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HR Legal

The temporary layoff period is extended until 1 November 2021

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calendar 21 September 2021
globus Norway

Many companies have been affected by coronavirus and the national restrictions introduced as a consequence. For many companies this has meant having to temporarily lay off employees over a longer period. The Norwegian government has previously increased the maximum temporary layoff period from 26 to 52 weeks and is now proposing to extend the period until 1 November 2021. The proposal aims to prevent unnecessary terminations in light of the vaccine.

Normally, employees can only be temporarily laid off for 26 weeks. However, in November 2020, the Norwegian government extended the temporary layoff period to 52 weeks to avoid unemployment. For employees who have been temporarily laid off since March 2020, the maximum temporary layoff period will soon expire, which might lead to terminations.

However, the Norwegian government has started vaccinations against coronavirus, and vaccines will gradually become available for everyone. This will result in fewer restrictions and may lead to more temporarily laid off employees being able to return to the workplace. To prevent unnecessary terminations, the Norwegian government therefore proposed to extend the maximum temporary layoff period until 1 July 2021.

Although there is a consensus of an increased temporary layoff period, the opposition in the Norwegian parliament has asked the Norwegian government to extend the period for the purpose of predictability, until 1 October 2021. The parliament’s proposal was adopted on 19 February 2021, and will apply for employees who have 35 weeks or less left of the temporary layoff period as of 1 February 2021.

On 8 September 2021, the Norwegian government decided to prolong the temporary lay off period until 1 November 2021. The extension also includes the temporary measure of unemployment benefits when employees are temporarily laid off 40 % or more and the temporary increase in unemployment benefits.

IUNOs opinion

Temporary layoffs can be a positive alternative to terminations, both for the company and its employees, as the employment relationship remains, and the economic aspect is put on hold. By the end of the temporary layoff period, the employees will keep their position, and the company can resume work functions without needing to hire new employees.

Even if temporary layoffs can be a positive alternative, the conditions for temporary layoffs must be met. The conditions include that, a temporary layoff requires a just cause, there must be a need for work stoppage, and this need must be due to the company’s conditions. Further, the conditions that justify the temporary layoffs must be temporary. All conditions must be met throughout the whole temporary layoff period.

IUNO recommends that companies enters into discussions with its employee representatives on the need for both new temporary layoffs and continued temporary layoffs, even if not required under a collective bargaining agreement. This is especially recommended where only some employees are being temporarily laid off because this entails an assessment of which employees to include and exclude.

[Regulation on the duty of payment during temporary layoffs of 19 February 2021]

Normally, employees can only be temporarily laid off for 26 weeks. However, in November 2020, the Norwegian government extended the temporary layoff period to 52 weeks to avoid unemployment. For employees who have been temporarily laid off since March 2020, the maximum temporary layoff period will soon expire, which might lead to terminations.

However, the Norwegian government has started vaccinations against coronavirus, and vaccines will gradually become available for everyone. This will result in fewer restrictions and may lead to more temporarily laid off employees being able to return to the workplace. To prevent unnecessary terminations, the Norwegian government therefore proposed to extend the maximum temporary layoff period until 1 July 2021.

Although there is a consensus of an increased temporary layoff period, the opposition in the Norwegian parliament has asked the Norwegian government to extend the period for the purpose of predictability, until 1 October 2021. The parliament’s proposal was adopted on 19 February 2021, and will apply for employees who have 35 weeks or less left of the temporary layoff period as of 1 February 2021.

On 8 September 2021, the Norwegian government decided to prolong the temporary lay off period until 1 November 2021. The extension also includes the temporary measure of unemployment benefits when employees are temporarily laid off 40 % or more and the temporary increase in unemployment benefits.

IUNOs opinion

Temporary layoffs can be a positive alternative to terminations, both for the company and its employees, as the employment relationship remains, and the economic aspect is put on hold. By the end of the temporary layoff period, the employees will keep their position, and the company can resume work functions without needing to hire new employees.

Even if temporary layoffs can be a positive alternative, the conditions for temporary layoffs must be met. The conditions include that, a temporary layoff requires a just cause, there must be a need for work stoppage, and this need must be due to the company’s conditions. Further, the conditions that justify the temporary layoffs must be temporary. All conditions must be met throughout the whole temporary layoff period.

IUNO recommends that companies enters into discussions with its employee representatives on the need for both new temporary layoffs and continued temporary layoffs, even if not required under a collective bargaining agreement. This is especially recommended where only some employees are being temporarily laid off because this entails an assessment of which employees to include and exclude.

[Regulation on the duty of payment during temporary layoffs of 19 February 2021]

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Anders

Etgen Reitz

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Aurora Braut Bache

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