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Employment Laws in Norway

Updated on:
16 Jan, 2024
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Norway is one of the world's wealthiest and most developed countries, with a per capita GDP of 102.46 billion USD. The country boasts a robust and stable economy characterized by its reliance on natural resources, such as petroleum and hydropower. In addition, Norway also places a high priority on education, investing heavily in research and development to drive technological advancements and foster a culture of innovation.

These factors make Norway an attractive destination for business enterprises seeking global expansion. 

Partnering with an EOR is the most practical approach to navigating the Norwegian labor market and hiring remote employees with local compliance. However, if you want to familiarize yourself with the employment laws in Norway, here’s a detailed guide covering various aspects like working hours, wage requirements, termination, and more. 

So, let’s get started!

Contractual Agreements

The Norwegian Working Environment Act primarily governs contractual agreements in Norway. It lays down the general principles applicable to contracts, including the key information an employment contract must contain. 

According to the contract employment law in Norway, a written contract is mandatory in all employment relations. Some of the key requirements for the content of contractual agreements in Norway are:

  • Identity of the parties
  • Information about the workplace
  • Starting date of employment and expected duration
  • Detailed description of the job role
  • Agreed salary
  • Working conditions, including working hours and length of breaks, and
  • Employer and employee’s notice period, among others.

Types of employment contracts 

The contract employment law in Norway recognizes mainly two types of employment contracts

Permanent employment contracts

  • As a standard practice, permanent, full-time employment is typically expected for all employees.

Temporary employment contracts

  • Temporary agreements come alongside a specified start and end date.
  • These contracts are usually suitable for short-term projects or temporary staffing solutions. 

Obligations and rights for both parties

In Norway, employers and employees have specific rights and obligations outlined by law to ensure fair and respectful working conditions. Employers are obligated to

  • Ensure full compliance with all the rules and regulations laid down by the Working Environment Act,
  • Act upon notification of any objectionable condition in the business, 
  • Prepare routines for internal reporting and
  • Undergo training in health, environmental, and safety work, among others.

Employees are obligated to

  • Contribute to the design and implementation of the company’s systematic health,
  • Report objectionable circumstances in the employer’s business, and 
  • Comply with orders from the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority, among others.

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Working Hours and Overtime

Working hours and overtime are regulated by the employment laws in Norway and various other collective agreements. 

Regular working hours

  • The regular working hours should not exceed 9 hours a day and 40 hours per week.

Overtime regulations and compensation

  • According to the labor law in Norway, overtime work should not exceed ten hours in seven days, 25 hours in four consecutive weeks, and 200 hours within 52 weeks. 
  • Employees are entitled to an overtime compensation of at least 40%.

Minimum Wage and Compensation

Norway has a long tradition of promoting wage equality and fair compensation practices. On that note, let’s look at Norway’s current national minimum wage requirements.

The minimum wage rate in 2024

  • As per the Norway labor law, there is no mandatory minimum pay for workers.
  • Wage-setting processes in Norway are characterized by collective bargaining or other means of negotiating a fair living wage.

Factors affecting wage determination

Various factors, such as labor market dynamics and collective bargaining agreements, influence wage determination in Norway. 

  • Collective bargaining agreements

Collective bargaining between trade unions and employers’ organizations is the primary mechanism of wage determination in Norway. These negotiations set the legal framework for wage levels and other employment terms across different sectors and industries. 

  • Labor market regulations

Labor market regulations in Norway are designed to promote fairness, equality, and economic stability in the workplace. They help create a conducive environment for wage determination that benefits workers and employers.

Employee Benefits and Social Security

Norway’s employee benefits and social security program system is designed to provide comprehensive support to workers through various stages of their lives. 

Statutory benefits

Unemployment benefit (dagpenger)

  • Unemployed individuals or employees temporarily laid off are entitled to unemployment benefits under the National Insurance Scheme.
  • It is calculated based on an employee’s income over the last 12 months or the average income in the previous 36 months.

Sickness benefit (sykepenger) 

  • Sickness benefits provide financial compensation to employed National Insurance Scheme (NIS) members who cannot work due to injury or illness.
  • These benefits are partially provided by the employers and the NAV (Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration).

