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Norway

16 March 2020

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Norway Issues Release on Measures to Mitigate Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Norwegian Government has issued a release on measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy. This includes a three-phase approach as follows:

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The authorities are acting appropriately to respond to the situation

It is now necessary to provide measures to mitigate the economic effects of the outbreak of COVID-19. The government is working on measures in three phases. In all three phases, measures should be targeted, effective and reversible.

In phase1, the government has prioritized immediate measures to avoid unnecessary layoffs and bankruptcies in viable companies that face an abrupt fall in income. To that end, the government has today announced the following measures:

  • Measures in the health care system to handle the acute crisis. This includes securing necessary equipment and personnel.
  • Reduce the number of days that employers are obliged to pay salary to workers at temporary lay-offs, from 15 to 2 days. This will be a temporary measure to improve companies’ liquidity and help avoid massive lay-offs.
  • Remove the three waiting days between the period when employers have to provide salary to workers in temporary layoffs and the period when the workers are entitled to daily unemployment benefits. This will reduce the loss of income for workers.
  • Change corporate tax regulations so that companies that are lossmaking can re-allocate their loss towards previous years’ taxed surplus.
  • Change the tax regulations so that owners of lossmaking companies can postpone payments of wealth tax. This will reduce the need for firms to provide dividends to owners to cover the wealth tax.
  • Suspend the tax on air passengers for flights in the period from 1 January 2020 until 31 October 2020.
  • Suspend payments of aviation charges until 31 June 2020.
  • Strengthen support for skills upgrade and in-house training for companies affected by the virus outbreak, through increased grants to the counties.
  • Increase allocation to municipalities that will have large excess expenses due to the virus outbreak.
  • Make sure that pension rights are not affected negatively for retired health personnel that returns to service in connection with the corona outbreak.

In phase 2, during the coming weeks and months, the government will work on further targeted measures towards sectors and businesses affected by the virus outbreak. The government is prepared to respond quickly with new measures.

Phase 3: If the virus outbreak causes a more extensive economic impact bringing the economy into a more severe downturn, the government will consider broader measures to sustain economic activity.

The government will continue to monitor the situation closely and consider additional measures continuously.

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