Expansion of the arrangements for the safety service and working environment committee
From January 1, 2024, the Working Environment Act's rules on arrangements for safety services and working environment committees will change. Among other things, the thresholds for when such schemes must be established will be lowered and more employers must prepare for how they will relate to the schemes. Here are the main points:
More companies must have safety representatives
Safety representatives are responsible for safeguarding employees' interests in matters relating to the working environment. The main rule is that all businesses must have safety representatives. However, for companies with fewer than 10 employees, it has until now been possible to enter into an agreement with the employees that there will be no safety representative. After January 1, only companies with fewer than 5 employees can agree on exceptions.
The Norwegian Parliament believes that this will help to ensure that smaller companies also have the necessary arrangements that can help to solve working environment and safety challenges. Our experience is that it can be difficult to get employees to stand for election as safety representatives and that there are major differences in how well this works in smaller businesses. Our advice is therefore that companies should be well prepared to define and communicate the role of the safety representative.
The safety representative shall safeguard hired and independent contractors
The Norwegian Parliament considers it important to safeguard the interests of hired and independent contractors in matters concerning the working environment. It has therefore been decided that these groups will be covered by the safety representative scheme.
More companies must have working environment committees
The working environment committees shall contribute to the implementation of a fully acceptable working environment in the company, both through planning and by monitoring the development of the company's safety and working environment work. Until now, employers have been obliged to establish working environment committees in companies with at least 50 employees.
The Norwegian Parliament has decided to lower the minimum threshold for when to establish a working environment committee from 50 to 30 employees. In addition, the threshold for when employees can demand the establishment of a working environment committee has been lowered from 30 to 10 employees. The reason for this is that the Parliament believes that lower thresholds will promote participation and cooperation in the companies.
Littler has extensive experience in assisting employers with the establishment of and the relationship with safety representatives and working environment committees. Please contact us if you have any questions.