LO and NHO have agreed on temporary changes to the temporary layoff rules
On 15 April 2021, LO and NHO agreed on a temporarily extended interruption period for temporary layoff from 6 to 10 weeks. The change will last until 30 September 2021 and makes it easier and less risky for employers to take temporarily laid-off employees back to work.
1. What is the change about?
The changes mean that the so-called «interruption period» in the Main Agreement § 7 - 3 no. 7, i.e., the period during which temporarily laid-off employees can work without the layoff being interrupted, is extended from 6 to 10 weeks. This means that temporarily laid-off employees can be taken back to work for up to 10 weeks before a new employer period occurs, a new requirement for temporary lay-off notice occurs and a new requirement for an application for unemployment benefits occurs.
2. Which companies can use the changed rules?
Extended interruption period presupposes that there is a local agreement protocol between the parties to the redundancy, i.e., between the specific employer and the employees' representatives, that the Main Agreement's rules on seniority have been followed.
3. Confirmation from the Government
In addition to the above, the protocol between LO and NHO presupposes that there is confirmation from the Government of:
- that it shall not affect the employees if they are taken back to work with regard to waiting days,
- that it is not necessary to apply for unemployment benefits again in the event of a new temporary layoff,
- that the Government automatically ensures that NAV immediately starts payment in the event of a new temporary layoff,
- that unemployment benefits are paid from the first day after the end of the work period of up to 10 weeks, and
- that the work period is not included in the maximum period for temporary layoff.
The Government has confirmed the above, and that the rules on unemployment benefits will not be changed to the disfavour of companies or employees.
4. What about companies that are not organized?
As the prerequisite for using the changed rules is that there is a local agreement protocol that the Main Agreement's seniority rules have been followed, it can be asked whether the extended interruption period will apply to non-organized enterprises. However, the temporary layoff rules for non-organized enterprises are largely based on the provisions of the Main Agreement, and there is therefore reason to believe that the extended interruption period will also apply to such enterprises. Whether this will be the case in practice remains to be seen.