The Working Environment Act has regulations on information, cooperation on codetermination on reorganisation of operations for companies with at least 50 employees. The management of the enterprise shall discuss the following with the shop stewards as early as possible:
- information and consultation concerning the current and expected workforce situation in the undertaking, including any cutbacks and the measures considered by the employer,
- information and consultation concerning decisions that may result in considerable changes in the organisation of work or conditions of employment.
In case of collective dismissals (at least 10 dismissals within 30 days), employers are required to enter into consultations with the employees’ elected representatives as soon as possible.
The consultations should cover reaching an agreement to avoid collective redundancies or reducing the number of persons made redundant, addressing the adverse effects including possible social welfare measures for redeployment or retraining. If the company or part of it is to be closed, consultations shall cover the possibility of continuing to run the company, including the possibility of transferring the company to the workers. All necessary information must be supplied by the company, including the grounds for the dismissals, the number of employees, categories of workers, the number of employees normally employed, groups of employees normally employed, the period during which such redundancies may be effected, the criteria for selection of those made redundant and criteria for calculation of extraordinary severance pay, if applicable.
Information shall be provided in such a way that it is possible for the elected representatives of the employees to familiarise themselves with the matter, make appropriate investigations, consider the matter and prepare any consultations. The information should be provided as early as possible, and at the same time as the employer calls a consultation meeting. Consultations shall be based on information provided by the employer and take place at the level of management and representation appropriate for the matter concerned, in an appropriate manner and with appropriate content. The consultations shall be conducted in such a way that it is possible for the elected representatives of the employees to meet the employer and receive a reasoned response to any statements they may make. Consultations shall aim to reach an agreement.
The employees’ representatives shall have the right to receive expert assistance. The act does not specify what kind of experts can be used, but expenses by using such expert assistance is not to be covered by the employer.
If plans are made to close a company with 30 or more employees, or dismiss 9 out of 10 employees, the employer must also act in accordance to the Restructuring Act. This includes among other things the involvement of the regional government, and a consultation process involving the owner, management, employee representatives, local community, Innovation Norway and the public employment service. The aim of the act is to facilitate a process leading to continuing the operation of the company or reducing the negative effects of the closure.