Extension of rules for sickness benefits, work assessment allowance, unemployment benefits and entry quarantine
The Government has proposed extending schemes for sickness benefits, work assessment allowance, unemployment benefits and entry quarantine as part of the current crisis package.
The Government has proposed to prolong the extended right to sickness benefits in the event of infection or suspected infection until June 2021. This proposal means that employees, freelancers and the self-employed will be entitled to sickness benefits in the event of absence from work due to covid-19 or in the event of suspicion of such a disease. For the employer, the employer financing in the event of sick leave due to covid-19 will still be reduced from 16 to 3 days.
Work assessment allowance
The Government has proposed that jobseekers, who receive work assessment allowance, have their benefit period extended from 1 March to 30 June 2021. The background for the proposal is that many activities for recipients of work assessment allowance are still on hold, and that the opportunities of returning back to work are still reduced.
The previous extension only applied from 20 March 2020 to 31 October 2020. Jobseekers, who have lost the right to work assessment allowance after 31 October 2020, will now, according to the Government's proposal, be able to apply for work assessment allowance from 1 March 2021.
The Government has proposed that the lower income limit for entitlement to unemployment benefits be lowered from 1.5 G (NOK 152,026.50) to 0.75 G (NOK 76,013.25) the previous 12 months, or 2.25 G (NOK 253,377). 50) the previous 36 months. This applies to the temporarily laid off employees as well as the unemployed.
In addition, the Government proposes that the requirement for reduced working hours for entitlement to unemployment benefits be reduced from a minimum of 50% to a minimum of 40%. This means that the unemployment benefit does not lapse, unless a temporarily laid-off employee works more than 60% of previous working hours. The change will lead to more flexibility for both employers and employees.
These rules also applied for a period in 2020 but were discontinued on 1 November 2020 because there was an improvement in how the labour market developed. The Government has now proposed that the rules be reintroduced up to and including 30 June 2021.
The Government has proposed extending the scheme for reduced individual share for employers of NOK 500 per day for employees' stays in quarantine hotels upon entry into Norway. It is planned that the scheme will last until June 2021. The compensation scheme for employers' expenses related to the entry quarantine for foreign nationals is also proposed to be extended until April 2021. The extensions are based on the fact that the companies still need help to cover the additional costs related to salaries, accommodation and follow-up of foreign nationals who are in quarantine.