It is the employer's responsibility to carry out any required adjustments in their existing agreements and procedures. For many employers, now is the time to review and revise employment contracts and procedures.
The term "permanent employment" is defined and specified in the Norwegian Working Environment Act (the "Act") as follows:
Permanent employment means that the employment is continuous and not limited in time, that the legal rules on termination of employment shall apply, and that an employee is ensured predictability in his/her work in the form of an actual scope of work.
Agreements in the form of "permanent employment without guaranteed pay" or "zero-hour contracts" may no longer be used. The employee is entitled to a guaranteed minimum scope of work ensuring predictability concerning working hours and place of work. The employment must be "continuous and not limited in time". There is no minimum requirement for scope of work, however the rights and obligations must be specified in the employment agreement e.g. in terms of number of working hours per week or similar.
For agreements entered into before 1 January 2019, there will be a six month transition period for implementing any necessary changes in the agreements.
Extended rights for claiming permanent employment
Temporary employees are granted extended rights for claiming permanent employment. According to the current rules, an employee who has been continuously employed in a temporary position, may claim permanent employment after three years. If the work has been of a temporary nature, permanent employment may be claimed after four years. Under the new rules, an employee who has been continuously (temporarily) employed based on a combination of the two abovementioned conditions, may claim permanent employment after three years.
Hiring from manpower agencies
The access for companies bound by collective bargain agreements to enter into an agreement with union representatives/trade unions on time limited hiring-in of personnel from manpower agencies, irrespective of whether the terms for temporary employment pursuant to the Act are met, has been restricted. The amendment entails that only unions with nomination rights (minimum 10,000 members) may enter into such agreements.
For businesses in which such agreements have already been entered into with trade unions that do not have nomination rights, the new provisions will apply from 1 July 2019.
Part time employees' preferential rights
As a result of the Supreme Court ruling of 2016 (HR-2016-867-A), in which the majority concluded that part time employees' preferential rights do not include the right to claim only part of a vacant position, a new provision has been passed. Section 14-3 of the Act states that such preferential rights may also apply to a part of a position.
This change entails e.g. that an employee in a 60 per cent position, may claim preferential right to 40 per cent of an advertised 100 per cent position in order to fill up his/her own position. The condition is that such preferential rights may be carried out without significant disadvantage to the employer.