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New rules on part-time employment are in force

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Legal news
calendar 8 January 2023
globus Norway

New rules came with the new year. Last year, the Norwegian parliament changed the rules on part-time employment. The new rules came into force on 1 January 2023 and included full-time employment as the main rule in Norwegian work life making part-time employment the exception.  

The Norwegian parliament has adopted new rules to make full-time employment the main rule in Norwegian working life making part-time employment the exception.

This is because full-time employment in many cases will increase employees’ participation, security, and predictability. In addition, a full-time position will often be necessary for employees to provide for themselves based on their income. A high number of part-time positions are filled by female employees, which can also affect gender roles and gender equality.

New documentation requirement

With the changes, the Norwegian parliament introduced new duties for the company and new employee rights. The changes include:

  • Full-time employment is the main rule in the Norwegian Working Environment Act.
  • Companies must discuss and document the need for part-time employment with the employee representatives before new employees are employed part-time rather than full-time.
  • Part-time employees have increased preferential rights. The right also applies with extra shifts and similar occasions, typically in situations where the company otherwise would employ temporary agency workers. Part-time employees previously only had a preferential right to suitable, increased- and full-time positions in the company.

IUNO’s opinion

The duty to document a need for part-time employment is only meant to make the company assess whether part-time employment is necessary. As such, employee representatives will not have the power to decide whether part-time is necessary or whether the provided documentation is sufficient.

IUNO recommends that companies assess whether measures would make full-time employment possible. The assessment should be carried out individually for each employee, as there can be a need for part-time employment for both the company’s and the employees’ side. This can, for example, be where an employee has to work part-time due to illness or the company has variable staffing needs.

[The Norwegian Working Environment Act of 1 January 2023]

The Norwegian parliament has adopted new rules to make full-time employment the main rule in Norwegian working life making part-time employment the exception.

This is because full-time employment in many cases will increase employees’ participation, security, and predictability. In addition, a full-time position will often be necessary for employees to provide for themselves based on their income. A high number of part-time positions are filled by female employees, which can also affect gender roles and gender equality.

New documentation requirement

With the changes, the Norwegian parliament introduced new duties for the company and new employee rights. The changes include:

  • Full-time employment is the main rule in the Norwegian Working Environment Act.
  • Companies must discuss and document the need for part-time employment with the employee representatives before new employees are employed part-time rather than full-time.
  • Part-time employees have increased preferential rights. The right also applies with extra shifts and similar occasions, typically in situations where the company otherwise would employ temporary agency workers. Part-time employees previously only had a preferential right to suitable, increased- and full-time positions in the company.

IUNO’s opinion

The duty to document a need for part-time employment is only meant to make the company assess whether part-time employment is necessary. As such, employee representatives will not have the power to decide whether part-time is necessary or whether the provided documentation is sufficient.

IUNO recommends that companies assess whether measures would make full-time employment possible. The assessment should be carried out individually for each employee, as there can be a need for part-time employment for both the company’s and the employees’ side. This can, for example, be where an employee has to work part-time due to illness or the company has variable staffing needs.

[The Norwegian Working Environment Act of 1 January 2023]

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Etgen Reitz

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Aurora Braut Bache

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