Norway

Labor Compliance Guide

Labor Requirements

In Norway, the Holidays Act covers vacation entitlement, while sick leave is covered by the National Insurance Act of 1997 and data protection by the Personal Data Act of 2000. Protections against discrimination are found in the Discrimination in Gender Neutrality Act of 2013, the Act Against Discrimination Based on Ethnicity of 2013, the Discrimination and Accessibility Act of 2013 and the Act Against Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation. Norway’s population consists of approximately 5 million people. The country boasts a labor force of approximately 2.7 million. Labor and employment law is primarily regulated by the Federal government in Norway.

 

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The normal working hours must not exceed nine hours in 24 hours and 40 hours in 7 days. The employer and the employee may agree in writing that normal working hours be averaged over a period of up to 52 weeks, provided that working time does not exceed 9 hours on any day and 48 hours in any week. Special rules apply to shift workers, persons who work underground, persons who are required to work on Sundays or at night and persons under the age of 18.

 

The normal working hours must not exceed 9 hours in 24 hours and 38 hours in 7 days for:

      • 24-hour shift work and comparable turnaround work;
      • Two-shift work routinely run on Sundays and public holidays and comparable roundtrips regularly run on Sundays and weekends,
      • Work where individual employee is required to work at least every third Sunday,
      • Work mainly operated at night.

The normal working hours must not exceed nine hours in 24 hours and 36 hours in 7 days for:

        • Full-time shift work and comparable turnaround work;
        • Work underground in mines, tunneling, and exploration of underground rock spaces.

For triple shift and roundtrip work not covered above, where the individual employee must work at least every third Sunday, the normal working time is reduced by each hour working on Sunday and weekend days which is counted as 1 hour and 10 minutes, and every hour of work at night, is counted equal to 1 hour and 15 minutes, down to 36 hours within 7 days . However, normal working hours may not exceed nine hours in 24 hours and 38 hours in 7 days.

 

In addition, employees who are 62 or older have the right to reduce their working hours if it can be arranged without major inconvenience to the employer. Section 10-1 to 10-13 Working Environment Act.

 

Averaging Working Hours

Effective January 1, 2019, employer and employee may in writing agree that the average working hours may be arranged so that during a period not exceeding 52 weeks on average they do not exceed the requirements of normal work hour provisions, but that the normal working time does not exceed 10 hours in 24 hours and 48 hours in seven days.

 

The 48-hour limit within seven days can be calculated over a period of eight weeks, yet the normal working time does not exceed 50 hours in a single week. § 10-5 Working Environment Act.

 

Working Hours for Minors

Working hours for persons under the age of 18 must be laid so as not to hinder schooling or prevent them from taking advantage of the teaching. For children under 15 years of age or who are attending compulsory education, the working time shall not exceed:

            • 2 hours a day on days with teaching and 12 hours a week for weeks with teaching,
            • 7 hours a day on days without teaching and 35 hours a week for weeks without teaching,
            • 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week for total work and school hours where the work is a component of the student’s education and involves alternating theoretical and practical education.

For young people between the ages of 15 and 18 who are not required for school, the working time shall not exceed 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. § 11-2 Working Environment Act.

Overtime

Overtime work must not exceed 10 hours in seven days, 25 hours for four consecutive weeks and 200 hours within a period of 52 weeks.

 

Employers and employees’ elected representatives in activities that are bound by a collective agreement may, in writing, may make overtime work up to 20 hours within seven days, but so that total overtime work does not exceed 50 hours in four consecutive weeks. Overtime work must not exceed 300 hours within a period of 52 weeks.

 

Total working hours must not exceed 13 hours in 24 hours or 48 hours in 7 days. The 48-hour limit within seven days can be calculated over a period of eight weeks. The total working time according to collective agreement for averaging working hours and collective agreement for overtime should not exceed 69 hours in a single week.

 

For overtime work, a supplemental allowance of at least 40 percent should be paid to the employee. Employer and employee may in writing agree that overtime hours in full or in part shall be taken in the form of work-free at an agreed time. Section 10-6 Working Environment Act.

Night Work

Work between 2100hrs and 0600hrs is night work. Employers and employees’ elected representatives in activities that are bound by a collective agreement may, in writing, determine another period of at least eight hours which comprises the time between noon 0000hrs and 0600hrs. No night work is considered if shifts are laid between 0600hrs and 0000hrs. Night work is not permitted unless the nature of the work makes it necessary. 

