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Unemployment benefits and your rights

Written by Tekna’s legal department Mar. 2 2021

Unemployment benefits are designed to partially compensate you for loss of income when you’ve been laid off or are unemployed.

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits, you have to meet the following requirements:

  • You have to stay in Norway while receiving benefits (exceptions to this rule may be found on NAV’s website)
  • Your position must’ve been reduced by at least 50% – or at least 40% if you’ve been laid off
  • You must’ve earned an employment income of at least NOK 76,013 (0.75 G) over the past 12 months, or NOK 228,040 (2.25 G) over the past 36 months.

Unemployment benefits and severance pay

You’re not entitled to receive unemployment benefits during periods when you’re entitled to receive a salary.

You’re not entitled to unemployment benefits during a notice period. With respect to severance pay, NAV regards this as an ongoing benefit, even if it’s a lump-sum payment. For instance, if you’ve gotten severance pay that’s equivalent to 6 months of your salary, you won’t be entitled to receive unemployment benefits before this period is over.

In the event of bankruptcy, you can receive unemployment benefits in advance while you’re waiting for coverage from the government’s guaranteed wage plan. Upon receiving your completed application, Tekna can also advance this payment as an alternative to unemployment benefits.

Waiting period

You won’t receive any payment during the first three days of your unemployment benefits period because this is considered a waiting period. Tekna can provide you with a fixed sum of NOK 1,500 during this time. If you’ve been laid off or are unemployed and have applied for unemployment benefits, you can apply for ‘waiting period compensation’ from Tekna by sending in a completed application form to: kontingent@tekna.no

If it is you who has handed in your notice, the general rule is that you must wait for 18 weeks (the required waiting period) before receiving unemployment benefits from NAV.

If you handed in your notice because the alternative was being given notice by your employer, you have to make sure that you can provide documentation for this action. If you do so, you won’t have to wait 18 weeks before receiving unemployment benefits. Your employer should be able to provide you with a note that explains why the employment relationship is ending. You should include this documentation with your unemployment benefits application to NAV.

Retroactive unemployment benefits

You can’t apply for unemployment benefits retroactively. Even if you would’ve been entitled to unemployment benefits for a longer period prior to you signing up for unemployment, you can’t receive unemployment benefits afterwards. So apply as soon as you’re entitled to receive benefits.

Minimum income requirements

In order to be entitled to unemployment benefits, you must’ve earned an employment income of at least NOK 76,013 kroner (0.75 G) over the past 12 months or NOK 228,040 (2.25 G) over the past 36 months.

Parental benefits, maternity benefits and prenatal-related sickness benefits are also included. Income from self-employment is not included.

If you’re an apprentice or have recently completed compulsory military service, you may be entitled to unemployment benefits regardless of your previous income.

Maximum amount for unemployment benefits

Unemployment benefits are calculated according what you earned during a base period, which is the twelve previous calendar months before the date on which your application was submitted. The total amount equals your gross income earned during this base period. Or an average of your net income over the previous 36 months if this produces a higher total amount. However, NAV has set a monetary cap on income over 6G (NOK 608,106), which is not included in this calculation.

Calculating unemployment benefits:

80 % of your income under NOK 304,053 (3 G)

62.4 % of your income between NOK 304,053 (3 G) and NOK 608,106 (6 G)

As a result of the Corona situation, you’ll temporarily receive a higher amount of unemployment benefits. However, after 1 October 2021 you’ll receive 62.4 % of your income up to NOK 608,106 (6 G), which is the same amount as before the Corona situation.

You can also receive a children’s allowance for each child under your care.

You receive unemployment benefits for five days each week.

Obligation to be an active job seeker

You can lose your right to receive unemployment benefits if you refuse to accept an employment offer with no valid reason for doing so. Usually, pursuing academic studies or establishing your own business cause you to lose your right to receive unemployment benefits because you’re not regarded as an active job seeker. However, exceptions to these rules have been made during the pandemic.

Tekna has fought for a long time to make it possible for individuals to combine their academic studies with unemployment benefits – and has won a temporary victory: Up to 1 July 2021, you can combine your studies with unemployment benefits provided you have no loan from the Norwegian State Educational Load Fund (Lånekassen). If you’re receiving a loan from Lånekassen, you can apply to receive unemployment benefits while studying. Read more about these regulations on NAV’s website.

If you’re self-employed, you can apply to NAV to receive compensation for loss of income.

How long can you receive unemployment benefits?

Due to the Corona situation, there are several temporary regulations in place that give you the right to receive unemployment benefits up to 30 September 2021 regardless of how long you’ve already been receiving them.

Length of unemployment benefits (NAV): If you’re unemployed and have earned an employment income of NOK 202, 702 kroner (2 G) or more over the past year (or on average over the past 3 years), you can receive unemployment benefits for up to 2 years (104 weeks).

  • If you’re unemployed and have earned a lower employment income than NOK 202,702 (2 G) over the past year (or on average over the past 3 years), you can receive unemployment benefits for up to 1 year (52 weeks).
  • If you’ve been recently discharged from the military, you can receive unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks.

Parental benefits, maternity benefits and prenatal-related sickness benefits are considered employment income. Income from self-employment is not considered employment income.

Tekna’s services for members who are unemployed or laid off

It’s important to remember the following: If you’ve first been laid off and then dismissed from your job, you have to use the same unemployment benefits base period. This is why Tekna encourages everyone who’s been laid off for a long period of time to apply for jobs. Don’t wait too long!

Do you want inspiration and job search tips? We can offer you a wide selection of streaming content and courses if you’re laid off or unemployed.

Tekna covers your waiting period for unemployment benefits and can provide you with financial support if you don’t meet the requirements for unemployment benefits.
We also offer dues exemption for unemployed and laid off members.

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