How Can We Finance a Matter Close to the Heart?

BCC has followed the so-called «Fjordteam Case» with great interest, and now the Department of Labour and Social Affairs has repealed the decision by the Labour Inspectorate and the Department of Labour Inspectorate.

By: Berit Hustad Nilsen – Photo: Fredrik Blekstad

BCC and the local churches have had great focus on establishing good facilities for our activities. We have very many enthusiastic members who want to contribute, and who would gladly donate considerable voluntary effort in order to achieve our goals.

Therefore, over the last year BCC has followed the so-called «Fjordteam Case» with great interest. Fjordteam AS is a company wholly owned by BCC’s local church in Sandefjord, and is a company that carries out a range of services for various employers.

In December 2015 the Labour Inspectorate of South Norway adopted a resolution with an imposition that Fjordteam AS ought to regard those who provided voluntary effort as employees, and thus Fjordteam ought to draw up written contracts of employment, pay wages and employers’ national insurance contributions. The impositions were appealed against, but the Labour Inspectorate was adamant, and the matter went further to the Department of Labour and Social Affairs. After a period of eight months of processing time the Department of Labour and Social Affairs rescinded the Labour Inspectorate’s imposition regarding written work contracts. However, the imposition of payment of wages and maintenance of work sheets was upheld.

The answer from the Department of Labour and Social Affairs could not be appealed against, and Fjordteam AS therefore chose to take the matter to court, through the Department of Labour and Social Affairs and the writ was served on 28th September 2016. However, before the case had come before the courts, it was very gratifying to register the clarification that appears in a letter that Fjordteam AS received from the Department of Labour and Social Affairs yesterday Monday 24th. October.

It emerges that the Department of Labour and Social Affairs, after an overall evaluation, has come to this that in general no employer relationship exists for the hundreds of members who have given a voluntary effort for Fjordteam AS in Sandefjord. The department concludes by repealing the Labour Inspectorate’s resolution from 22nd August 2016, and they repeal in its entirety the South Norway Labour Inspectorate’s resolution from 8th December 2015.

BCC is a church with a high level of activity and great enthusiasm amongst its members. Voluntary work has had an important role to play in the great work of creating sound and good activities and alternatives for children and youth. This clarification means a lot for BCC’s many thousands of members in Norway, but it also means a great deal for the role of voluntariness in society in general. It is uplifting news that associations and organisations still have the possibility to carry out work parties to contribute to matters close to the heart!

Please read our article regarding voluntariness in BCC’s Annual Report from 2015

Read more about financing matters of the heart in BCC’s Annual Report from 2014.