 

The average working time of an employee who regularly works more than three hours at night shall not, on average, exceed eight hours in 24 hours. The average is calculated over four weeks. § 10-11 Working Environment Act.

 

Night Work for Minor

Children under 15 years of age or undergoing schooling shall not work between 2000hrs and 0600hrs. § 11-3 Working Environment Act.

Breaks

Rest breaks are compulsory after 5.5 hours of work and must be at least 30 minutes in duration. Employees are entitled to the continuous off-duty time of at least 11 hours between shifts and 35 hours per week unless agreed otherwise in a collective agreement.

 

If bound by a collective bargaining agreement, the employer and the employees’ representatives can agree upon exceptions to the 11-hour daily rest rule, but generally, the period can be no shorter than eight hours.

 

Employees who are needed to work a Sunday generally are allowed the following Sunday off. As an exception to this rule, an employer and an employee may agree that the employee will be off-duty on average every other Sunday over a period of 26 weeks, provided that the weekly 24-hour off-duty period falls on a Sunday at least every third week. § 10-8 – 10-9 Working Environment Act.  

 

Breastfeeding Breaks

A woman who is breastfeeding her child may require the free she for that reason needs. A woman who has breastfeeding has the right to pay in the child’s first year of living up to one hour on working days with agreed working hours seven hours or more.

§ 12-8 Working Environment Act.  Amended by Law 7 June 2013 No. 27 (January 1, 2014, according to June 7, 2013 No. 590.

 

Break Time for Minors

Persons under the age of 18 years shall have a rest period of at least half an hour if possible coherent if the daily working time exceeds four and a half hours. Within each 24-hour period, there shall be a continuous working-free period of at least 14 hours for children under the age of 15 or under the school, 12 hours for young people between the ages of 15 and 18 who are not required to attend school.

 

Persons under the age of 18 must have a continuous working period of at least 48 hours in seven days. The working-class period shall as far as possible be added to Sunday or Sundays. Persons under the age of 18 who attend school shall have at least four weeks of holiday leave a year, of which at least two weeks during the summer vacation. § 11-5 Working Environment Act.

Sunday Work

An employee must be work-free from 1800 on the day before a Sunday or a weekend till 2200 the day before the next business day. On Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, the employee shall be work free from noon. 1500 to 2200 the day before the next business day. Work within these periods is considered as Sunday and weekend work.

 

In activities that are bound by a collective agreement, the employer and employee representatives may enter into a written agreement on work on Sundays and Sundays if there is a special and time-limited need for this. § 10-10 Working Environment Act.

Public Holidays

Norwegian law establishes 12 public holidays for which employees are excused from work:

  • New Year’s Day;
  • Maundy Thursday;
  • Good Friday;
  • Easter Sunday;
  • Easter Monday;
  • Labour Day (May 1);
  • Ascension Day;
  • Constitution Day (May 17);
  • Whit Sunday;
  • Whit Monday;
  • Christmas Day;
  • Boxing Day.

Work on public holidays is not permitted unless necessitated by the nature of the employment. Public holidays that fall on a weekend are not moved to a weekday. Any premium pay that employees might earn above their normal wage rate for working on a public holiday is negotiated in collective bargaining agreements and employment contract. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), § 10.

Annual Leave

Under the Holidays Act, employees are entitled to 25 working days paid annual leave. Employees who reach the age of 60 during a holiday year shall be given 6 working days’ extra holiday. If the extra holiday is divided up, the employee may only demand as many working days off as he normally works in a week. A new employee hired no later than Sept. 30 is entitled to the full amount of annual leave and an employee who starts work at a later date is entitled to only six days.

 

During the annual leave, employees are entitled to a special pay rate equal to 10.2 percent of the employee’s wages in the previous year. For employees age 60 or over, annual leave pay is increased by 2.3 percent. Annual leave pay must be paid out immediately before the holiday.

 

An employer is entitled to decide as to when the employee shall take the annual vacation but has to consult with the employee or the employee representative first. Employees are entitled to take three weeks of their annual leave during the period between June 1 and Sept. 30, however, and may take the remainder in one period. As a general rule, all annual leave must be taken in one calendar year, although the parties may agree in writing that up to 12 days of annual leave may be carried over to the following year.

 

Holiday pay earned in the employment of an employer the preceding qualifying year is paid on the last normal pay day before the holiday. An employee may nevertheless demand payment of holiday pay at the latest 1 week before the beginning of the holiday.

 

If holidays are divided, holiday pay shall be divided correspondingly. The amount by which holiday pay exceeds wages for normal working hours in the holiday may nevertheless be paid in connection with the taking of the main holiday or together with wages for June.

 

During Illness

An employee who is completely incapacitated for work before his holiday may demand to have the holiday postponed until later in the holiday year. The demand must be supported by a medical certificate and be submitted at the latest on the last working day the employee would have worked before the holiday.

 

During Parental Leave

An employer may not without the consent of the employee fix holidays to periods of leave during which parental benefit is being paid of the National Insurance Act.

 

During Military Service or Other Compulsory Services

An employer may not without the employee’s consent to fix a holiday for a period when the employee is engaged in compulsory service in the Home Guard or Civil Defense or in military reserve training exercises.

 

During Industrial Disputes

During a lawful industrial dispute (strike or lockout) holidays may be fixed and required to be taken in accordance with the rules. An employer may not because of a lawful industrial dispute change the dates fixed for a holiday. Holidays Act, 1988 (as amended), §§ 5-11.

Minimum Wage

Norway does not have a statutory minimum wage, but minimum wages are often addressed in collective agreements.

 

Wages must be paid at least twice per month unless otherwise agreed. At the time salary is paid or shortly thereafter, the employer must provide the employee with a written statement of how wages, any holiday pay and any deductions from pay were calculated. Working Environment Act, 2005, § 14-15.

Special Leave

Maternity Leave

Employees who earn at least 50 percent of the National Insurance base amount and who have worked at least six months in the previous 10 months are entitled to paid maternity leave. A female employee is entitled to 49 weeks of paid leave, or 59 weeks leave at 80 percent pay. Of the total period of leave, 10 weeks consists of paternity leave (which is forfeited if not used) and the remainder may be shared between the parents.

 

The mother must take at least three weeks (but no more than 12 weeks) of leave before the expected birth date, and six weeks immediately after the child is born. She may postpone taking a portion of the leave, but all leave must be taken within three years. The leave is paid by the social security system.

 

At adoption, the parental benefit period starts when the parents assume care of the child. Therefore, the total benefit period for the parental benefit for adoption is 46 weeks at 100 percent coverage, and 56 weeks at 80 percent coverage. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), §§ 12-1 to 12-4.

Parental Leave

Employees who earn at least 50 percent of the National Insurance base amount and who have worked at least six months in the previous 10 months are entitled to paid parental leave. Norway provides for 49 weeks of paid leave at 100 percent of salary, 59 weeks’ leave at 80 percent pay. Of the total period of leave, 10 weeks consists of paternity leave (which is forfeited if not used) and the remainder may be shared between the parents.

 

The parents may postpone taking a portion of the leave, but all leave must be taken within three years. The leave is paid by the social security system. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), §§ 12-5. 

Partial Leave

Partial leave is based on an agreement between employer and employee. Employee’s desire for completion of the partial parental leave must be fulfilled unless this presents significant disadvantages to the business. Employees have the right to be assisted by a trustee or other representative. Partial leave agreement may change or cease when special reasons make it necessary. Partial leave must be issued within a three-year timeframe. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), §§ 12-6.

Prenatal Leave

An employee who is pregnant is entitled to leave of employment in connection with pregnancy check if such investigations cannot reasonably take place outside of working hours. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), §§ 12-2.

Care Leave post Birth or Adoption

In connection with the birth, the father is entitled to two weeks of leave to assist the mother. If the parents do not live together, the right to leave may be exercised by another who assists the mother. Adoptive parents and foster parents have the right to two weeks leave when taking care of the child. This does not apply to childbirth adoption or if the child is over 15 years old. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), §§ 12-3. 

Child Care Leave for Illness

Employee who cares for children is entitled to leave for necessary supervision of the child when it is ill, or if the child is to be followed for medical examination or other follow up in connection with illness, or if the person with the day-to-day child welfare is ill or has to take leave because of another child.

 

The right to leave applies even to the calendar year the child is 12 years old. Employees are entitled to leave until 10 days each calendar year or up to 15 days if the employee cares for more than two children. 

 

If the child has a chronic illness, prolonged illness or disability and therefore there is a marked increase in the risk of an employee’s absence from work, the employee is entitled to leave for up to 20 days each calendar year. The right to leave applies until the calendar year the child reaches the age of 18. Employees also have the right to leave a permit to participate in training at an approved health institution or public competence center to take care of and treat the child. 

 

Employee who cares for children is entitled to leave if the child is admitted to the health institution and the employee is staying at the health institution, or the child has been hospitalized and the employee must be at home because the child needs continuous supervision and care, or the child has life-threatening or other very serious illness or injury. Employees are entitled to leave when they receive social security benefits, social security benefits or tuition fees from the National Insurance Scheme. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), §§ 12-9.

Nursing Mothers Leave

Nursing mothers are entitled to take off at least 30 minutes twice per day, or reduce their normal working hours by up to one hour per day. Until the child is 12 months old, nursing mothers using their right to take time off for breastfeeding up to one hour per day are entitled to retain their ordinary remuneration for that time, provided that their normal working hours are seven hours or more. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), § 12-8(1).

Paternity Leave

A new father is entitled to two weeks’ unpaid leave of absence. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), § 12-4.

Sick Leave

Under the National Insurance Act, employees who have been employed for at least four weeks before sick leave begins are entitled to 52 weeks of paid sick leave. The employer is responsible for the sick pay for the first 16 days, and after this, the National Insurance scheme takes over. National Insurance pays 100 percent of the employee’s earnings to a maximum of six times the National Insurance base amount. Employers can establish in collective agreements or employment contracts that they will cover the difference between sick pay from the National Insurance and the employee’s full salary for the same or a shorter period.

 

Employees are entitled to sick pay from the first day of absence, but the cause of the sick leave must be documented by a medical certificate. National Insurance Act, 1997 (as amended), § 8-19.

Health Leave

Employees may be entitled to take time off and/or reduce their normal working hours for health, social, or other reasons related to their personal health and welfare. Employees may take leave for up to 10 days per year for the care of a sick child who is 12 years old or younger. In these cases, employees receive “care pay” from the employer or the NIS. Employees who have sole responsibility for the care of the child are allowed up to 20 days of leave annually for this purpose. Parents with more than one child are allowed up to 15 days (30 days if solely responsible for the care of the child). Parents with children who are chronically ill, disabled, or hospitalized are given more extensive paid leave rights. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), § 10-2(4).

Educational Leave

Effective January 1, 2019, employees who have been in employment for at least three years and who have been employed by the employer for the last two years are entitled to full or partial leave for up to three years to participate in organized education. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), § 12-11.

Leave to Care for Dying Relative

An employee taking care of a close relative in the home who is terminally ill is entitled to 20 days’ leave for that purpose.

Care for Close Relative Leave

Employees who are close to home are entitled to leave for 60 days for the care of the individual close relatives. Employees are entitled to leave for up to 10 days each calendar year to provide the necessary care to parents, spouses, cohabitants or registered partners. The same applies to the necessary care for disabled or chronically ill children from the calendar year after the child has reached the age of 18 when the employee has taken care of the child. The Ministry may issue regulations on documentation of necessary care. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), § 12-10.

Leave for Official Duties

An employee is entitled to a leave of absence to the extent necessary to comply with statutory requirements regarding public duties. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), § 12-13.

Religious Leave

Employees who are not members of the Church of Norway are entitled to a maximum of two days of unpaid leave per year to celebrate religious holidays. Employers may require employees to work extra hours without overtime pay to compensate for the religious leave taken. Employees who wish to take religious leave must provide 14 days’ notice to the employer. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), § 12-15.

Leave for Military Service

An employee is entitled to leave on duty or voluntary military service or similar public service. The same applies to voluntary service for a total of 24 months in forces organized by Norwegian authorities for participation in international peace operations, if the employee so soon as possible after entering into a binding agreement on service in such forces, notifies the employer.

 

Employees wishing to continue in posting shall notify the employer before the service commences. The employer is not obliged to return the employee to work until one month after receipt of notice of the date from which the employee can resume work. Working Environment Act, 2005 (as amended), § 12-12.

Work-Related Disability Leave

Employees who suffer a disabling work-related illness or injury are entitled to up to 50 weeks of leave at full pay (to a maximum of six times the National Insurance base amount) from the first day of disability. After 50 weeks, the employee may be eligible for a temporary or permanent disability pension of up to 100 percent of the National Insurance base amount, based on an assessment of the degree of disability by the National Insurance Administration. There is no qualifying period for benefits. National Insurance Act, 1997 (as amended), § 8-19.

Last updated on: February 14th, 2019