Earlier in the pandemic, employers had to ensure that employees worked from home as far as this was practically possible. Employers were required be able to document that the employees had been informed of how this was to be carried out in the company.
In recent times, the general infection trend in Norway has been on a downward curve. This can mainly be attributed to the increasing vaccination rate in the population, but also to the strict restrictions put in place by the governments on national and local levels.
Consequently, authorities have gradually relaxed the regulations related to the practice of working from home. Now, although the statutory regulations formally still require employers to recommend home offices, it is in practice up to employers themselves to assess whether it is justifiable to allow employees to return to the workplace.
The employer’s specific assessment must, in particular, be based on the following risk factors: employees in risk groups, close contact with colleagues or customers/the public, lack of access to hand washing with soap or alcohol-based disinfectants, lack of access to necessary protective equipment – based on the infection risk at the individual workplace, lack of training for employees and travel.
If, after an overall assessment, the employer concludes that it would be justifiable to allow all the employees, or some of them, to return to the office, this will now be allowed.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
- Make an assessment of risks associated with allowing some or all of the employees back to the workplace.
- Create an internal policy regarding the practice of working-from-home.