Norway closed its borders on January 29, and many foreign workers are without income. The Norwegian government says that they will now present a new compensation scheme.
The details of the new scheme are not yet clear, but it is considered a high priority, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs informed news bureau NTB.
“With increasing infection rates in Norway, we must expect strict restrictions for entry for a longer period of time. Then, it is right to give workers from the EEA area who are affected by closed borders a helping hand,” Minister of Labor Torbjørn Røe Isaksen (H) said.
Not just for cross-border commuters
This week, daily commuters from Sweden and Finland could return to work again, albeit with strict testing criteria. Many have demanded compensation for those who have been without income.
Isaksen emphasizes that it is not possible to create a separate scheme for Swedes or Finns.
The scheme they are working on now will therefore apply to all employees in the EEA who have earned rights, he stated.
“The government has always emphasized that employees from the EEA who have rights in Norway will be paid unemployment benefits by the NAV if they are laid off,” he said.
“At the same time, the assessment of the redundancy basis lies with the parties in the workforce and the individual employer, not with the Ministry. That is why we have to make a new arrangement,” Isaksen said.
“Not our job”
The Progress Party’s (FRP) Erlend Wiborg, who heads the Labor and Social Affairs Committee in the Norwegian parliament (Storting), is not impressed by the government’s proposal.
“The Progress Party is against this as we believe Norwegian welfare benefits should go to Norwegian citizens and others who live and work in Norway. The government’s compensation scheme will go to people living in, for example, Romania, Poland, Latvia, and Sweden. It is not the job of Norwegian taxpayers to finance these. Our job is to secure those who live in Norway,” Wiborg said.
He believes that the government should be more concerned with strengthening the schemes for Norwegians affected by the pandemic than with financing people living in other European countries with money from Norwegian taxpayers.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayFinance
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