Norway

Region: Europe

Disability Definition

Standardized use and understanding of the terms was done in St.meld.nr. 40 (2002-2003) explained the key concepts: 1) Disability refers to the loss of, damage to or abnormality in a body part or in one of the body’s psychological, physiological or biological functions. This may, for example, be a case of impaired movement, vision or hearing function, impaired cognitive function or various disabilities due to allergies, heart or lung diseases.

The term disabled is used about people who have their practical way of life significantly limited due to the gap or mismatch between the person’s disability and the demands of the environment / society.

Legislation

The Guardianship Act of 2010, as entered into force in 2013, aligned Norwegian law with Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed by Norway in 2007 and ratified in 2013.

The principle of equality and the prohibition against discrimination are laid down in Article 98 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Norway, which reads as follows: “All people are equal under the law. No human being must be subject to unfair or disproportionate differential treatment.” This was added to the Constitution in May 2014.

The Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act protects against discrimination based on disability. The basis for discrimination covers physical, mental and cognitive disabilities. The purpose of the Act is to promote equality and equity, ensure equal opportunities for and rights to social participation for all persons, regardless of functional ability, and to prevent discrimination based on disability. Furthermore, the Act should help remove barriers created by society and prevent new ones from being created.

Employer Legal Requirements

The Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act identifies that public authorities, employers and employer organisations are subject to activity and reporting obligations and imposes a duty to ensure both universal design (general accommodation) and individual accommodation.

The Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act requires public authorities, the social partners and private-sector employers with more than 50 employees to make active, targeted and systematic efforts to promote equality and prevent discrimination based on disability.

Employers must provide accommodations information in recruitment processes.

The Working Environment Act also has provisions concerning special accommodation for employees with a reduced capacity for work. According to the latter, the employer has a special obligation to provide individual support for employees with reduced capacity for work and for employees who at some stage of the working relationship develop a need for facilitation.

Employers in public enterprises and private enterprises with more than 50 employees have a duty to account for the work on gender equality and non-discrimination in the annual report or another publicly available document. This applies for the first time in the year 2020, in annual reports published in 2021. This requirement is about promoting equality and preventing discrimination based on gender, pregnancy, maternity leave or adoption, care tasks, ethnicity, religion, outlook on life, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and combinations of these basics. The obligation applies to the areas described in the law: Recruitment, Wages and working conditions, Promotion and development opportunities, Facilitation and the opportunity to combine work and family life, Other relevant areas in their business.

Accessibility Requirements

The Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act contains a specific provision regarding universal design of ICT. The Act provides the legal basis for the Regulations for Universal Design of Information and Communication Technology Solutions , which specify who must comply with the statutory requirements, which ICT systems must be universally designed, which requirements must be met, and when the requirements enter into force. Net-based systems must comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.

Universal design is one of the purposes of the Planning and Building Act

National Development Programme for Universal Design in Counties and Municipalities (2009–2013) and a website providing information on good local and regional practice and examples. The website Bygg for alle [Buildings for Everyone] shows the location of the accessible buildings managed by Statsbygg.

European Accessibility Act:  The European Parliament and the Council came to a provisional agreement on the Commission’s proposal for a European Accessibility Act on 8 November 2018 (https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1202).

The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs Norway Country Dashboard

The Web Accessibility Initiative provides web and digital requirements on the Norway country page. Enacted in 2013, Norway has a requirement for WCAG 2.0 derivative.

Cultural Norms

The principle of organisational and social integration forms the basis for developing measures in the different sectors. The principle of sectoral responsibility, a rights-based approach, and user involvement form the basis of Norwegian policy for persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities still face barriers that hinder equal opportunities for activity and participation. Persons with disabilities in Norway must have opportunities for personal development, participation, and self-realisation on an equal basis with others.

Business Practices/Examples

Coming soon.

Insights

15 percent of the Norwegian population has disabilities.

According to Bufdir, in 2016, 44% of people with disabilities work, compared with 73% in the general population.

Supplier Diversity

Unknown

Talent Sourcing Resources

The Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry (NHO) is Norway’s largest community for companies. NHO’s own inclusion project Ringer i Vannet (Rings/Ripples in the Water) was carried out from 2012-2018, and as many as 80% of those who went through an internship were offered a job. Rings in the Water as a method has been evaluated by various researchers.

As part of the government’s inclusion effort, NHO and Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) have established a new collaborative project called “We include!“. The employer organizations Virke, Spekter and KS and the employee organizations LO, YS, Akademikerne and Unio also participate in the project. The project is led by the Directorate of Labor and Welfare and will be tested in three counties: Oslo, Vestland and Trøndelag.

Additional Resources

The Norwegian Forum for Organisations of Disabled People (SAFO) is an umbrella organization for the Norwegian Association for the Disabled (NAD), The Norwegian Association for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (NFU) and The Norwegian Association of the Deafblind (FNDB). https://www.safo.no/english/

The Norwegian Federation of Organisations of Disabled People (FFO) is an umbrella organisation with 84 member organisations of people with disabilities and chronic diseases. https://www.ffo.no/Organisasjonen/About-FFO/ FFO also provides a Member Directory to contact a specific organization. https://www.ffo.no/medlemsorganisasjoner/

The Norwegian Association of Disabled (NAD) is an advocacy organisation of people with disabilities. Their vision is a society for all, where people with disabilities have the same opportunity as other people have to live according to their own wishes, abilities and interests. https://nhf.no/english/

Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs: https://bufdir.no/Statistikk_og_analyse/Nedsatt_funksjonsevne/

Norwegian Association for the Blind and Partially Sighted https://www.blindeforbundet.no/

European Disability Forum (EDF) is an independent European non-governmental organization (ENGO) that represents the interests of 50 million disabled people in the European Union and stands for their rights. It was created in 1996 and is based in Brussels. http://www.edf-feph.org/

The Council of Nordic Cooperation on Disability https://nordicwelfare.org/en/disability-issues/

References

Bufdir https://bufdir.no/Statistikk_og_analyse/Nedsatt_funksjonsevne/Arbeid/)
Senior Advisor, Sverre Helseth, Email address: sverre.gjone.helseth@bufdir.no

Norway Universally Designed by 2025 https://www.regjeringen.no/globalassets/upload/bld/nedsatt-funksjonsevne/norway-universally-designed-by-2025-web.pdf The government’s main goal for its ICT policy in general is to have an information society that is for everyone, cf White Paper (Stortingsmelding) no. 17 (2006-2007). Norway is one of the foremost countries in the world when it comes to the access to and use of ICT. The fact that large parts of society use digital solutions means that the consequences of being excluded are greater, and this particularly applies to the elderly and people with disabilities.

A Society For All. The government’s strategy for the equality of persons with disabilities for the period 2020–2030. https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/bc8396c163f148dc8d4dc8707482e2be/a-society-for-all_web.pdf

How companies and governments can work together to advance disability inclusion. Bloomberg October 31, 2019. https://www.bloomberg.com/company/stories/how-companies-and-governments-can-work-together-to-advance-disability-inclusion/

Social responsibility at company level and inclusion of disabled persons: the case of Norway https://www.sjdr.se/articles/10.1080/15017419.2013.814586/