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Labour law – primarily a national responsibility

The Norwegian government is positive to the goal and the general idea behind formulating a Green Paper on labour law. In the Government’s comments to the European Commission, it does however stress that the responsibility of legislation concerning labour law primarily should rest at the national level.

11/05/2007 ::
The Norwegian government appreciates the Green Paper as a means to ensure a wide debate on how labour law should develop, and how labour law can evolve to support the Lisbon Strategy’s objective of achieving sustainable growth with more and better jobs.

The Norwegian Government welcomes a debate about modernising labour law, but wants to keep the responsibility for legislation concerning labour law at the national level.

– The process around this Green Paper is an opportunity to put several already well known and well documented challenges and initiatives, as well as some new ones, on the agenda both in Norway and in Europe as a whole, writes the Royal Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion in it’s comments.

Must not weaken the protection of workers
For the Norwegian government it is essential that any minimum rights in the EU are not set at a level that weakens the protection of workers, and that reduces the protection in countries that have build up a functioning labour market where both employment protection and the needs of the enterprises are taken into account.

In Norway’s opinion the responsibility for legislation concerning labour law should primarily rest at the national level. However, the Green Paper does not, as far as the Norwegian Government understands it, point out any major changes in the distribution between the national and the EU level concerning labour law.

“New” forms of employment
There is an ongoing discussion whether there has been an increase in the “so called” new forms of employment, and if this requires new labour and social legislation. The Norwegian Government suspects that many of the “new” forms of employment in reality are still just that – employment.

It is still a relationship between an employer and an employee. One example is where a “self-employed” person or a freelancer only has one client that employs the person fulltime and the timeframe is unlimited – in the view of the Government this is not an alternative form of employment. It is only a way to avoid the rights and duties derived from labour law, and therefore should be looked upon as an employment relationship.

The full letter with the comments of the Norwegian Government can be downloaded here.

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