The PSA has strengthened its commitment to combating irresponsible employment practices and work-related crime, and is now supervising the use of temporary hires in the petroleum sector.

The PSA conducted four audits in 2021 concerning the use of temporary work agencies. These were directed at two large suppliers in the insulation, scaffolding and surface treatment (ISS) sector, a drilling contractor and an operator company.

Nonconformities from the regulations were identified in all the audits, including cases of both illegal hires and lack of systems/management.

None of the four companies audited had routines or systems which make it straightforward to ensure, or for the authorities to inspect, that a hire is legal and otherwise accords with the requirements of the Working Environment Act.

Orders were issued in two of the audits.

Illegal hires

Kaefer: The audit of ISS contractor Kaefer identified serious breaches of the provisions related to illegal use of personnel from temporary work agencies and deficiencies in routines for identifying, correcting and preventing breaches of these regulations.

Read more here: Order to Kaefer – use of temporary hires (20 August 2021)

This audit was followed up over several months.

Beerenberg: The audit of supplier company Beerenberg also resulted in an order after the PSA identified breaches of the regulations related to the routine for ensuring that a hiring is legal and the duty to discuss this.

Read more here: Order to Beerenberg – audit of hiring (14 February 2022)

Transocean: Notice of an order was given to drilling contractor Transocean following a PSA audit which identified nonconformities related to illegal hires from a temporary work agency and deficiencies in routines for identifying, correcting and preventing breaches of the regulations.

Read more here: Transocean Services – use of temporary hires (1 July 2021)

The order to Transocean was nevertheless not issued because the use of temporary hires had declined during the audit period and the company chose to take on about 130 people in its resource pool – personnel who it had otherwise planned to dismiss when the drilling assignment ended.

Aker BP: An audit of operator company Aker BP identified nonconformities related to the routine for ensuring that a hiring is legal and correct registration of an enterprise.

Read more here: Aker BP – audit of hiring (13 April 2021)

Audits in 2022

The PSA is continuing its follow-up of temporary hires in 2022.

Findings so far indicate that the companies need to be better informed about and pay more attention to the issue of hiring temporary workers.

Four audits similar to those last year are planned for 2022. Plans also call for two audits concentrated solely on company routines or systems in this area.

Those to be checked include a drilling contractor, an ISS supplier, two maintenance and modification specialists, another supplier and an operator company.

The PSA will also continue its good collaboration with the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority in this area.

What is temporary hire?

Temporary hire involves a worker employed by one enterprise doing work for another enterprise under the instruction and control of the latter. This is an exception from the general principal in Norwegian labour law of permanent employment.

More questions and answers about temporary hires

The scope of temporary hires, and particularly illegal ones, may not only have consequences for the individual person hired, but also affect pay and working conditions in general.

Safe and responsible employment

Supervising the regulations for temporary hires and equal treatment pursuant to the Working Environment Act forms part of the government’s efforts to ensure safe and responsible employment conditions.

The PSA was given extended authority in 2021 to supervise compliance with the terms for hiring personnel from temporary work agencies and the requirement for equal treatment of temporary workers.

Scope of temporary hires in the industry

In 2021, the PSA surveyed the use of temporary hires among operators and contractors/suppliers in the petroleum sector. 

This survey established that the scope was substantial:

  • no less than 77 per cent of the companies which responded (10 operators and 53 contractors) said they had hired temporary personnel in 2020
  • the average proportion of temporary hires exceeded five per cent at roughly half the enterprises
  • the proportion was above 10 per cent at almost three in 10 companies
  • it was higher than 20 per cent at one enterprise in 10.

No marked differences in the use of temporary hires were found between operator and contractor companies.

The survey shows that the scope of temporary hires was stable in 2018-20, but that variations existed in different part of the industry.

  • The share of temporary hires increased a little during 2018-20 in the operator segment, while it declined slightly in 2019-20 among contractors.
  • Trends in the ISS sector showed a significant reduction in temporary hires in 2020 compared with 2018-19. This is thought to reflect the coronavirus pandemic, which not only reduced the level of activity but also cut the supply of temporary foreign labour owing to the quarantine regulations.

Many players

The temporary hire market comprises a large number of players. Personnel had been hired from a total of 260 different companies by the 69 respondents to the PSA survey.

About 60 per cent of the providers were said to be temporary work agencies. A check showed by 40 per cent of these were not included in the Labour Inspection Authority’s register of such agencies.

How far this reflects a failure to register or that the hirer does not know the difference between an agency and a production company is unclear.