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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

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-2020-44/1613 – measures in Norway

Unions and employers cry over migrant workers’ quarantine

Fagforbund og arbeidsgivere fortviler over karantenen til arbeidsinnvandrere

Country Norway , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 31 October 2020
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Well-being of workers
Author Aasmund Arup Seip, FAFO and Eurofound
Case created 18 December 2020 (updated 11 January 2021)

Background information

The National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) proposed in the end of October 2020 to terminate the exemption business travelers from Europe had from entry quarantine during working hours, due to high infection pressure. Foreign workers had so far been exempted from the ten days quarantine obligation in order to keep the wheels of the industry running. This exemption ended 31 October and migrant workers have to stay in quarantine when returning from home country to work. Unions and employer’s associations find this difficult.

Content of measure

A ten days entry quarantine for migrant workers from other European countries took effect from November 2020. Employer or the authorities can arrange the quarantine. In the latter case, the worker have to stay at a hotel close to the airport after arrival. The trade union for workers in the industry and energy sectors, Industi Energi (member of LO), have established a working group to stay in contact with the employers’ side to discuss solutions that could ease the situation for employees in quarantine.

One proposal is to establish a common set of regulations that shortens the entry quarantine period without jeopardize the infection control. The companies’ handling of the quarantine differs, and the Union finds this particularly difficult for the subcontractors because their employees are exposed to different quarantine regimes, depending on which company they are working for.

The union has demanded that time spent in entry quarantine must be compensated, but Industri Energi has not agreed to financial compensation with the employers’ associations, Norwegian Oil and Gas and the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association. The Union and the employers’ associations have together asked the government to amend the quarantine regulations and to shorten the quarantine period, as the quarantine not only lays a burden on the workers but also bring a stop to many business operations.

Use of measure

Not applicable - no data available.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Migrants in employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social partners jointly
Trade unions
Employers' organisations
No special funding required

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

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

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level


The social partners have a dispute over pay to migrant workers in entry quarantine. The social partners have together contacted the government to ask for a relief in the quarantine regulation for migrant workers.

Views and reactions

The social partners agree that the quarantine regulations is a burden to both migrant workers and companies. However, unions and employer’s associations disagree when it comes to financial compensation to workers for time spent in entry quarantine.



Eurofound (2020), Unions and employers cry over migrant workers’ quarantine, case NO-2020-44/1613 (measures in Norway), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

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