Hiring of labour

Undertakings are permitted by law to hire out labour, but there are limitations on the right to hire labour.

The main rule is that workers are to be permanently employed without time limitations. This means that employment continues until terminated by one of the parties. On specific conditions, a worker may however be employed temporarily. For more information, see the fact sheet on employment.

Employers may moreover hire workers for a limited period from a temporary-work agency. The purpose of a temporary-work agency is to hire out labour.

Enterprises that hire workers from temporary-work agencies are obliged to investigate whether the hirer out is registered in the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority’s register of approved temporary-work agencies. Hiring of labour is only permitted from registered undertakings. To search for temporary-work agencies in the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities, click on the link to the right.

Workers can also be hired for a limited period from undertakings with purposes other than hiring out labour, so-called production enterprises.

For more information about temporary employment, see section 14-9 of the Working Environment Act.

For more information about hiring of labour from undertakings whose object is to hire out labour (temporary-work agencies), see section 14-12 of the Working Environment Act.

For more information about hiring of labour from undertakings other than those whose object is to hire out labour, see section 14-13 of the Working Environment Act.

When can labour be hired from temporary-work agencies

Hiring of labour from temporary-work agencies is lawful to the same extent that temporary employment is permitted in Section 14 – 9, first paragraph , a) to e) of the Working Environment Act , That is with the exception of temporary employment on a general basis. Hiring of labour may be an alternative to temporary employment in connection with unforeseen peaks and seasonal fluctuations.

In undertakings bound by collective agreements, the employer and the employees’ representatives may agree in writing on limited hiring of labour even if the conditions for temporary employment are not met. The employees’ representatives must represent a majority of the category of workers concerned.

Use of workers hired from temporary-work agencies is to be discussed with the employees’ representatives at least once a year.

When can labour be hired from undertakings other than temporary work agencies?

Hiring of labour from production enterprises (undertakings other than those whose object is to hire out labour) is permitted on the following conditions:

  • The hired worker must be a permanent employee of the undertaking from which he or she is hired.
  • The hiring out must take place within the main areas of activity of the hirer out.
  • Not more than 50 per cent of the permanent employees of the hirer out must be engaged in the hiring activity.
  • Hiring of labour must be discussed with the employees’ representatives and in certain cases agreed with the employees’ representatives in the undertaking that is to hire the labour.

The difference between temporary-work agencies and hiring of labour from undertakings other than those whose object is to hire out labour

The purpose of a temporary-work agency is to hire out labour, and it is obliged to register its activity in the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority’s register of temporary-work agencies.

Undertakings with purposes other than hiring out labour do so only occasionally, for example when they have a temporary surplus of labour, and hire out personnel as an alternative to lay-off or dismissal.

Employer responsibility

The main rule is that workers who are hired out shall be permanent employees of the undertaking that hires them out, regardless of whether this is a temporary-work agency or a production enterprise. It is therefore the undertaking that hires out the workers that has the main responsibility for them. This means that the hired out workers shall have written contracts of employment with the undertaking that hires them out. Hired out workers have the employment protection that is laid down in the Working Environment Act, and the undertaking hiring out is responsible for payment of salary and other allowances that follow from the employment contracts with the hired out workers.

The hirer undertaking also has an employer responsibility for the hired worker. It is, for example, independently responsible for providing the hired worker with the necessary training and introduction to internal routines, and for ensuring that the hired worker has the necessary qualifications, authorisation, etc.

As the employer, the undertaking hiring out must ensure compliance with the provisions concerning working hours. The hirer too is obliged to ensure that the work performed by the hired worker in the hirer’s undertaking complies with the provisions of the Working Environment Act concerning working hours.

For more information about working hours in chapter 10 of the Working Environment Act and in our fact sheet on working hours.

Equal treatment of workers hired from temporary-work agencies

Workers hired from temporary-work agencies shall have the same pay and working conditions as workers employed directly by the hiring undertaking (principle of equal treatment). It is the hirer out who shall ensure that the workers receive equal treatment, but the principle of equal treatment also involves obligations for the hiring undertaking.

The hiring undertaking must provide the temporary-work agency with the necessary information to ensure that the agency is able to comply with the equal treatment requirement. Furthermore, the temporary-work agency must provide the worker with the information necessary to assess whether his or her pay and working conditions comply with the equal treatment requirement. The temporary-work agency is also obliged to inform the hiring undertaking of pay and working conditions that have been agreed with the hired worker. Finally, the hiring undertaking is obliged to provide the employees’ representatives with information concerning pay and working conditions agreed between the hired worker and the temporary-work agency.

When the hiring undertaking hires a worker from a temporary-work agency, it shall also inform the hired worker of vacant posts in the undertaking. From 1 July 2013, hiring undertakings will be jointly and severally liable for payment of salary, holiday pay and any other allowances that follow from the principle of equal treatment.

For more information on equal treatment of workers hired from temporary-work agencies, see section 14-12a of the Working Environment Act.

For more information on the obligation to provide information and right of access to information, see section 14-12b of the Working Environment Act.

Dismissal

The normal rules for dismissal apply to hired workers. For more information, see the fact sheet on dismissal.

The hired worker’s employment contract is normally with the undertaking hiring out. It is important that the worker is aware that it is here that any claims concerning rights regarding dismissal must be addressed.

Consequences of unlawful hiring of labour from temporary-work agencies

A person who is unlawfully hired from a temporary-work agency may take legal action and claim compensation or permanent employment from the hiring undertaking.

The role of The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority

The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority is responsible for providing guidance on the legislation. A dispute between worker and employer is a matter of civil law. This means that the worker himself must bring the matter before the court. The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority has no authority to pursue such matters in the courts.

The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority supervises compliance with the requirement that hiring of labour from temporary-work agencies is discussed with the employees’ representatives.

Always check that the temporary-work agency is registered with the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority