Minister Kjersti Toppe is still in the think tank. But the FRP has concluded. The party believes Nav should pay back parental benefits to fathers who lost them because they applied too late.
Carl I. Hagen says he supports the Civil Ombudsman in the legal feud between the ombud and Nav over the paternity quota trap. The FRP’s member of the Storting’s control and constitution committee believes that all fathers who have lost parental benefits because they have applied to withdraw their paternity quota too late, should be paid money in arrears.
And he believes the control committee should create a case on the subject.
In short, the case revolves around the following:
- As Aftenposten has revealed, hundreds of fathers a year have for several years missed all or part of the father quota. It is now on 15 weeks with salary. The fathers have fallen into a trap when they have applied to postpone their father quota after the mother’s paid leave is over.
- Gunnar O Hæreid is one of them. Like many others, he complained in vain to Nav. He took the case to the Social Insurance Court and also lost there. Then he complained to the Civil Ombudsman, who supported him. The ombud believes that Nav has misinterpreted the regulations and should re-examine his case.
- However, Nav would not bow to the Civil Ombudsman.
- This led to a new letter from the Civil Ombudsman to Nav. Here, the ombud writes straight out that it recommends Hæreid and others to sue Nav if Nav does not bend. Hæreid promises free legal aid. He is now working on getting a lawyer. Nav has not yet responded to this letter.
- At the same time, the Storting’s control and constitution committee has begun to look into the matter. A unanimous committee said this spring that the administration should bow to the Civil Ombudsman’s statements – even in cases where they do not agree with the ombud.
Hagen: We support the Civil Ombudsman’s interpretation
Fathers should be reimbursed for what they should have been paid if the parental benefit was not reduced because they submitted the application too late. That is our position, says Carl I. Hagen.
In June this year, the Storting amended the law to remove the so-called father quota trap. Hagen interprets this as a clear sign that the Storting has not intended that the fathers should initially lose money if they applied for Nav’s deadline.
– Then you have to pay compensation, he says.
Uninteresting what it will cost
According to updated figures from Nav, 843 fathers lost all or part of their father quota last year, after applying too late. If Hæreid wins his case, other fathers can demand the same. Hagen does not have an overview of what it will cost the state.
– No, it’s uninteresting to me. When the state has made a mistake, then the state must correct that mistake. It is about morality and law, he says and emphasizes that he thus shares the Civil Ombudsman’s interpretation of the law. He adds that the state has a spacious economy.
The change the Storting made in June, to remove a requirement for continuous leave, could have taken place much earlier. The red-green government proposed the same in 2013. But the FRP’s then Minister for Children and Families put the change in the law in the drawer.
– Is it a crossroads for you, that Frps Solveig Horne, could have cleaned up in 2013?
– Any minister can make mistakes and be seduced, he says.
Horne has since regretted that she did this.
– It strengthens my point that post-payment should be given here, he says.
Peaks have not concluded
A few days after she took office as Minister of State, Minister for Children and Families Kjersti Toppe stated that she supported Nav in this matter. In retrospect, however, she has expressed that she is now in dialogue with Nav and possibly slipping into the matter.
The Control Committee has sent two questions about the case to Toppe. She has recently answered them. Here she explains the assessments made in the ministry and Nav. She points out to Aftenposten that she repeats the practice and argumentation that has prevailed in Nav and the ministry.
– Is the content of the committee’s response an expression that you do not support the Civil Ombudsman?
– No, I am still considering the case and especially after the Civil Ombudsman’s latest letter to Nav. I have not drawn a final conclusion in this case, says the Minister.
Meeting of the committee on Tuesday
Rødt’s member of the control committee, Seher Aydar, has previously come to the same conclusion as Hagen.
Earlier this autumn, she asked the government “to ensure that the administration complies with the Civil Ombudsman’s statements that these families are entitled to parental benefits.”
Which other parties may choose to do the same is so far unclear. There is a new meeting of the committee next Tuesday.