Swedish Agency for Government Employers
The Swedish Agency for Government Employers (SAGE) is an employer organization for Government agencies.
SAGE was established on July 1, 1994. It has 250 member agencies in the central Government sector. Other members include closely associated organisations, mostly foundations.
The supreme governing body of SAGE is the Employers' Council, which convenes once a year. The Council is made up of the 240 heads (i.g. Directors General, Rectors and County Governors) of the member agencies.
The Employers' Council determines employer policy and sets membership fees. It also appoints 15 members to the Board. The SAGE Board, which plays a central part in pay negotiations with the trade unions, is the supreme sovereign body between Council meetings. Unlike the other directors general who are appointed by the government, the Board appoints the executive head of SAGE.
SAGE is structured into five sectors, and two member councils. The member councils act as advisory bodies to the Board and to the Director General.
SAGE is funded by its membership fees, set in proportion to the payroll expenditures of its member agencies. SAGE receives no direct Government funding.
Negotiations with trade unions
One of the principal duties of SAGE is handling negotiations with trade unions on pay and employment conditions for the 270.000 employees in the central Government sector. However, this only concerns overall pay structures and salary increases for central agreements, rather than specific amounts. Individual salary agreements are determined at local level.
SAGE produces salary statistics for the central Government sector and conducts the follow-ups of the development of wages on yearly as well as on more long term basis.
Employer cooperation and member support
Other significant duties for SAGE include employer cooperation and member support and advice on a wide range of employment matters. For instance in helping agencies interpret employment legislation and regulations. SAGE also provides legal advice to members in labour-related disputes brought before The Swedish Labour Court .
SAGE promotes the development of employer policies, safeguards the interests of the Government employers and promotes knowledge on the State as employer and employer policies in the public debate.
The Swedish Agency for Government Employers is located in central Stockholm.
SAGE is a member of the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises Providing Public Services (CEEP), one of the social partners at European level. Through its membership of the CEEP, SAGE takes part in the European cross-sectoral Social Dialogue.
At Nordic level, government employers meet regularly to discuss current issues and exchange experience in the field of employment policy.
As one of the parties on the Swedish labour market, safeguarding the interests of central government employers, SAGE regularly participates in consultations with the Government on EU related issues. These consultations include discussions on how EU directives and regulations are to be incorporated into Swedish legislation. SAGE also regularly provides responses to documents circulated by the Government for comment and also to other enquiries from international organisations.
The Swedish Agency for Government Employers also takes part in various working parties initiated by OECD/PGC (Public Governance Committee).
EUPAN is an informal network of the Directors-General responsible for public administration in the member states of the European Union and the European Commission.
Since SAGE joined the network in 1995, EUPAN has grown both in size and scope. SAGE participates in the network together with the Ministry of Finance and the Agency for Public Management, with the main responsibilities in Human Resources- and employer issues.
The main meeting in the network is the meeting of Directors General which is held by the end of each Presidency. During this meeting Directors General approve the previous months of work and take strategic decisions on EUPAN's future priorities. EUPAN working groups meet each presidency to elaborate reports and studies of interest to the DG-meeting. The working groups are also important arenas for knowledge sharing and exchange of information between delegates from the national administrations. Currently there are three permanent working groups: Human Resources Working Group (HRWG), Innovative Public Services Group (IPSG) and the e-Government Working Group (e-Gov).
Informal social dialogue has been part of the EUPAN network since the early 1990's in the form of meetings of the EUPAN Directors General with representatives of the European federation of trade unions.
The issue of strengthening the European social dialogue for central government administrations accelerated in 2007 with a ministerial resolution under the German Presidency. This resolution encouraged EUPAN to test, within an enhanced informal social dialogue, topics and work forms of a formal social dialogue.
During the 2007 Portuguese Presidency EUPAN agreed upon the forms for a test phase of an enhanced informal dialogue, introducing the elements of a formal sectoral dialogue. The design of the social relations were jointly put down by EUPAN and trade union representatives, TUNED, including the establishment of rules of procedure and a work program for 2008-2009.
The test phase of the enhanced informal social dialogue ran for two years and started on the 1st of January 2008. Work forms and operational structures were carried out within the existing structure of EUPAN, with some adjustment comparable to a sectoral committee. This design however differed from a formal sectoral committee as the test phase was undertaken on an informal level. This meant that within the enhanced informal dialogue social partners' could not influence Commission directives or reach formal agreements for implementation at local level.
The test phase ended by the 31st December 2009 and was substituted by a continued informal social dialogue between EUPAN and TUNED.
The Swedish Government has delegated employment policy within the central Government sector to the agencies.
As such the Government and Parliament can no longer directly influence collective agreements on pay and other conditions for employees in this sector. SAGE acts entirely as directed by its members.
The agencies that make up the central Government sector in Sweden have long been highly autonomous. Although each agency falls under a ministry, the ministry cannot dictate how the agency operates. For example, Sweden does not have a system whereby civil servants can float between agencies. Each agency recruits its own personnel on the open market. The Swedish public sector also operates with a system of set budget parameters. These parameters are set for each agency on an annual basis for government cost control purposes. The Director General of each agency then bases financial and other decisions on these parameters.
This also allows for individual salary agreements at agency level. This system, which is also generally applied throughout the Swedish employment market, has been in place since 1989. As such, individual salaries are set at agency level, normally following talks between the agency management and local trade union. Agency managers are required to hold regular performance appraisals with every individual and agree personal aims and targets, salary increases, etc. Performance related pay acts as an employee incentive and management tool. It also allows scope to bring salary in line with other market forces.
Mäster Samuelsgatan 60, Stockholm
+ 46 8 700 13 00
Arbetsgivarverket, Mäster Samuelsgatan 60, 111 21 Stockholm