Stockholm university

Petra Herzfeld Olsson

About me

Petra Herzfeld Olsson is  professor of labour law at the Faculty of Law, Stockholm University. My fields of reserach are labour law, European law and human rights law. I am particularily interested in international aspects of labour law.

In my dissertation I investigated the scope of workers' rights to freedom of association in UN-, Council of Europe, EU and Swedish law. My interest in the role of human rights in working life and the interaction between different levels of law has continued to guide my research. During the last years reserach questions related to labour migration has been given a lot of attention. In a number of research projects I, often together with other researchers, have dealt with the EU regulation on entry and stay for workers from third countries and its impact on the national level. One example is the book National Effects of the Implementation of EU Directives on Labour Migration from Third Countries (Kluwer Law International 2016). Together with professor Catharina Calleman, I am the editor of an anthology on the conditions for third country national workers in Sweden. From 2018-2021  I was the project leader of the research project, A sustainable and inclusive Swedish labour law- the way a head. The project was financed by the Swedish Research Council.  Other participants in the project were professor Niklas Bruun and jur.dr Erik Sjödin, Stockholm University, jur.dr Peter Andersson, Gothenburg University and professor Tonia Novitz, Bristol University. The results of this project can be found here:

I have has previously worked at the Faculty of Law, Uppsala University, the Swedish Ministry of Employment and the Swedish Intstitute for Working Life.



Course director for the advanced courses:

The Global Labour Market and International Labour Law, 15 hp

Labour Law, 15 hp ( from spring 2023)


Deputy course director:

Civilrätt C (family law and labour law), 10,5 hp


  • The Labour and Social Security Rights of Captive Workers
    • led by Virginia Mantouvalou, UCL
    • 2022-
  • Towards Adequate Minimum Wages in the European Union
    • together with Mette Sösted Hemme
    • led by Luca Ratti, Elisabeth Brameshuber, Vincenzo Pietrogiovanni, Universities of Luxembourg, Vienna and Lund
    • 2022-2023
  • Folkrätten och svensk rätt 2.0
    • led by Rebecca Thorburn Stern, Inger Österdahl och Anna-Sara Lind, Uppsala universitet
    • 2022-2023
  • Reserach Handbook of Migration and Employment
    • together with Zvezda Vankova
    • led by Guglielmo Meardi, Scoula Normale Superiore, Florens
    • 2021-
  • Handbook of Civil Service in Europe
    • together with Erik Sjödin
    • led by K.,- P Sommerman et al, University of Speyer
    • 2022-
  • Migrant Labour and the Reshaping of Employment Law
    • led by Bernard Ryan and Rebecca Zahn, University of Leicster and Glasgow
    • 2017-2023
  • The Furure of Labour law
    • led by Barbara Palli, University of Lorraine
    • 2020-2022

Research projects


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • The Role of Effective Enforcement in International Law on Labour Migration

    2020. Petra Herzfeld Olsson. International organizations law review 20 (1), 206-232


    Labour migrants shall according to the ILO and UN conventions on labour migration be provided with equal treatment with local workers with regard to working conditions including pay. Factors like migration law (creating dependence on employers and fears of expulsion) and limited access to justice, challenge the enforcement of the equal treatment principle.  The social dumping argument has been raised by actors arguing for the closure of borders. However, labour migration is a feature of contemporary labour markets and the future world of work. Instead of rising walls measures to overcome obstacles against equal treatment must be considered. Effective monitoring and enforcement are crucial in this respect. The explicit enforcement provisions in the ILO and UN conventions are quite vague. In this paper it will be analysed to what extent the monitoring bodies of the relevant ILO and UN conventions demand for effective monitoring and enforcement of the equal treatment principle in their comments to the state parties and what kind of measures they suggest that the state parties shall take to make the equal treatment principle a reality. The analysis reveals that the monitoring bodies apply a context based interpretation of the provisions in the conventions, suggesting a wide range of measures to overcome the obstacles mentioned. The division between migration law and labour law turns out to be of less importance than the ambition to make equal treatment a reality.

    Read more about The Role of Effective Enforcement in International Law on Labour Migration
  • Assessing the Swedish labour law model through a social sustainability lens

    2022. Peter Andersson (et al.). Retfærd. Nordisk Juridisk Tidsskrift (2), 75-96


    In this article, we aim to explore the contours of how we might interrogate Swedish labour lawand practice from a socially oriented sustainability perspective, drawing on the distinctive findings of ourproject ‘An inclusive and sustainable Swedish labour law – the ways ahead’ and on other aspects of theSwedish labour law model that we consider are particularly relevant for a sustainability analysis. In sodoing, we have identified potentially five dimensions to the use of a ‘sustainability’ discourse as a basis forevaluation of regulatory measures suitable for the Swedish labour market. It emerges that the central dominant system of collective bargaining has the potential to promote durability and inter- and intra-generational justice, including just transitions in the labour market. However, its capacity to promote capabilities and equality depends on how inclusive and adaptable collective bargaining systems are, with attentionto who is being represented and in what sectors.

    Read more about Assessing the Swedish labour law model through a social sustainability lens

Show all publications by Petra Herzfeld Olsson at Stockholm University