What is a temporary hire?

A temporary hire means that a worker employed by one undertaking does work for another undertaking under the instructions and control of the latter. This represents an exception from the general Norwegian rule that employment must be permanent.

What does permanent employment mean?

The employment is not time-limited.

Are there exceptions from the general rule on permanent employment?

The exceptions are temporary employment and temporary hire, which are legal providing the provisions of the Norwegian Working Environment Act are fulfilled.

What is the difference between temporary employment and temporary hire?

With temporary employment, a worker is employed directly by an undertaking for a limited period or for a specific job.

With temporary hire, the work is done at a different undertaking from the one which employs the worker.

Who can provide temporary hires?

A distinction is made between hiring from a temporary work agency and from an undertaking which does not have the provision of temporary hires as its object (“production company”). Legal provisions differ between these two types.

What is a temporary work agency?

An undertaking which offers personnel for temporary hire and is registered as a temporary work agency in the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority’s register.

When is it legal to hire from a temporary work agency?

  • when the work is temporary
  • as a temporary replacement for another worker
  • for work as a trainee
  • for a participant in a labour market scheme under the auspices of the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service (NAV). See section 14.9 (2) of the Working Environment Act
  • when an agreement has been entered into with a union of a certain size. See section 14.12 (2) of the Working Environment Act.

What is meant by “the work is temporary”?

A detailed assessment has to be conducted, where emphasis must be given to the following:

  • whether the work required has a fixed duration
  • whether the temporary nature of the work is necessary or whether special expertise or specific qualifications are required for a limited period – in other words, work peaks of limited duration
  • whether the work is seasonal or whether ordinary work assignments have increased sharply for a time.

In such cases, temporary hires can be utilised.

BUT if 

  • there is a steady flow of assignments, with many similar projects following each other 

or

  • the work to be done by a temporary hire will continue beyond the end of the hire period

or

  • a permanent requirement exists for extra labour,

temporary hires may not be used. 

What is meant by a “temporary replacement”

A temporary replacement is a person who in actual fact carries out work normally done by one or more other people. It is not sufficient simply to call an employment status “temporary replacement”.

What pay and conditions does a temporary agency worker have a right to?

A temporary agency worker has the right to receive at least the same pay and working conditions which a permanent employee at the hirer would have received. This is called equal treatment, and ensuring it is the responsibility of the temporary work agency.

Equal treatment applies to the length and location of working hours, overtime, breaks, night work, holidays and pay. The starting point is that the temporary agency worker must also receive other collective benefits enjoyed by permanent employees at the hirer.

How is equal treatment ensured?

The hirer must give the temporary work agency information about pay and working conditions in its own business. When requested by elected union officials, the hirer must provide information on the pay and working conditions agreed between the temporary agency worker and their employer.

In addition, the hirer may become responsible for providing pay, holiday pay and other remuneration if the temporary work agency fails to ensure equal treatment.

When is temporary hire from a “production company” legal?

The person being hired out must be a permanent employee of the hiree, and the hire must fall within the same main areas of activity otherwise pursued by the hiree. The number of employees hired out must also not exceed more than half of the permanent workforce at the hiree.

How must elected union officials be involved in the event of temporary hires?

When hiring from a temporary work agency, the employer (hirer) must hold discussions once a year with elected union officials on the use of temporary hires and how the requirement for equal treatment is to practised.

When hiring from a production company, the employer (hirer) must discuss the hiring with the elected union officials before it begins, and the officials can ask the hirer to provide evidence that the hiring is legal. Temporary hires of a certain scope and duration require an agreement with the union officials. See section 14-13 of the Working Environment Act.

What duties does on an undertaking have when hiring temporary agency workers?

The undertaking is duty-bound to have a system which ensures that no illegal temporary hiring occurs. This requires the undertaking to have routines to prevent, identify and rectify possible breaches of the regulations.

What rights does the employee have if they have been hired illegally?

The PSA has the authority to issue an order if the temporary hire is illegal and must be terminated, but it cannot order that the hire be converted to permanent employment.

The employee can take legal action and ask a court to assess their right to employment.

What if the employee has been legally hired over a long period?

An employee who has been temporarily hired over a long period (three years for a temporary replacement or four years for a temporary hire) has the right to convert to permanent employment. See section 14-9 (7) of the Working Environment Act.