Norway to allow companies to send staff home until next year

The Norwegian government said on Thursday that it would extend provisions allowing companies to send staff home from 26 to 52 weeks.

Norway to allow companies to send staff home until next year
Hotels are among businesses hard-hit by the coronavirus slowdown. Photo: AFP

That means people who were sent home in March (for example) as a result of closures due to the coronaviruses lockdown can now remain so until March 2021 before the company is obliged to let them go.

The purpose of the extension, which comes into effect from November 1st until June 2021, is to prevent people from losing their jobs due to the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the government said in a statement.

Sectors hardest hit by the corona crisis include tourism, export, the maritime sector, aviation and construction.

The announcement was first reported by VG.

“We saw before the summer that we would have to assess the situation with the economy until autumn, including to review lay-off rules,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said.

In a Norwegian context, ‘lay-off’ (permittering in Norwegian) means to temporarily, fully or partially release an employee from the obligation to work. Lay-offs under coronavirus rules are administered by Norway’s Labour and Welfare Administration, NAV.


“Now we have additionally received a letter from business representatives… asking for clarification and an extension of the lay-off rules to 52 weeks. That’s why we are making these changes now,” Solberg said.

Opposition parties as well as business interest organisations including the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise and the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions have called for the extension from 26 to 52 weeks of the provision, which was introduced in the spring in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Solberg also signalled an extra period for people sent home long-term. Companies would foot the bill for the extra period, she said.

“This must not become an obstacle to people getting back to work. We are concerned with ensuring employers actually assess whether they can keep on people who are sent home or whether their labour should be made available to others,” Solberg said to VG.



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Record job vacancies in Norway: Which sectors need workers?

During the first quarter of 2022, there were a record number of job vacancies in Norway available, but which sectors are most in need of workers?

Record job vacancies in Norway: Which sectors need workers?

Norway passed 100,000 job vaccines during the first three months of the year, figures from Statistics Norway have revealed.

Compared to the same period a year before, the number of job openings increased by 7.3 percent when the figures are adjusted for seasonal variation.

“The number of vacancies was a record high throughout 2021. This quarter we see a further increase, and the number of vacancies is now over 100,000, the highest in over ten years,” Tonje Køber, from the labour market and wages section at Statistics Norway, said.

Unemployment fell to its lowest level since 2009 in the first quarter, also, figures from the Labour Force Survey show. During the first quarter of 2022, unemployment in Norway was 3.1 percent.


Statistics Norway noted that construction was one of the industries with the highest number of vacancies, but the number of job openings was not yet back to pre-pandemic levels.

In the administration and support sectors, more than 11,200 vacancies were registered. Hospitality and accommodation was another sector with a high number of openings throughout the beginning of the year. Across these sectors, 7,000 vacancies were listed.

More than 6,000 openings were also reported for the comms and information sectors. The professional, scientific, and technical industries had just under 8,000 roles available during this period.

The technical and scientific professions were also the industries with the highest growth in the number of vacancies.

The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) has previously said Norway needs more skilled workers. 

“We now see a strengthened and persistent imbalance between the competence that employers demand and the competence that jobseekers offer,” director of labour and welfare at NAV, Hans Christian Holte, said in a report on unemployment published last month.