Ole Kristian Olsby Mari Vindedal October 19 2022 Government cracks down on social dumping and work-related crime Littler | Employment & Immigration - Norway Ole Kristian Olsby, Mari Vindedal Employment & Immigration IntroductionAction plan against social dumping and work-related crimeCollective rights to bring action in several types of casesChanging meaning of "employee"Sanctions for rule violationsIntroductionOn 6 October 2022, the government presented its proposal for the 2023 national budget. One of the focus areas of the budget are measures to promote a serious and well-organised working life. In the proposal, the government has invested 30 million kroner in cracking down on social dumping.Among other things, the funding will be used to follow up on the rules on hiring from staffing companies, to which several changes have been made in the past year. The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority will be given 25 million kroner to supervise the rules, including through a new approval scheme for staffing companies.Action plan against social dumping and work-related crimeThe allocations in the national budget follow the government's action plan against social dumping and work-related crime, which was presented on 1 October 2022. The plan contains 35 measures, relating to the following areas, among others, to counter social dumping and work-related crime and facilitate a well-organised working life:an organised working life and strengthened tripartite cooperation;the strengthening of employee rights;the prevention of worker exploitation;the mobilisation of consumer and purchasing power;improved knowledge about social dumping and work-related crime;control and follow-up measures, and interagency cooperation; andinternational cooperationThe government has also announced that it will present a separate action plan against social dumping in the transport industry.Collective rights to bring action in several types of casesIn the action plan, the government announces that it will consider so-called "collective rights" to bring an action in cases concerning breaches of the principle of equal treatment in hiring and illegal temporary employment. Collective rights to bring an action means that trade unions of a certain size can take legal action against an employer on their own – without the employees concerned being parties to the case.From 1 July 2022, the collective right to bring an action applies in cases of illegal hire of labour. The signals in the action plan indicate that the current government will go one step further and introduce a corresponding right to sue if the trade unions believe there is a breach of the principle of equal treatment or the rules on temporary employment.Changing meaning of "employee"In both the action plan and the budget proposal, the government signals that it will present a proposal to change the term "employee" in the Working Environment Act within a short time. The purpose of this is to clarify the Working Environment Act's rules on who is an employee and who is an employer, so that employers will not be able to skirt their responsibilities.This follows the proposal from the majority in the Fougner committee that employee status should be used as a basis unless the employer makes it highly probable that there is an assignment relationship.Sanctions for rule violationsAs part of the follow up to the government's action plan, the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority has been given more funding in the 2023 national budget. The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority has also received instructions to use infringement fees to a greater extent when the conditions warrant it and to increase the amount of such fees. This should stimulate businesses to comply with the rules and shine a light on those that do not.For further information on this topic please contact Ole Kristian Olsby or Mari Vindedal at Homble Olsby | Littler by telephone (+47 23 89 75 70) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The Homble Olsby | Littler website can be accessed at www.homble-olsby.no.