Author: Kristian Foss Aalmo
The main rule under Norwegian law is that employees must be permanently employed. To date, there have been five alternatives for temporary employment in Norway. This spring, the Norwegian Parliament has decided to revoke the general access to temporary employment in the Working Environment Act § 14-9 second paragraph f); this so-called “quota rule” means that employees can be employed temporarily for up to 12 months, without having to reference the specific conditions on the use of temporary contracts in the second paragraph of the provision a) to e).
Section 14-9. Permanent and temporary appointment
(1) An employee shall be appointed permanently. For the purposes of this Act, permanent appointment shall mean that the appointment is continuous and not time-limited, that the provisions of the Act concerning termination of employment apply and that the employee is ensured predictability of employment in the form of a clearly specified amount of paid working hours.
(2) Temporary appointment may nevertheless be agreed upon:
- when the work is of a temporary nature
- for work as a temporary replacement for another person or persons
- for work as a trainee
- with participants in labour market schemes under the auspices of or in cooperation with the Labour and Welfare Service
- with athletes, trainers, referees and other leaders within organised sports
- for a maximum period of twelve months. Such agreements may apply to a maximum of 15 per cent of the employees of the undertaking, rounded off upwards, but temporary appointment may be agreed upon with at least one employee.
The employer shall at least once a year discuss the use of temporary appointment pursuant to the provisions of this paragraph with the employees’ elected representatives, including the basis for and extent of such appointments and the consequences for the working environment.
The rule on general access to temporary employment has been subject to restrictions regarding the number of employees who can be employed on this basis as well as quarantine provisions. Research has shown that the alternative has been difficult to use, nor has it been used on a large scale by Norwegian employers. While the other alternatives have set out requirements with regard to the situation wherein temporary employment may be used, this alternative has been a general access to hire temporarily without as specific reason. The legislator’s decision is particularly reasoned on the grounds that the legal basis is contrary to the central principle of permanent employment. The change will enter into force on 1 July 2022. After 1 July 2022, employers must look for other alternatives for temporary employment, aside from the general access to employ temporarily.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
Employers must look for other alternatives for temporary employment, aside from the general access to employ temporarily. Sufficient reasons may be, for example, the need for temporary staff due to the absence of other employees or work that is of a temporary nature.