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Norway - Adecco to reimburse City of Oslo after nursing home scandal

15 June 2011

Staffing agency Adecco has been asked to pay 23.7 million Norwegian Krone (3 million Euro) back to the City of Oslo after a scandal regarding working conditions at state nursing homes run under contract by the company, specialist publication NewsinEnglish reports.

Adecco's Health Division, Adecco Helse, had their contracts in Oslo and many other parts of Norway cancelled after media investigations revealed that Adecco had fallen foul of labour laws at a number of its nursing homes, as well as in other sectors in which it operates. The scandal has led to full scale investigations of the entire private care sector, and a number of resignations within Adecco itself.
The demand for repayment comes in the wake of an independent investigation for the city council, led by professional services firm PwC, into the two former Adecco-run nursing homes in Oslo. The report found that Adecco had used less personnel, and personnel with a lower competence, than agreed in their contract with the council, and for that reason the council is demanding money back, including the costs of the report itself. Furthermore, the report found that many of the breaches of contract and employment law were planned and documented by Adecco.
The city council's leader in charge of services for the elderly, Cecilie Brein, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that a lack of personnel, particularly skilled personnel, "increases the risks for patients." She believes that the PwC study reveals that the breaches of labour regulations and contracts with Oslo were worse than originally thought when the story first broke. Brein also said that the council will "sit down and look at why we didn't manage to find this out earlier."
The council is also holding back 11.2 million Norwegian Krone (1.4 million Euro) until Adecco reimburses its former employees for unpaid holiday pay (amounting to 2 million Norwegian Krone, or 256,000 Euro, altogether), underpayment of overtime or incorrect payment of pension contributions.

Adecco Norway's CEO, Anders Øwre-Johnsen, confirmed to NRK that the money would be paid back "if it is shown that the preliminary calculations are correct," adding that the process of repaying former workers "has already started." The company is also waiting for its own self-appointed external investigation to be completed.

To read the PwC report, in Norwegian language, please click here


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