Employment & Benefits, Norway updates

New legislation regarding retirement benefits
  • Norway
  • 25 August 2010

New legislation regarding national insurance retirement pensions has been enacted and will come into force in 2011. The reform provides more flexibility and offers a number of new options for drawing retirement pensions. The most significant changes are the options to (i) claim pension benefits from the age of 62, and (ii) combine earned income with a retirement pension without reducing the amount of pension received.

Court accepts employer's unilateral decision to change collective pension scheme
  • Norway
  • 09 June 2010

In a case between Fokus Bank and a group of employees, the Norwegian Supreme Court recently ruled that the bank could, by unilateral decision, terminate a performance-based pension plan and transfer the employees to a contribution-based pension plan. However, the judgment should not be taken as a green light for all employers which are considering implementing equivalent changes.

Employee's right to remain in the role during legal proceedings
  • Norway
  • 24 February 2010

The Working Environment Act allows an employee to remain in his or her role during legal proceedings. The provisions of the act have recently been amended. As of January 1 2010 the employee's right to remain in the role applies to all terminations, including when a business closes down. In such cases the right to remain in the role will never be revoked, regardless of the reasons for dismissal.

Changes to Universal Applicability of Collective Agreements Act
  • Norway
  • 04 November 2009

The Universal Applicability of Collective Agreements Act intends to ensure that foreign employees are subject to equal wage and employment terms and conditions as Norwegian employees. The act ensures that employees do not carry out work under terms and conditions that are considerably worse than those stipulated in applicable national collective agreements for the occupation or sector in question.

Supreme Court Decision on Temporary Employment
  • Norway
  • 02 September 2009

It is set out in non-statutory law that where there is a permanent absence of a certain scope in the undertaking, the employer must employ on a permanent basis in preference to temporary employment. A recent Supreme Court judgment clarified the state of the law both in this regard and with regard to the regulation on temporary employment that lasts for more than four consecutive years.

Requirements for Temporary Lay-Offs
  • Norway
  • 10 June 2009

A 'lay-off' is a temporary suspension of the employment relationship and is typically used when an undertaking must reduce or halt its activities for a limited period of time. Temporary lay-offs may be used as an alternative to a permanent reduction of the workforce when it is clear that the company will need the workforce again following a period of reduced need.

New Legislation on Employers' Access to Employee Emails
  • Norway
  • 22 April 2009

New regulations on employers' access to employee emails recently came into force. The new regulations are part of the Regulations on the Processing of Personal Data, which are permitted by the Personal Data Act, and provide more detail than previous legislation. However, the regulations comply to a certain extent with what was previously considered applicable under non-statutory law and the practice of the Data Inspectorate.

Annual Holidays Act Amended
  • Norway
  • 11 March 2009

Recent amendments to the Annual Holidays Act secure employees' annual holiday leave. Both employer and employee now have greater obligations to ensure that annual holiday is taken each year, an upper time limit has been introduced to the agreements concerning the taking of holidays in advance and the date affecting which employees are eligible for six working days of extra holiday has been changed.

Trade Union Not Authorized to Place a Tariff Fee on Unorganized Labour
  • Norway
  • 07 January 2009

A recent judgment pronounced by the Supreme Court has declared a Norwegian trade union unauthorized to charge unorganized labour for the benefit of the union’s collective agreements. The main question in the case was whether the charges were in conflict with the employees’ freedom to organize.

New Act to Protect Workers With Reduced Working Capacity
  • Norway
  • 17 September 2008

The Discrimination and Availability Act, which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of reduced working capacity, enters into force on January 1 2009. The act introduces the term ‘reduced working capacity’, which is meant to be a broader term than ‘disability’ as used in current legislation. The legislature's intention is to expand the group of people protected against discrimination.

Whistleblowing Regulations
  • Norway
  • 09 April 2008

Norway’s new whistleblowing legislation recently entered into force. The main rule is that employees are entitled to notify employers or third parties of 'censurable conditions'. This term is broad: criminal offences are clearly within its scope, but other less serious conditions are also covered.

Supreme Court Rules on Lock-in Agreements
  • Norway
  • 24 January 2007

Can employers enter into an agreement with employees to prevent them from resigning for a certain period of time? According to a recent Supreme Court decision, lock-in agreements may be acceptable if they are justified, balanced and reasonable. Should an employee breach the agreement, he or she will have to pay compensation to the employer.

Legal Framework against Discrimination and Differential Treatment
  • Norway
  • 01 November 2006

Norway possesses a comprehensive legal framework in the field of employment. Direct or indirect discrimination and differential treatment are prohibited under the Gender Equality Act, the Anti-discrimination Act and the Working Environment Act. This update gives an overview of the Norwegian legislation in this area of law.

Entitlement to Leave of Absence
  • Norway
  • 16 August 2006

An employee is entitled by law to time off or a leave of absence in a number of circumstances, including pregnancy and childbirth, illness of a child, caring for relatives and education. The question of whether the employee is entitled to a salary or other financial payments during the leave of absence is regulated by the National Insurance Act and by any tariff agreements or individual agreements.

Protection against Discrimination in the Workplace
  • Norway
  • 31 May 2006

The new Working Environment Act, which entered into force on January 1 2006, prohibits direct or indirect discrimination in the workplace. The Gender Equality Act applies to discrimination based on gender in all areas of life. In addition, a new Discrimination Act and a new enforcement structure (the Discrimination Ombudsman Act) have been introduced.

New Working Environment Act
  • Norway
  • 29 March 2006

The new Working Environment Act entered into force on January 1 2006. Among other things, the act contains a new chapter on information and consultation of employee representatives. Moreover, the act prohibits direct and indirect discrimination based on political views, membership of labour organizations, sexual preferences, disability and age.

Supreme Court Rules on Legality of Temporary Employment Contracts
  • Norway
  • 18 January 2006

The Supreme Court recently delivered a ruling on the legality of temporary employment contracts. The court argued that the plaintiff's contract bypassed the rules on temporary employment and employees' protection rights, and was thus an illegal temporary engagement. The court therefore granted compensation to the plaintiff.

Preferential Claim to Full-Time Employment for Part-Time Employees
  • Norway
  • 26 October 2005

When the new Employment Protection Act enters into force, part-time employees will have a preferential claim to full-time employment if vacant positions become available. Among other things, employees must be qualified for the position and the exercise of the preference must not cause substantial inconvenience to the business.

EU Information and Consultation Directive Implemented
  • Norway
  • 10 August 2005

The Norwegian Parliament has passed a new act on working environment, working hours and job protection: the new Employment Protection Act. As part of the act, the EU Information and Consultation Directive is implemented under Norwegian law. The information and consultation obligations apply to all undertakings with 50 or more employees (both full time and part time).

New Employment Protection Act Proposed
  • Norway
  • 20 April 2005

The minister of labour and social affairs has presented a proposal for a law on working environment, working hours and job protection - the new Employment Protection Act. The government states that the new law aims comprehensively to cover working life, and to ensure employees' health and safety. Among other things, it would extend employers' access to temporary staff.

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