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Synne Lüthcke Lied
Tekna attorney Synne Lüthcke Lied

Advice and Tips

Temporary lay-off notices to be sent out in connection with possible strikes

Written by Synne Lüthcke Lied  Published: Apr. 20 2023

Many of our members are currently experiencing that their companies are sending out temporary lay-off notices in response to the possibility of strikes taking place in either the Front Runner settlement or their own company. What does this mean for you?

If you’ve received a notice, this doesn’t mean that you’re going to be laid off; in these situations, sending out notices about possible lay-offs is part of a company’s normal procedure.

Temporary lay-off notices may also be sent out by companies that find it necessary to lay off employees in spite of the fact that they haven’t been affected by ongoing strikes.

Whenever there’s a breakdown in central negotiations, the parties involved in collective bargaining must always negotiate with assistance from the National Mediator before employee organizations are allowed to go out on strike.

If the employee organizations can’t reach agreement through mediation, the organization may use a strike as a means of leveraging their demands. It’s common for both sides to spend the time up to the mediated deadline reviewing and finding solutions. A strike isn’t normally put in motion before the National Mediator’s deadline has expired.

What does this mean for you?

Only members of unions that have broken with negotiations and gone through mediation can be selected by their union to go out on strike.

At the same time, other employees might be affected if their co-workers go on strike; this is because strikes often have negative consequences for a company’s ability to maintain normal operations. This can lead to a situation where non-striking employees aren’t able to perform their work tasks, which in turn can result in the company’s need to lay employees off.

No matter what, it’s important to remember that the basic conditions for lay-offs remain in place; in other words, companies must have objective grounds for laying employees off.

What’s important for you to remember if you’ve received a temporary lay-off notice?

1. Notice of temporary lay-off

A general notice of temporary lay-offs that companies send out before a strike is not a sufficient reason for laying employees off.

If the need for laying employees off arises because of a strike, the company must also send out a temporary lay-off notice to the individual employee being laid off. This notice must contain an explanation of why the employee’s being laid off (objective grounds) and the starting date for the lay-off. This notice may be given with a deadline less than 14 days (which is normally the case with regular lay-offs).

2. Unemployment benefits

You can’t qualify for unemployment benefits if you’ve been laid off because of a strike, lockout or other labor dispute at your workplace, and your wage and/or working conditions are considered to be affected by the dispute.

You might qualify for unemployment benefits from your first day of being laid off when there’s a strike in either your own company or another company. You’re only entitled to receive unemployment benefits if your wage and working conditions won’t be affected by the strike’s outcome. Also, you won’t receive wages from your employer during the first 15 days after being laid off (the same as regular lay-offs).

3. If you don’t qualify for unemployment benefits

If you’re denied unemployment benefits as a result of being laid off due to a strike, Tekna can compensate you for the loss of income for the same amount you’d receive in unemployment benefits. Yet please note that you have to apply for unemployment benefits from NAV first; then, if you receive a notification from NAV that you’ve been denied unemployment benefits, make sure to contact Tekna’s legal department at  [email protected]

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