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Synne Bjørvik Staalen
Tekna attorney Synne Bjørvik Staalen explains what the new regulations for hiring temporary employees means for you and your company.


Restricting companies’ rights to hire temporary employees

Published: Mar. 13 2023

Requirements for hiring temporary employees from staffing agencies will be tightened starting on 1 April; the main regulation requires permanent employment with few exceptions. So how do these new regulations apply to you?

In autumn of 2022, after a long process to which Tekna and other parties in the work sector provided input, Parliament adopted new regulations for hiring temporary employees from staffing agencies. Starting on 1 April, the new rules will gradually be enforced; as a result, companies’ right to hire temporary workers will be tightened up. Tekna attorney Synne Bjørvik Staalen explains what these new regulations mean for companies and employees alike.

Why are the rules changing for hiring temporary employees?

– This fall Parliament passed stricter laws for hiring temporary employees from staffing agencies. The main goal with this is to reduce the number of temporary hires and increase permanent employment.

Here are three important changes:

  • End access to hiring workers «when the work is of a temporary nature», for example seasonal work or work stoppage
  • Strengthen temporary workers’ right to permanent employment in the hiring organization after three years
  • Make a distinction between laws on temporary hiring and those on staffing to avoid having temporary hiring be «disguised» as staffing

What do these changes involve?

– This regulatory change stops companies that are using temporary hires from staffing agencies as a permanent staffing strategy at the cost of direct and permanent hiring. The government has among other things argued that when companies offer their employees permanent positions, they also invest more in their professional development, thereby making it easier for companies to recruit young people.

Are there any exceptions to this temporary hire rule?

– Yes, the new rules state that exceptions will be made for healthcare personnel and specialists for temporary jobs that require unique expertise.

The exception for healthcare personnel was made to ensure the proper operation of healthcare services. The second exception is for consultants with unique expertise not held by the organization who are hired on a temporary basis. A typical example of this is an IT consultant who’s been hired to work on a temporary assignment.

Permanent employment is the main goal.

What does Tekna say about temporary hires?

– As a trade union Tekna has supported the tightening of regulations for temporary hires made by staffing agencies, which makes it more difficult for companies to hire temporary workers instead of offering them permanent employment. The main goal is permanent employment; organizations to the highest degree possible are to develop their own expertise. At the same time, it’s important that we don’t get legislation so broadly written that it works against its purpose.

It’s therefore important to note that the government has made an exception for expertise. This could be decisive for many organizations, since this type of employee competency is usually expensive to develop, and the need for this kind of expertise is often temporary as well. We feel that Tekna has been heard on this issue, including that the maximum time limit for temporary hires has been set at three years. After this point, an employee can demand that their employer offer them permanent employment.

Can dispensations from temporary hire rules be given?

– It’s possible for an employer and union representative to sign a separate contract on expanded use of temporary hires from a staffing agency. Before this can be done, the organization must have a collective bargaining agreement with a trade union that has a minimum of 10,000 members. The reasoning behind this type of contract is that local employers and representatives often have the best ability to meet the needs of their own permanent- and temporary employees.

When these kinds of contracts are signed, it’s important to point out that
1) the main goal is permanent employment,
2) contracts for temporary hires are time-limited, and
3) contracts are brought up regularly for discussion.

Tekna has created an online course for representatives on this issue, and encourages representatives to contact Tekna’s attorneys before signing these contracts.

If you have any questions about temporary hiring, please contact Tekna at [email protected]

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