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Your rights when laid off or unemployed

Do you have questions about what your rights are if you’re laid off or unemployed? Follow along on this page to get updated information about work-related information and Tekna’s services that can help you in your new life situation. 

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We can provide legal help

Questions regarding your work situation? 
Contact Tekna’s legal department: 

E-mail [email protected] /
Hotline +47 22 94 75 00.

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Exemption from membership fee

If you are laid off or unemployed, you will receive an exemption from the Tekna membership fee. This applies to both existing and new members.

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Layoffs (otherwise called ‘redundancies’) may be used when employers can’t use their employees’ labor. This means that an employee is released from work because of a temporary operational reduction or operational shutdown. Your employer doesn’t have to pay you any salary while you’re laid off. 

It may be in both the employer and employee’s best interest that their working relationship doesn’t end permanently because of a layoff. When someone is laid off, this relationship continues, meaning that it must be terminated by either employer or employee if it is to end permanently.  

Civil service employers are not allowed to lay their employees off, even if these employees have too little work to do as a consequence of a challenging situation. 

As a rule, layoffs in the civil service may only be considered in certain situations.  

In order for layoffs to occur, there must be a "legitimate reason" that makes the company unable to employ workers in a financially sound manner.  

While the fear of infection is not a legitimate reason, others include lacking vital elements that are necessary to maintain a production process, the absence of employees that prevents other employees from being hired, or projects that must be postponed.  

The company must evaluate if there is a legitimate reason for laying employees off. Consequences of layoffs are that employees are released from work and employers are released from paying them any salary.  After a certain period of time has passed, employees receive payments from NAV in the form of unemployment benefits.  

Civil service employers are not allowed to lay their employees off, even if the individual employee has too little work to do as a consequence of a challenging situation. 

An employer must pay the employee their full salary for 10 days after the layoff has gone into effect (obligatory payroll days). After you’ve applied for unemployment benefits, the next three days are  essentially an unpaid waiting period. After this period is over, you start receiving unemployment benefits from NAV if you’re entitled to them. While you’re waiting for your application to be processed, you can apply to be paid unemployment benefits in advance. 

Starting on 1 November 2020 you can be laid off for a period lasting 52 weeks over the course of 18 months. The government has proposed that the layoff period be extended until 1 July 2021 and that laid-off employees’ right to unemployment benefits be extended for this same period of time. 

No. After 20 April employers are no longer reimbursed from NAV for this type of payment. NHO has therefore recommended that employers no longer advance their employees’ unemployment benefits or pay days when layoffs are in effect. 

No, because when you’re laid off, your employer is released from having to pay you any salary and you are released from having to work for this salary, even though you’ll still have a work-related connection with your employer. This type of payment can also cause problems concerning your right to receive unemployment benefits.  

Your employment contract is a mutually binding agreement, and your salary is one of the elements that must be a part of this agreement. It’s based on the requirement of there being anagreementin place – and a revised agreement between you and your employer – in order for your salary to be reduced. This also means that your company representatives can’t make any agreement with your employer to reduce your salary, either. Read more about this here, or contact our legal department if you have any questions.  

Employees over 67 years of age are entitled to an age-related pension so are not entitled to receive unemployment benefits if laid off from work.  

Here’s a quote from AFP’s general agreement: If you’re laid off in accordance with the laws on redundancy pay, you’ll earn seniority in the AFP agreement provided that you would’ve done so anyway had you not been laid off. 

If no other decision’s been made in your company’s internal regulations, you are removed from the pension plan. However, your company may choose to keep its membership in the pension plan, which is very advantageous for employees. New rules have also been passed stating that employers can decide that their laid-off employees will be allowed to remain in the pension plan. This law in its present form applies until 30 June 2021. 

Employers are largely entitled to make decisions regarding when their employees take vacation and use comp time. In the current challenging financial times, employers in many places are deciding these points even more frequently in order to plan company operations and avoid layoffs.   

Using compensation time: 

Because there are no actual laws on how employees are to use their comp time, employers have the right to decide when employees can use it. But if this time has been regulated and appears in agreements or guidelines, these regulations must be followed.  

In cases where 2021 vacations have not been decided 

If an employee’s 2021 vacation hasn’t yet been decided or agreed upon by the employer/employee, the employer is largely entitled to decide when this vacation will be taken. This is especially true in cases of 1) carrying over vacation days from 2020 and 2) taking vacation beyond the standard three-week vacation. As regards the standard vacation, the rule in the Holiday Act states that an employee is entitled to take three consecutive weeks of vacation between 1 June – 30 September. 

According to the Holiday Act, when vacation days are being set, a two-month notice must be given «as long as there are no special reasons that prevent this notice being given”. Whether Corona is this type of «special reason» hasn’t yet been determined. But it’s assumed that this notification is an ordinance, which means that deciding vacation days with less than two months’ notice doesn’t invalidate this decision. Also, there’s nothing against having an employer and employee come to agreement to have a shorter notice period, for example to avoid or delay a layoff. 

In cases where 2021 vacation days have already been decided  

If 2021 vacation days have already been set or agreed upon, the employer has a more limited opportunity to make changes. According to the Holiday Act, an employer can change vacation days “if it’s necessary due to unforeseen events”. This may of course apply to the current situation, but the law emphasizes that “this kind of change can only be made when taking predetermined vacation days because of unforeseen events will create significant operational problems and no replacement may be found”. This is clearly aimed at delaying a planned vacation, where one of the requirements to be met is that no replacement can be found. 

Yes. When you take vacation days, you interrupt your lay-off period, and you’re entitled to receive vacation pay. The number of vacation days aren’t considered as part of the total lay-off period, either.

In consideration of the current situation during the Corona pandemic, we feel that your employer has both the right to ask you for information about your travel destination and deny you the right to travel if it goes against UD’s travel advisory, or for example forces you into quarantine upon your return. 

Yes.If this happens, your employer must pay you sickness pay for a certain period of time. When your layoff period starts, you’ll get sickness benefits from NAV instead of unemployment benefits. If you’re still laid off once you’ve recovered, you’ll get unemployment benefits from NAV. You can’t be laid off because you’re on sick leave; on the contrary, your employer can only take this step in accordance with layoff laws. 

Employees on parental leave don’t strain salary budgets in the same way as regular employees do, having already agreed that they aren’t going to be doing any paid work for a certain period of time. So Tekna feels that employees who are out on parental leave, or who are about to go on leave, should not be laid off. Employers should instead evaluate their reasons for laying these employees off (if it’s still necessary) when their leave is over. Contact our legal hotline if you receive a layoff notice when you’re on parental leave!  

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