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In the first quarter of the year, the Norwegian staffing market posted a marginal increase in invoiced hours, according to new findings by the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises (NHO). But the organisation said that new rules on the equal treatment of agency workers in Norway during the quarter were expected to slow developments in the staffing industry. It also said that an early Easter impacted trading conditions in the quarter.
New staffing regulations came into force early this year, making both recruiters and staffing buyers responsible for ensuring temporary workers are treated the same as permanent employees. The legislative changes are aligned to the European Agency Worker Directive (AWD), making significant changes to the Working Environment Act.
Even Hagelien from the NHO said that the new regulations have created much uncertainty in the market.
“It is important to emphasise that the staffing industry in the first quarter has made an heroic effort to transition to the new rules. There has been a huge administrative burden for staffing firms and the experience has been that they have managed to put in place new systems, but that one is experiencing some uncertainty about the interpretation of legislation and collective agreements,” said Mr Hagelien.
The NHO estimates that the new rules have led to average cost increases of about 4%. And demand for certain workers has been on the decline in several occupations in the quarter, such as the office and administration sectors. Growth was meanwhile recorded in the manufacturing and production, as well as the construction industries.