What is a layoff?
Layoff is a temporary arrangement where an employee is prevented from working for a period because the employer or the company cannot offer work. If you are laid off, this is not the same as being dismissed. If you are laid off, you are temporarily exempt from your obligation to come to work, while the employer is exempt from the obligation to pay your wages. However, the work relationship between employee and employer remains unchanged during a layoff, and it is assumed that the stop in work is temporary. If it is not temporary, the employee must be given notice.
A layoff must always be caused by factual grounds relating to the company, and not to the employee. Examples of factual grounds can be a need to reduce costs, lack of orders, and practical obstacles to work.
Various forms of layoff
In a full-time layoff the employee is completely freed from their obligation to work. In a part-time layoff the employee must work part of their employment percentage, and is laid off for the rest of the time. Layoff should not be confused with
- Complete or partial dismissal
- Reduction of working time, which means that the employee is entitled to salary during the period of notice
- Leave – if the employee has requested to be free from work, with or or without salary
Notice of layoff
The employer must give notice of the layoff in writing, no later than 14 days before the layoff comes into effect. During this period of notice, the employee must work normally and receive the appropriate salary. Layoff can apply for an undetermined period, up to a maximum of 52 weeks. The period of layoff must be stated in the layoff notice given to the employee. When the layoff period is over, the employee is obliged to return to work again. During a layoff of undetermined length, the employee is obliged to attend meetings within two days of the employer giving notice of the meeting.
Unemployment benefit during layoff
When you are laid off, you are entitled to unemployment benefits if you satisfy the usual conditions for unemployment benefit. In addition, the layoff must be caused by a lack of work or other conditions beyond your employer’s control.
It is the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) that is responsible for payment of unemployment benefits. If you are laid off, you should contact NAV so that you can give them the documentation needed.
Cross-border workers who are laid off are exempt from the requirement that they must live or be staying in Norway to receive unemployment benefits.
Who should you contact if you have questions about a layoff?
Contact The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (Arbeidstilsynet) if you have questions about the regulations regarding layoff. Contact NAV if you have questions about unemployment benefits during a layoff.
Please fill in our contact form if you have any questions or if you have encountered an obstacle in another Nordic country.
NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.