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Newsletter: Corona virus - New guidelines for employers

New restrictions due to increased dissemination of Covid-19 in Norway have been carried out, both at national level and in Oslo. In this newsletter, we will give a summary of these.

Guidelines in Oslo

The city council of Oslo has passed an injunction on both home office and the obligation to document that all employees have received sufficient information on necessary measures regarding the home office arrangement.

Before the legal amendment entered into force, the employer had an obligation to “arrange” for home office. This obligation is now more stringent, as the employer must “ensure” the home office arrangement.

There is a narrow exception in the regulation:  Home office shall only be arranged as far as “practically possible”. If the nature of the work imply that home office is not feasible, this situation must fall within the exception and the injunction of home office will not apply. Further, the employer has a duty to document that the employees have received information regarding home office and the organisation in relation to it.

All of the measures that apply in Oslo entered into force on Thursday 29th October 2020 at 12 pm. The city council has communicated to the public that gross breaches of the regulations will be strictly enforced by the authorities. 

Guidelines on a national level 

Due to increased dissemination due to work migration to Norway, the Norwegian Government also has carried out new restrictions on the exclusions from the duty of quarantine for work migrants from the EEA or Switzerland or other countries excepted from the restrictions of arrival.

In the Covid-19-regulation Section 6c, it is now regulated that migrant workers living in the EEA or Switzerland are excepted from the restrictions of arrival during working hours if they:

a) have tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 after arrival in Norway

b) are tested every third day in 10 days after arrival in Norway

c) stay privately the ten first days In Norway

The application of these exceptions shall be organized, accomplished and financed by the employer in Norway. There are two circumstances the employer must keep in mind with respect to these exceptions:

Firstly, the employees that enter into Norway from “red” countries must begin to work after a quarantine period of 10 days. This rule will enter into force by midnight 31st October 2020. 

Secondly, leisure-time quarantine, i.e. when the employee is tested every third day in 10 days after arrival in Norway – the employer or principal must make sure the employee keeps sufficient distance from other colleagues. 

Further, the employer must ensure that a fully satisfactory working environment is maintained, especially given the Covid-19-situation. Hence, we recommend that employers implement adequate measures when necessary; the use of home office (e.g. home office on rotation among the employees) may be a reasonable and appropriate way to limit dissemination and ensure a fully satisfactory working environment.

Legal assistance

Please note that the advice in this newsletter may change depending on the development of the corona virus. We advise to stay updated on information from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian government.

We are working continuously with questions arising from the corona virus. Do not hesitate to contact our expert team of employment lawyers.