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Your rights at work regarding coronavirus

Do you have questions about Corona and how this affects your everyday work? Follow this page for up-to-date information on the consequences and Tekna's legal advice regarding employment law. 

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If you have any questions relating to your employment situation, contact Tekna’s help desk - [email protected] / 22 94 75 00 (members only)

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Exemption from Tekna fee if you're temporarily laid off

If you are temporarily laid off or out of work you can be exempt from the Tekna member fee and remain a member. This applies for both new and existing members. 

Temporary laid off personnel can be used when an employer is not able to use the resources of the workforce. During a temporary lay-off the individual employee is released from their duty to work in connection with a temporary reduction in or shut-down of operations. Your employer is not required to pay you while you are temporarily laid off.

It may be in the interests of both the employer and the employee for the employment relationship not to be brought to an end permanently through redundancy/dismissal with notice. The contract of employment remains in force during the temporary lay-off, which means that if it is to be brought to an end it will have to be terminated by one of the parties.

A temporary lay-off must be based on “reasonable grounds”, as a consequence of which the employer is unable to use the services of the employee in a way that is financially viable.

Fear of infection is not considered a reasonable ground. Applicable situations might be a lack of the input factors necessary in order to continue production, the absence of certain personnel without whom the services of other employees cannot be utilised, or the postponement of projects. The company must assess whether specific grounds exist for laying off personnel. The consequences of a temporary lay-off are that the individual employee will be released from the duty to work and the employer will be released from the duty to pay salary. After the expiry of the employer’s period (the initial period of the temporary lay-off during which the employer must continue to pay the employee’s salary) the employee will receive benefits from NAV.

If you are temporarily laid off, you will recive full pay from your employer for the first two days of the lay-off periode. For the next 18 days NAV will cover pay of up to six times the basic National Insurance amount, 6G. This is equivalent to approximately kr 600,000.

Beyond this, NAV will compensate loss of salary of up to 62.4 per cent of gross income up to six times the basic National Insurance amount. 

The Storting has agreed on new and important measures concerning temporary lay-offs .

  1. The employer’s period, i.e. employers duty to pay you full salary, is now two working days. This has been reduced from 15 days (working days, i.e. days on which the employee would normally have worked).
  2. Salary of up to 6 G will be paid for the next 18 days in the case of employees who are temporary laid off. NAV takes on responsibility for payment.
  3. The minimum level of pay to qualify for unemployment benefit is reduced to 0.75 G.
  4. A 40 per cent temporary lay-off has now been introduced. This is a reduction on the previous minimum requirement of a reduction of at least 50 per cent in working hours during a lay-off.
  5. The waiting days for unemployment benefit have been removed. NAV normally imposes a three-day waiting period for unemployment benefit. These three days have now been removed. This means that employees who are temporarily laid off, will receive unemployment benefit from the first day after the inital 20 days of salary.

The right to sick pay is regulated by the National Insurance Act and the assumption is that you must be unable to work because of sickness. This means that your right to sick pay will depend on your health situation.

Nevertheless, according to NHO (Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise), where an employee has been travelling on company service “it must be assumed that the general rule is that the employer must bear the risk of any absence from work resulting from this travel and should accordingly pay the employee salary, regardless of whether or not the employee in question qualifies for sick pay”.

On the question of absence from work after a holiday, the recommendation is that in the event of uncertainty advice should be sought from your general practitioner. You are entitled to a sick note if a doctor is of the view that you need to be kept in isolation because of possible infection with the coronavirus. This will also apply if the doctor is uncertain about whether the patient is in fact a source of infection. NAV may accept a sick note without a personal examination by a doctor in the case of infectious illnesses of significance for public health. 

Under the Working Environment Act you are entitled to leave of absence if a child or person responsible for the day-to-day care of a child is sick. The same applies not that schools and kindergartens are closed. Given the extraordinary situation currently prevailing, the government has now introduced 20 days of care allowance per parent per year. As a main rule, this applies for parents with children under the age of 12. At the same time, the employer’s period, i.e. the days in which the employer is responsible for paying salary during care leave, has been reduced from 10 days to 3 days. After that time, NAV takes over responsibility for payments. The care allowance is calculated on the basis of the same rules as sick pay and is subject to a ceiling of 6 G on payments from NAV. 1G – the basic National Insurance payment – is equivalent to NOK 99,858.

Many workplaces have schemes in place for welfare leave that may be regulated in collective agreements/personnel handbooks. Care allowance may also be paid

The authorities now recommend that in order to limit infection, everybody who is able to work from home should do so. Our view is that by virtue of their managerial prerogative, employers have the authority to order personnel to work from home in order to avoid infection, if this is in line with the advice of the Institute of Public Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The employee will as a general rule have a right to their ordinary salary as provided for in the contract of employment. 

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