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New rules on employment conditions on the way

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Legal news
calendar 10 September 2023
globus Norway

The Norwegian government recently introduced a new draft bill on working conditions. If adopted, companies will have several new responsibilities towards the employees. Among other things, the information required in employment contracts will increase and deadlines shorten.

The Norwegian government has proposed new rules as a result of the EU directive on transparent and predictable working conditions being implemented in Norway. The intention is to increase the level of protection for employees. If adopted, companies must prepare for changes to information obligations and stronger rights for employees.

Predictable increase of predictability

The proposed changes will increase companies’ responsibilities. For example regarding information, shorter deadlines, and ensuring a predictable employment relationship. Among the proposed changes are:

  • Going forward, the employment contract must for example contain information on paid absence, education, social security, and unpredictable working time. Today this is not required.
  • Today, the written employment contract must be entered into within one month after commencement. Going forward, the written employment contract must be entered into within seven days.
  • Today, changes to the employment contract must be updated within one month after the change took effect. Going forward, the employment contract must be updated as soon as possible and no later than the day the changes take effect.
  • Today, permanent, full-time employment is the main rule. Going forward, the presumption is also permanent, full-time employment unless the employment contract states otherwise.
  • Today, probationary periods can be agreed on for up to six months regardless of the type of employment. Going forward, the probationary period for fixed-term employment cannot be more than half of the duration of the employment relationship. In any case, the probationary period cannot be more than six months.
  • Today, part-time employees have a preferential right to other positions and fixed-term employees are entitled to permanent employment after three or four years. Going forward, such employees will also be entitled to request more predictable forms of employment. The company must give a written answer to such requests within a month.

IUNO’s opinion

The proposed changes have not been adopted yet. Further, there is currently no suggested date for when the proposed changes will be applicable. However, it is likely a question of when and not if the proposed changes are adopted.

IUNO recommends that companies update their standard employment contracts to be ready for new hires and prepare the necessary information for the existing employees. This is recommended even if the existing employees do not request it. If the information is not given and the missing information leads to a dispute, the company will bear the risk of lack of clarity in the agreement.

[Proposal 130 L amending the Norwegian Working Environment Act of 16 June 2023]

The Norwegian government has proposed new rules as a result of the EU directive on transparent and predictable working conditions being implemented in Norway. The intention is to increase the level of protection for employees. If adopted, companies must prepare for changes to information obligations and stronger rights for employees.

Predictable increase of predictability

The proposed changes will increase companies’ responsibilities. For example regarding information, shorter deadlines, and ensuring a predictable employment relationship. Among the proposed changes are:

  • Going forward, the employment contract must for example contain information on paid absence, education, social security, and unpredictable working time. Today this is not required.
  • Today, the written employment contract must be entered into within one month after commencement. Going forward, the written employment contract must be entered into within seven days.
  • Today, changes to the employment contract must be updated within one month after the change took effect. Going forward, the employment contract must be updated as soon as possible and no later than the day the changes take effect.
  • Today, permanent, full-time employment is the main rule. Going forward, the presumption is also permanent, full-time employment unless the employment contract states otherwise.
  • Today, probationary periods can be agreed on for up to six months regardless of the type of employment. Going forward, the probationary period for fixed-term employment cannot be more than half of the duration of the employment relationship. In any case, the probationary period cannot be more than six months.
  • Today, part-time employees have a preferential right to other positions and fixed-term employees are entitled to permanent employment after three or four years. Going forward, such employees will also be entitled to request more predictable forms of employment. The company must give a written answer to such requests within a month.

IUNO’s opinion

The proposed changes have not been adopted yet. Further, there is currently no suggested date for when the proposed changes will be applicable. However, it is likely a question of when and not if the proposed changes are adopted.

IUNO recommends that companies update their standard employment contracts to be ready for new hires and prepare the necessary information for the existing employees. This is recommended even if the existing employees do not request it. If the information is not given and the missing information leads to a dispute, the company will bear the risk of lack of clarity in the agreement.

[Proposal 130 L amending the Norwegian Working Environment Act of 16 June 2023]

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Etgen Reitz

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Aurora Braut Bache

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