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New Swedish law may hurt postdocs

Forcing employers to hire workers after 14 months may discourage labs from taking on temporary staff, researchers say

Marta Paterlini
This spring, Swedish Parliament approved new rules limiting temporary employment -- forcing employers, including laboratories, to permanently hire anyone after they've worked for 14 months within a five-year period. Researchers have criticized the decision, arguing the temporary employment period is too short for junior researchers, including postdocs, to complete projects, possibly discouraging schools from hiring them even on a short-term basis.The new employment rule "might be good in other business branches, but not in the university world," Jan Carlsted-Duke, Dean of Research at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, told The Scientist.Most research projects take an average of 36 months, according to Carlsted-Duke. If schools know they can only keep junior researchers, including postdocs, for 14 months before hiring them, they will likely rely more on staffers to do lab work -- depriving young scientists of the training and data they need to advance, he noted. "We knew there were ongoing...

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