Two years brought a hefty severance pay

THE STORTING (Dagbladet): Before summer, the Storting will consider whether the severance pay scheme for politicians should go ahead.

The arrangement was unusual in society at large: Any politician who capitulated to Lovebakken could apply for severance pay. For 2023, this severance pay is NOK 700,000. Severance pay is given to politicians who say they will find work or continue their education.

In addition, there are three monthly salaries which are called resignation allowances, which are around NOK 250,000.

One of the recipients of severance pay for one year is Aase Simonsen (H). The former mayor of Karmøy was in the Storting as permanent representative from 24 January 2020 to 30 September 2021.

IN THE six these months, the Storting is free from meetings due to summer vacation.

The 66 year old received NOK 700,000 for applying for a job

NOK 700,000

After months in the Storting, Simonsen received his full severance pay for a year of further education.

The 61-year-old woman told Dagbladet she needed new skills after her time in national politics.

– For me, it’s positive having to return to work after many years, he wrote in an SMS to Dagbladet.

AASE AND ERNA: Simonsen, since becoming mayor of Karmøy, along with Conservative leader Erna Solberg.  Erna Solberg doesn't want to talk to Dagbladet about severance pay at Lovebakken.  Photo: Erlend Aas/NTB

AASE AND ERNA: Simonsen, since becoming mayor of Karmøy, along with Conservative leader Erna Solberg. Erna Solberg doesn’t want to talk to Dagbladet about severance pay at Lovebakken. Photo: Erlend Aas/NTB
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In a text exchange with Dagbladet, Simonsen pointed to his time as mayor as part of the reason he wanted severance from the Storting.

– I have not worked other than political posts since 2009, he wrote.

Half received too much money

Half received too much money

First day after retirement: New job

However, this does not mean that severance pay in the Storting must be used to accommodate the knowledge gap that has been created by another political positions outside the Storting.

Simonsen was a part-time local politician while he was studying, and deducted this income from his pension. The severance pay he received was in line with the arrangements the Storting itself has put in place to this day.

Simonsen’s severance lasts until 31 December 2022. Two days later – 2 January 2023 – he returns to work.

The far-right leader then took a management job at a company where he also worked from 1989 to 2009.

- Let's go to Nav!

– Let’s go to Nav!

Moxnes: – It doesn’t work

Rødt and SV want to abolish the severance pay scheme at the Storting. They haven’t brought in the other side yet, but Dagbladet is aware that several parties are on the fence.

– Aase Simonsen’s situation is another example of a severance pay scheme not working properly, leader Rødt Bjørnar Moxnes told Dagbladet.

– As very well said, severance pay should be used for “upgrading of competence” and “upgrading of the previous profession”, but here the ex-mayor was paid 700,000 for one year after entering as a substitute for the Conservative Party for 20 months. This is on top of a retirement allowance with three months of full salary and the entitlements we all have in the welfare state, said Moxnes.

Leader Rødt pointed out that the severance pay at Storting contributed to too large a gap between the men on the street and the men on Lovebakken.

– An ordinary person who lives and does work for 20 months doesn’t get parachute 700,000 afterwards, no matter how much they have to freshen up at their old job. In this case, student loans and unemployment benefits apply. I don’t see why other rules should be applied to top politicians, especially when you look at what severance pay is used for, said Moxnes.

The Remuneration Committee, which evaluates all schemes in the Storting, proposed continuing to pay severance pay, despite protests from a minority of the committee.

Lance Heptinstall

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