New rules will restrict the use of hired workers substantially, and part time workers' rights will be strengthened.

Employment law: This year's legislative changes, and a review of the coming changes.

| Insight

Since the new government took office in October 2021, it has made a number of changes in the employment legislation in order to reinforce the employees' rights. The new government's legislative proposals indicate that employers will have to settle for even more changes in 2023.

During 2022, the government has, among other things, made these legal amendments:

  • Removal of the general right to employ someone temporarily up to one year
  • Trade unions that have members in a company that use hired workers from a temp agency can start legal proceedings against the employer about the legality of hiring.
  • Revised home office regulations

You can read more about these changes here.

The Supreme Court has also contributed to the further development of employment law. The Supreme Court delivered a judgment (HR-2022-390-A) in a case on the employer’s obligation to facilitate for employees with reduced capacity to work due to illness or the like. The case is of principal importance because it clarifies that the obligation to facilitate does not imply that an employer is obliged to make permanent changes in the organizational or position structure of the company unless there are significant reasons.

Furthermore, the government will continue to restrict the employer’s access to other forms of employment. Firstly, it has been proposed to make significant restrictions regarding hiring workers from temp agencies by removing the access to hiring workers from temp agencies if the work is of «temporary nature» and further prohibit hiring from temp agencies for construction works in Oslo, Viken and Vestfold.

To reduce the impact of this new rule somewhat, the government has proposed that temporary hiring of health personnel and employees with specialized skills who will perform consultancy and consultancy services shall still be permitted. Since special expertise can be acquired through experience, it will be interesting to see how much this alternative will be used in practice, and maybe this exception will be the new general rule on hiring workers? The amendment of the law enters into force on 1 April 2023.

The government has also proposed to give part-time employees preferential right to a full-time position instead of hiring a new employee or hiring work from a temp agency. The same priority right for part-time employees also applies to extra shifts and the like. The amendment of the law enters into force on 1 January 2023.

The preferential right will also be extended for employees in a downsizing process. According to a new proposal, an employer must firstly assess, when downsizing, whether there is other suitable work not only in the company, but also within the group that the company is part of. Furthermore, an employee who is dismissed due to the company’s circumstances, typically redundancies, will have a preferential right to vacant positions they’re considered qualified to within the whole Group, should any of the Group companies have a vacant/new position within one year after the date of the termination of the employment.

Furthermore, the government has made a proposal to ensure fair working conditions for employees by imposing obligations on the employers to provide information on the essential aspects of their relationship with employees, hereunder right to contract on day one including specific terms and more predictability on work schedules. This is to implement the Directive (EU) 2019/1152.

If you, as an employer, have any questions or need assistance to act in accordance with the new rules, please reach out to us, as we are ready to help you.

Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year!

From the Employment Law Team at Simonsen Vogt Wiig