At Advokatgruppen, we are always ready to help you with your challenges as an employer. We are experts in employment law.
We regularly advise both small and large companies on matters such as:
- Employment contracts and management contracts
- Employee’s illness, vacation, and maternity/paternity leave
- Employee’s rights in case of mergers and the transfer of ownership of the company
- Non-competition and non-solicitation clauses
- Stock option agreements and other incentive schemes
Three types of employment you need to pay special attention to
As an employer, you may continually need to scale up and down regarding the number of employees. In many cases, it can be beneficial to hire employees on flexible terms. However, it requires that you are aware of the rules. Below are three examples of arrangements that require extra attention.
Suppose you hire an independent consultant or freelancer, he or she will then be responsible for paying tax and labour market contributions of his/her income.
However, if the collaboration with the consultant begins to look like a stable employment relationship, in such a way that, e.g., the only real difference is that you can terminate the consultant at a shorter notice, then the courts might consider the relationship to be an employment. The consequence might be that your company is responsible for paying the taxes and labour market contributions for the consultant and that the consultant might also suddenly have the same rights as other employees.
If the consultant has not paid his or her taxes, the company might have to pay the tax part of the salary twice (once to the consultant and once to the tax authorities). This typically happens if the consultant has forgotten to pay taxes, goes bankrupt or simply cannot pay his tax.
In addition, as an employee, the consultant is now entitled to a notice of termination in accordance with applicable legislation and/or any collective agreements, if the company wishes to end the collaboration, just as the consultant may be entitled to paid holiday, pay during illness, etc.
Project employment and fixed-term employment
Project employees and temporary employees must be treated on equal terms with permanent employees. It is discrimination if these employees do not have access to the same conditions as permanent employees.
As an employer, you must also be aware that you must not discriminate against ordinary permanent employees—e.g. by project hiring instead or using fixed-term employment. Continuous project employment and fixed-term employment must be objectively justified to not be in conflict with the legislation and otherwise risk being regarded as permanent employment.
Some industries typically use project hiring and fixed-term hiring more than others. E.g., in larger architectural firms, where architects and building designers are employed for time-limited projects. These employments are often extended if the firm is awarded a new project or the deadline for the original project is exceeded or moved. However, the firm must be careful with these extensions, as under the right circumstances, the employment can in this way transform into a permanent employment, giving the employee the rights of a permanent employee.
When hiring an employee in a flex job, you must be aware of anti-discrimination legislation. For example, chronic back pain, shoulder and wrist injuries and rheumatoid arthritis are considered disabilities. It is not permitted to dismiss an employee if the reason for the dismissal has the slightest origin in the disability and the employer has not taken every reasonable measure to retain the employee.
A mistake in connection with the dismissal of a disabled employee can be costly and potentially entail paying a compensation equal to 12 months’ salary.
In addition, you must be aware that, in principle, flex jobbers are subject to the provisions of the most relevant collective agreement for the particular type of work, if any, even if the company is not otherwise covered by the agreement.
Since there are many pitfalls, it is a good idea to seek a counsel from a lawyer who knows the legislation regarding the different types of employment. We are also experts in more employee-oriented employment law.