special reasons. Such reasons are considered to exist for leave of absence because of illness, leave of absence for service in the defence forces or an elected position in a trade union or student organisation, or parental leave.
The doctoral student can also receive prolongation for various board appointments within the university, see Guidelines for extending the period of employment and study for doctoral students in elected positions. Many faculties also have more detailed guidelines for extension.
Finally, there are other situations where special reasons may be granted. It can for example apply to the absence of an office for a longer period of time in connection with a department move or a change of supervisor that has dragged on for a long time. Contact the Saco-S Association and we will tell you more!
Doctoral student employment ends
My employment ends, but my thesis is waiting to be printed. Can I get unemployment insurance/ benefit (Swedish: a-kassa)?
Yes, you can get help from the unemployment benefit and the Job Security Foundation (TSN) (Swedish: Trygghetsstiftelsen) already when your thesis is ready for printing, provided you are and have been a member of an unemployment insurance/ benefit for the past year. The department needs to fill out a form certifying that the thesis script is in printable form, which you then submit to the unemployment insurance/ benefit.
My employment has ended, but my thesis is not finished. What do I need to keep in mind when completing it?
First of all, it is important to continue to be registered as an active doctoral student. Second, you should check how it affects your future unemployment benefits and social security. As far as unemployment benefit is concerned, a period of scholarship for full-time studies can be skipped for up to five years. This also applies if you work up to 60 hours/ month on the side.
With regard to sickness benefit qualifying income (SGI), which is the basis for compensation for parental leave, sickness and other social safety nets, SULF has more information on its website:
For those whose doctoral candidate position expired on 1 July 2018 or later
On 1 July 2018, a reinforcement of SGI protection for students was introduced into the Social Insurance Code. The change means that almost everyone on a programme that entitles the student to a study grant/loan retains their SGI protection during their study period. The previous situation insisted that it was also necessary to receive a student grant/loan (e.g. from CSN).
SULF interprets the new provision as follows:
This means in practice that doctoral candidates who have been in paid positions but have not completed their doctoral studies before their contracts expire, may continue their postgraduate education with SGI protection because doctoral studies qualify students for study grants/loans. You may not, however, receive a student grant/loan in this situation because such a loan cannot be granted after employment as a doctoral candidate. Previously it has been the case that it has been possible to retain SGI protection for further education in your own professional field during such a period, but only after special consent had been applied for and granted and for a maximum of one year.
Another effect is that those who were previously employed and then become a doctoral candidate on a scholarship can retain SGI protection during this period without a time limit.
However, be sure to avoid any gaps in your SGI protection.
So we recommend that, if you continue your studies without being employed, you register as a jobseeker at the Employment Service not later than the date you submit your dissertation for printing or otherwise end/interrupt your studies. Normally you are entitled to unemployment insurance from this date. As a registered jobseeker, you also have SGI protection.
In conclusion, therefore, one's SGI should be protected even during the completion of the thesis (both with and without the aid of scholarships). However, the Saco-S Association recommends that you always contact the Social Insurance Agency (Swedish: Försäkringskassan) to make sure what applies to your SGI.
My employment ends in connection with my disputation. What should I think about if I don't have a new job?
If you become unemployed, there are mainly four things you should think about:
- Register as a jobseeker at the Swedish public employment service (Swedish: Arbetsförmedlingen) on your first unemployed day.
- Apply for unemployment benefits. You can do this digitally and you need an employer's certificate that you get from the Payroll Unit at the university.
- Get in touch with the Job Security Foundation, preferably before the employment ends.
- Apply for income insurance.
How do I get registered with Job Security Foundation (TSN)?
The procedure is such that the employer notifies you to TSN, TSN sends out information material (which can be mistaken for advertising) and you contact TSN. You can of course contact them even before you have received the material from them and ask if the department has registered and tell them about what your situation looks like.
Permanent residence permit as a doctoral student
What does it take for me as a doctoral student to obtain a permanent residence permit?
In order to be granted a permanent residence permit, you must have had a residence permit for research studies for at least four years during a seven-year period. How the research studies are funded is irrelevant. If this time limit is met, the Swedish Migration Agency will consider whether you have a residence intention, that is, you intend now to stay in Sweden for some time. If you intend to settle in Sweden, but previously stated the opposite, this has no decisive significance for the decision, but it is important that you describe and explain your intention to settle here and all the circumstances that justify this.
The Swedish Migration Agency is also examining whether, for other reasons, the applicant could be denied permanent residence, for example due to crime.
I need to discuss something, but do not want the union to contact my department. Is that okay?
The Saco-S Association always asks first if it is okay to contact the employer. What is important to us is that you feel that you have control over the situation and that nothing happens behind your back.
My supervisor and I have a private relationship. Is there something I need to think about?
It is no wonder that private relationships arise between doctoral students and supervisors, but it is directly inappropriate that the supervisor continues to be the supervisor in such a relationship. There is an imminent risk of conflict in such situations, which does not benefit you as a doctoral student or your supervisor in the future.