Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have experienced a reduction in their workload and have had to temporarily lay off employees. However, it can be difficult for employers and employees to stay up to date with the rules on temporary lay-offs. This article highlights the key terms and procedural rules relating to temporary lay-offs, providing an overview of the current rules and proposed changes.
The government has made several changes to the regulations concerning the reporting and taxation of benefits in kind. The changes aim to simplify how employers apply the regulations in practice. Previously, gifts from employers were tax free only when they were part of the company's general scheme; however, this requirement has been repealed. The government has also decided that influenza and COVID-19 vaccines covered by employers will be tax free from 2021.
As part of the COVID-19 crisis package, the government has proposed to extend the schemes for sickness benefits, the jobseekers' work assessment allowance, unemployment benefits and employers' expenses relating to foreign nationals' entry quarantine and employees' quarantine hotel stays.
The government has proposed to extend until 1 July 2021 both the period in which the increased daily unemployment benefit rate applies and the temporary lay-off period. The government stated that the extended measures aim to give employees and employers more predictability during a difficult time.
The Supreme Court recently pronounced a judgment in which a female employee was awarded damages for non-economic loss after being subjected to sexual harassment by customers. The verdict provides useful clarifications regarding the conditions, and especially the lower limit, for sexual harassment. For employers, the various aspects of the matter are a reminder of the importance of complying with their duty to actively prevent and seek to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
The government has tightened foreign nationals' access to Norway with effect from 29 January 2021. This article discusses the legal impact for affected employers and employees, including with regard to temporary lay-offs, employers' right to prohibit employees' outward journeys, remuneration and support schemes, termination and tax and social security.
Many companies are subject to a statutory activity and reporting obligation relating to equality and non-discrimination. The obligation is regulated in the Gender Equality and Discrimination Act, which imposes a mandatory working method on employers that includes documenting and managing risks of discrimination and obstacles to gender equality within companies. Many companies will have to spend time and resources on implementing sufficient systems and routines to comply with the new rules.
Remote working has become increasingly common as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and many companies are considering introducing more permanent arrangements beyond the pandemic. Although remote working has clear benefits for many, it also has negative aspects and practical and legal challenges. This article highlights various topics and issues that employers should consider when introducing a more permanent scheme for working from home.
The High Court Civil Division recently ruled on whether the termination of two graphic designers from Dagbladet newspaper following a major reorganisation and downsizing process had been valid. A particular point of contention was whether the case processing had been sufficient. The court assessed whether the terminations were valid, the postponement of the service was to be regarded as a business transfer and the graphic designers were entitled to compensation for non-pecuniary damage.
For the first time in history, the Anti-discrimination Tribunal has awarded a remedy for non-economic loss and compensation for gender discrimination in the workplace. The case concerned a female applicant who, after being offered a job, informed the employer that she would be going on maternity leave shortly. The tribunal decided that the employer had discriminated against the applicant based on her gender and highlighted that pregnant jobseekers need not disclose their pregnancy.
As it is difficult to predict the impact that the COVID-19 infection control measures will have on the labour market, the government has proposed to prolong the extended right to care and sickness benefits until the end of June 2021 and March 2021, respectively. In addition, the government has put forward proposals for a continued increase in the unemployment benefit rate until the end of March 2021.
Earlier in 2020, draft regulations on 'own pension accounts' were released for consultation. The new rules will enter into force at the beginning of 2021. The changes aim to make it easier for employees to receive the best possible pension. Employees will be able to choose who will manage their pension capital, which will lead to greater competition in the market.
The Supreme Court recently ruled on whether agreements regarding severance packages in the event of voluntary resignation, which were entered into during a downsizing process, could be partly set aside because they were contrary to good business practices or unreasonableness. To answer this question, the Supreme Court had to decide whether the employees were entitled to an early retirement pension in such a process based on the previous employer's promise.
The Supreme Court recently ruled on whether hired personnel were entitled to a company bonus on an equal footing with permanent employees and apprentices in the company in which they were hired pursuant to the equal treatment rule in Section 14-12a of the Working Environment Act. This article analyses the ruling and highlights the key points for employers.
Zero-hour contracts are particularly controversial in Norway, which is generally known for its high level of employee protection. For example, in early 2017 a district court held that a formal arrangement under which a staffing agency's full-time employees had not received salary payments between assignments was illegal. Further, the government recently issued a discussion document outlining its proposal to amend the Working Environment Act, which is intended to target zero-hour contracts.