Norway: Latest working life developments Q3 2018

The Oslo model to combat work-related crime in the construction industry, a new guide on pay and working conditions in public contracts, and recommendations for the future of occupational health services in Norway are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in Norway in the third quarter of 2018.

Combating work-related crime in the construction industry

The Oslo model is a standardised contract used by the municipality of Oslo in the procurement of construction services. The model has been developed in close dialogue with social partners and its main aim is to combat work-related crime (known in Norway as social dumping). To achieve this, the new contract establishes several requirements.

  • Service providers will mainly make use of employees in permanent posts.
  • If it is necessary to hire workers from temporary work agencies, the contractor will ensure that such workers are guaranteed payment between assignments at the level of the collective agreement.
  • At least 50% of the hours worked in construction trades will be worked by employees with a recognised Norwegian vocational education qualification or foreign equivalent.
  • The contracting company will have a set number of employees who are undertaking vocational training (with a minimum of 10% in specific trades).
  • The contract chain will be limited to two levels: contractor and subcontractors.
  • Key personnel must be able to speak and understand Norwegian sufficiently in order to give and receive important information.
  • All personnel working under a contract will register with the electronic registration system for health, safety and the environment (HMSREG/SELMA) on the first day of work.
  • The contractor and subcontractors will pay all employees according to collective agreements that have been made generally applicable or are nationwide.
  • All wages shall be paid from a bank account to the employee’s bank account.
  • All purchases handled by the contractor or subcontractors related to the project will be paid electronically.

The municipality of Oslo purchases goods and services worth approximately €2.6 billion per year, and is one of the largest property developers in Norway. The ambition of the local authorities is that the Oslo model expands nationwide, and that similar contracts are used in other industries such as cleaning and transport.[1]

Public procurement guide seeks to improve pay and working conditions

In mid-September, the government launched a new guide on pay and working conditions in public contracts as part of a strategy to combat working life crime.[2] The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities, the Norwegian Labour Inspection Agency and the Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi) have joined forces to ensure that public procurers comply with regulations. The result is a guide with information about pay and working conditions regulations that are relevant to public contracts, and instructions about how these regulations should be addressed. The guide also offers templates and tools that public procurers can use in their work.[3]

Recommendations for the future of occupational health services

As reported in the Q1 2017 update for Norway, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs set up an independent expert group to evaluate the challenges, values and future of occupational health services in Norway.

The group recently released its recommendations in a report. Overall, the group found that the occupational health services in Norway work well in comparison to similar services in other countries. However, there are challenges related to certain parts of the services and the group noted that some service providers have limited awareness of the authorities' risk-based plan for the services. This limited awareness seems to exist within parts of the corporate health service and among customers, and calls for measures that will contribute to more targeted and cost-effective services.

The expert group also evaluated different models for organising the occupational health service (e.g. insurance-based, market-based) and recommended a law-based approach, with some adjustments for small businesses. The group sought to illuminate the various law-based variants in terms of quality, efficiency and economic conditions.

The social partners will now discuss the group’s conclusions before deciding upon further action.

Commentary

The Oslo model and the guide to public procurement are steps on the road toward a better quality of working life for people in Norway. They also show that there is a broad political agreement for using public purchasing to force service suppliers to comply with laws and regulations.

The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and the Federation of Norwegian Construction Industries (BNL) are happy with the Oslo model and hope it will lead to greater predictability within the industry.[4] However, BNL Director Jon Sandnes noted that there is still a long way to go.

 

[1] Arbeidsliv i Norden (2018), A labour market with fair competition and conditions , 7 September.

[2] Norwegian Government (2018), Ny veileder for lønns- og arbeidsvilkår i offentlige kontrakter , 10 September.

[4] Buggeindustrien (2017), Dette er Oslo kommunes nye seriøsitetskrav , 19 May.

Useful? Interesting? Tell us what you think. Hide comments

Eurofound welcomes feedback and updates on this regulation

Add new comment