Q: We have an employee in Norway who has been on sick leave for the last 10 months. We wish to terminate their employment. How do we go about it?
A: The first step should be to contact the social insurance department in Norway and discuss with them the possibility of terminating the employment. They will be able to provide you with useful guidance on appropriate forms and/or applications that may be involved. In any case, you should not take any action until their continuous absence has been for at least 12 months.
Once they have been absent for 12 months it will be necessary to arrange for a meeting with the employee, at a time and place convenient for them (which may be their home), and discuss their future with the company. It may be that they wish to end their service, depending on their circumstances. More importantly, discuss and consider with them the possibility of the employee visiting the company’s doctor for an opinion on their medical situation and the likelihood of full recovery or of redeployment to another position. Bearing in mind that the incapacitation is a long term one you may be dealing with a disability situation, in which case you should address it as such.
Moreover, do you happen to have an insurance scheme in place? The employee may be entitled to a lump sum for their incapacity, which could become part of a compensation package.
The issue is very sensitive. Especially, as there may be a possibility of a disability. As such, you need to make sure you minimise your risks, therefore if at any of the above stages you find it difficult to handle you must engage a local specialist lawyer to assist you.