You’ve lost your job in Norway due to coronavirus. Now what?

You've lost your job in Norway due to coronavirus. Now what?
Nav's offices in Hamar back in 2007. Photo: Thomas Andersen/Wikimedia Commons
So, it's happened. You are one of the more than 200,000 people in Norway who have lost their jobs due to coronavirus. Here's what you need to do.

Firstly, you are not alone. Norway now has the highest unemployment rate since World War II

And luckily for you, the Norwegian government has changed its unemployment regulation so that those temporarily or permanently laid off will receive better benefits faster than normal. 

If you are temporarily laid off, the government will give you your full salary up to a maximum of nearly 600,000 Norwegian kroner a year (six times basic income), from the 3rd day of your suspension until the 20th day, which will hopefully cover much of the coronavirus lockdown. 

This applies from March 20, but Nav only expects to be able to start making payments this week at the earliest. 

The Norwegian government will begin paying your salary from the second day that your job is suspended, rather than the 15th day, as is normally the case. 

If your hours are reduced, you will start receiving benefit as soon as they are reduced by 40 percent, whereas in normal times the threshold would be 50 percent. 

If you are permanently laid off, you will be entitled to 80 percent of your previous wage up to about 300,000 kroner, and then 62.4 percent of what you previously earned up to 600,000 kroner.

This is pretty generous.  

If you still live in Norway and have been permanently laid off: 

Register as unemployed with the Norwegian Welfare Administration (Nav).

You should apply to Nav as soon as possible. You either apply here with a bankID, Buypass or Commfides, or ring this number +47 5555 3333. Nav has produced a guide in English here

If you still live in Norway and have been temporarily laid off or had your hours reduced by 40 percent or more: 

You should also apply to Nav as soon as possible. You either apply here with a bankID, Buypass or Commfides, or ring this number +47 5555 3333.

Even if you are still waiting for a reply from Nav, you must send a 'report card' updating your situation every 14 days by filling in this form

You should also register your CV with Nav here, and make sure the correct account number is registered with Nav. 

If you worked in Norway but travelled back to another EEA country weekly or more:

Some British workers in the Norwegian oil industry return back to their home country weekly or more, qualifying as “cross-border workers”. There are also people who live in Sweden, Finland or Denmark who work across the border in Norway.

If you have your hours reduced, you are temporarily laid off or your employer is bankrupt, you must apply for unemployment benefits from Norway (see above). 

If you lose your job completely, you must apply for unemployment benefits where you live. 
 
You have worked in Norway and returned home to another EEA country less than once a week: 
 
Apply for benefits in Norway (see above). 
 
You live in Norway but work in another EEA country and have lost your job: 
 
You must register as unemployed with the Norwegian Welfare Administration (Nav) (see above). You may only qualify for unemployment benefits if your employer is also registered in Norway, or if you are move to a spouse in Norway, or have lost a job in another Nordic country. 
 
Here is Nav's information sheet in English for those working in another EEA country. 
 
You work outside Norway but your Norwegian employer has gone bankrupt 
 
According to Nav, you can apply for guaranteed pay, and advances on guaranteed pay in the form of unemployment benefits from Norway, regardless of your country of residence.

 
You are self-employed and can no longer work because of coronavirus
 
As part of the Norwegian government's coronavirus aid package, the self-employed are entitled to 80 percent of the average of their last three year's income up to a maximum of six times basic income (600,000 NOK). This payment starts from the 17th day after income dropped. 
 
You can also claim childcare benefits from the 4th day you are stuck at home, which wouldn't be possible for self-employed people normally. So far, however, these schemes do not seem to be up and running. In the meantime, you can claim income protection from Nav. 
 
If you employ your spouse as a small business, you cannot lay him or her off and claim government pay. If you are the sole employee of your own company, though, you can lay your self off and claim unemployment benefit. 
 
You can see Nav's guide for the self-employed during the coronavirus lockdown here.


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