The Norwegian labour authorities have tightened the rules for hiring workers from temporary employment agencies.

The change, which was announced last month, will enter into force on 1 April 2023, and could have a major impact on employers who use temporary agency workers. The purpose of the amendment is to reinforce that permanent and direct employment is the main rule in Norwegian employment.

The most central change is that it will generally no longer be permitted to hire workers from staffing companies for work of a temporary nature. It will still be possible to enter into a time-limited agreement with the union shop stewards regarding temporary hiring, as long as the business is bound by a collective agreement entered into with a trade union with the legal right to object. Employers will also be able to hire workers from production companies.  Transitional rules will be provided for employment leasing agreements and assignment contracts that were entered into before the new rules entered into force. This also applies where binding offers have been submitted before the entry into force.

Furthermore, the new provision codifies the assessment of whether there is an assignment agreement between two businesses (contract) or a personnel rental relationship. The purpose of the new provision is to clarify the boundary between hiring and contracting so that these relationships receive the correct classification, which is of great importance for the rights and obligations of the employer and the worker.

In addition, there are various regulations that are being prepared that will also come into force with effect from 1 April 2023. One regulation deals with a proposal to ban hiring from staffing companies for construction work on construction sites in Oslo, Viken and the former Vestfold county. This will have great significance for both the staffing industry and the construction industry in Eastern Norway.

The second regulation, which is currently being drawn up, allows for time-limited hiring of health personnel to ensure proper operation of the health and care service. A second proposed exception concerns the time-limited hiring of specialist expertise in clearly defined projects. This can be very important for businesses that currently use consultants and advisors hired from staffing companies, and who would have been prevented from doing this after the new rules precluding access to temporary hiring from staffing companies enter into force. However, this exception will only apply to specialist competence, which means that the person must have specialized knowledge or expertise within a given subject area. The scope is also limited to what is traditionally referred to as advisory or consulting activities. The exception is intended to be narrow, but can prove to be very important in practice. It must concern professional expertise or specialist competence that the business itself cannot be expected to possess, and the work must have a clear demarcation and a natural conclusion. The nature of the work must also be somewhat different from what the business normally does.

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