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Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case NO-2020-17/949 Updated – measures in Norway

Right to combine unemployment benefit with training

Rett til å kombinere dagpenger med utdanning

Country Norway , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 20 April 2020 – 01 July 2021
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Active labour market policies, incl. subsidised job creation
Author Aasmund Arup Seip, FAFO and Eurofound
Case created 09 July 2020 (updated 20 July 2021)

Background information

Due to the corona crisis, many workers are laid off and unemployment has increased significantly. To make it possible for the many unemployed to acquire new skills and knowledge, the government acted in April on an initiative from the social partners and opened up temporarily to make it easier to study or do training while receiving unemployment benefits. In June, the temporary scheme was extended to last through 31 December 2020.

Content of measure

In March 2020, the social partners suggested that receivers of unemployment benefit should have a right to study while unemployed. The aim was to make the corona crisis an opportunity to raise the competencies of the population. More people could learn to use digital tools, completing upper secondary school or gain vocational skills. To achieve this, the social partners argued, it was necessary that the government relaxed the regulations for unemployment benefits and removed the restrictions that makes it difficult or impossible for employees to combine training with unemployment benefits. A temporary scheme was put in place on 20 April 2020, and gives the unemployed and lay-offs possibility to combine training with unemployment benefits to a greater extent than before. The rules initially applied until 1 September, but was later extended until 31 December 2020.

  • Until 31 December 2020, receivers of unemployment benefit do not have to apply to the authority in order to do training or studying during the time they are laid off or unemployed.
  • The scheme is temporary and applies to both those laid off, among whom many will return to their old jobs, and the unemployed who are looking for new jobs.
  • The rules do not apply to students who receive support from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund.
  • The scheme applies to all types of courses and training including studies where you get credits.
  • The new temporary scheme means that everyone who ticks off for training on the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration’s registration card will be paid unemployment benefits as usual. Previously, one had to apply to combine training with unemployment benefits and get this approved.
  • The requirement to be an active jobseeker and available for a new job applies to everyone who receives unemployment benefits, including the unemployed and laid-off people who are in training. When offered a job before the training is completed, it is up to the individual whether they choose to interrupt the training, or to complete in combination with being at work.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

06 April 2021

In April 2021, the government decided to spend NOK 139 million (€19 million) on education for the unemployed or laid off. The COVID-19 pandemic has particularly affected those with little or no formal competence and the newly graduated, young people without work experience, and the unemployed and laid off. Hence, the government has decided to support educational provision for these groups, in order to improve their value in the labor market. The government wants to avoid that many end up permanently outside of working life because of COVID-19, and hope education will improve their chances to qualify for the jobs that will be needed in the future. All universities, colleges, vocational colleges and county municipalities can apply for funding, and the educational provisions should be short and flexible, preferably digital. The education will be completely free for the participants so that they can combine studies with job search or family life. Competence Norway and the Directorate for Internationalisation and Quality Development in Higher Education (Diku) are responsible for the call.

21 September 2020

In September 2020, the government proposed for the state budget for 2021 that the right to combine unemployment benefit with training should be extended beyond December 2020 until 1 July 2021. This proposal was passed, and in December 2020, the government sent for consultation a proposal for a new and permanent regulations that can enter into force when the temporary scheme expires.

Use of measure

No information to date.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Unemployed
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social partners jointly
Public employment service
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

The social partners jointly took the initiative to request the government to amend regulations to make it easier to do training or studying while receiving unemployment benefit. They have promoted the measure publicly and in dialog with the government.

Views and reactions

The measure have support from the social partners.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Right to combine unemployment benefit with training, case NO-2020-17/949 (measures in Norway), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.