Norway’s government is extending the redundancy scheme until July 1

Erna SolbergPhoto: Terje Pedersen / NTB
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The Norwegian government has decided to extend the redundancy scheme until July 1. “A step in the right direction,” the Progress Party (FRP) believes.

That means that the scheme is extended for those who would otherwise leave it because they have been laid off for one year.

“We are doing this simply to ensure that more of those who have been laid off, and who eventually experience the jobs returning, do not fall out of the scheme,” Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Henrik Asheim (Høyre / Conservative Party) told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

Around 60,000 Norwegians have been laid off in whole or in part as a result of the corona pandemic in Norway. 

Last summer, the redundancy period was extended from six months to one year (26 to 52 weeks).

A push from the opposition

As recently as Sunday, the government said that it was not yet relevant to extend the scheme.

“The government is prepared to negotiate changes in the redundancy rules,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) told news bureau NTB at the time.

On Sunday, newspaper VG announced that the FRP is willing to join forces with the Labor Party (AP), the Center Party (SP), and the Socialist Left Party (SV) to extend the redundancy period. 

Thus, a majority in the Norwegian parliament (Storting) supports extending the redundancy period beyond the 52 weeks that apply now.

Long-term assurance

The FRP’s Deputy Leader Sylvi Listhaug said that the decision is a step in the right direction.

“When they see that the majority in the parliament wants an extension, they just have to follow it up,” Listhaug said.

The FRP wants the scheme to be extended further until October 1 in order to have a solution that ensures a long-term perspective for both the business community and the employees who have been laid off.

To be adjusted as needed

Listhaug believes the government’s line has led to uncertainty.

“Erna Solberg has said a little arrogantly that those who have been laid-off must apply for jobs. But when so many industries are struggling, there is not much to apply for,” Listhaug said.

“When we have spent more than NOK 100 billion on crisis measures, we cannot give in on the home stretch side and leave thousands behind. 

“If we carry on now, we will help people to keep their jobs, and companies can avoid going bankrupt. 

“I hope it is not so long before people can get back to a more normal everyday life. Until that happens, we have to stand up,” she said.

Asheim told NRK that the government has always said that it would adjust the scheme based on the needs it sees.

Wise decision

Unions are very pleased that the redundancy scheme is being expanded. Parat believes it is a wise decision.

“Without an extension of the redundancy period, the companies will have to terminate all those who have been laid off in the coming months. It makes no sense now that the vaccine is here,” Parat leader Unn Kristin Olsen said.

The Confederation of Vocational Unions (YS) says the pandemic will affect employment in the coming six months and that it will take a long time before we return to a normal state. 

YS leader Erik Kollerud has been concerned that the special corona measures for employment will be discontinued prematurely.

“This will help save many viable jobs and provide security for thousands of workers throughout the country,” Kollerud noted.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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