The Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) has passed amendments to the Norwegian Annual Holidays Act with effect from 1 July 2014.
The reason for the amendments to the Act is Article 7 of Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, which is incorporated into the EEA Agreement. The European Court of Justice has passed several judgments based on Article 7, and these judgments have required amendments to the Act in order to strengthen the employees’ rights.
The amendments involve, inter alia, that the right of an employee to postpone the holiday due to illness is extended, and that the opportunity to get economic compensation for the holiday in case of illness or parental leave is repealed.
The right to postpone holiday in case of illness
According to Section 5 in the Holidays Act, the statutory holiday in Norway is four weeks and one day each holiday year, and employees over the age of 60 are in addition to this entitled to one extra holiday week.
This amendment to the Act applies only to the statutory holiday according to Section 5 in the Act.
Prior to this amendment to the Act Section 9, it was required that the employee was completely incapacitated for work for at least 6 working days during the holiday to be entitled to postpone the holiday in the case of illness. This requirement is removed, and the employee is now entitled to postpone the holiday from the first day of illness.
Repeal of the right to economic compensation for the holiday
Before the amendments, the Act Section 11 stated that holiday pay for holiday that is not taken during the holiday year, due to illness or parental leave, is paid on the first normal pay day after the end of the holiday year.
The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has concluded that this provision in the Annual Holidays Act Section 11 (2) No.2, was contrary to Article 7 No.2 of the Directive 2003/88/EC.
This provision in Section 11 is now repealed, and it is no longer possible to get economic compensation for the holiday due to illness or parental leave.
Holiday which is not taken during the holiday year due to illness or parental leave, should be transferred to the following holiday year, and holiday pay for the transferred holiday will be paid when the holiday is taken, cf. the Norwegian Annual Holidays Act Section 11 (2), as the provision reads after the amendment.
By Guri Rodal