Family-related benefits

  • Parental benefits aim to secure financial support for parents upon the arrival of a child. 
  • Eligibility for this requires individuals to have been actively employed and received a pensionable income for at least six of the last ten months before the benefit period begins.
  • Those covered under the NIS may qualify for child benefits until their child reaches the age of 18.
  • Parents also have the option to seek cash benefits for children aged one or two if the child does not participate in full-time kindergarten.

Pension benefits

  • Employees enrolled in the NIS for one year are eligible for pension benefits in Norway.

Additional perks and benefits

Disability benefits

  • Disability benefit is awarded to employees whose earning capacity has reduced due to illness or injury.

Survivor’s pension

  • A survivor’s pension constitutes several benefits, such as a basic pension, supplementary pension, and other special supplements.

Social security contributions and requirements

National Insurance Scheme

  • Employees (7.8%), employers (14.1%), and self-employed individuals (11%) must contribute to the National Insurance Scheme in Norway.
  • Incomes up to NOK 69,650 are exempt, with contributions capped at 25% of income exceeding this threshold.
  • Individuals under 17 or over 69 years old are subject to a reduced contribution rate of 5.1%.
  • Lower contribution rates might apply to employers located in sparsely populated areas. 
  • For income surpassing NOK 850,000, the employer’s contribution increases by 5%, resulting in a total rate of 19.1%.

Vacations and Paid Time-Off

The labor laws of Norway lay down rules and regulations related to vacations and unpaid leaves

Annual leave entitlement

  • Employees in Norway are entitled to 25 working days or four weeks and one day of annual leave.
  • Employees who turn 60 during the holiday year get six extra or one week’s continuous holiday.

Public holidays and special leaves

Mentioned below are the public holidays in Norway,

  • New Year’s Day
  • Maundy Thursday
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday
  • Labor Day
  • Constitution Day
  • Ascension Day
  • Whit Sunday
  • Whit Monday
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

Sick leave

  • The labor law in Norway mandates 52 weeks of sick leave for employees.
  • Employees must provide a medical certificate to claim daily sickness benefits from the NIS.
  • The sickness benefits for the first sixteen days are borne by the employers.

Prenatal examinations

  • Female employees in Norway are entitled to take time off from work with pay for pregnancy checkups if such examinations cannot reasonably be scheduled outside of working hours.

Pregnancy leave

  • Up to 12 weeks of pregnancy leave is provided to female employees.

Maternity leave

  • Following childbirth, employed mothers can take maternity leave for the initial six weeks unless they provide a doctor’s certificate stating that it is medically advisable for them to resume work.

Caring leave

  • In relation to birth, fathers are granted caring leave of two weeks to support the mother.
  • Adoptive and foster parents are also provided two weeks ’ leave when caring for a child.

Parental leave

  • Employment laws in Norway mandate 12 months of parental leave to employees.

Illness of children and carers

  • Employees can take up to ten days of leave per calendar year to provide care for their children.
  • Employees with care responsibilities for more than two children are granted 15 days of leave, as per labor laws of Norway.

Care for and nurturing of close relatives.

  • Employees caring for close relatives at home during the final phase of life are entitled to a leave period of 60 days.
  • Ten days of annual leave are offered to employees to provide the necessary care to specific family members such as parents, spouses, or registered partners.

Educational leave

  • According to the labor law in Norway, employees are entitled to full or partial educational leave for up to three years under certain conditions.
  • The employee must have been active in the workforce for at least three years, and the same employer should have employed them for the previous two years.

Military/National service

  • Employees in Norway have the right to take leave for compulsory or voluntary military service or similar public security service. 

Religious Holidays

  • Individuals observing religious holidays that are not officially recognized as public holidays are entitled to take time off from work. 
  • It includes two self-selected days per year in accordance with the religious practices of employees.

Termination and Severance

Employers in Norway are not legally required to issue a formal warning before proceeding with a dismissal or a summary dismissal. However, certain norms laid down by the labor laws of Norway need to be followed. 

Grounds for termination

Norwegian law does not recognize ‘at-will employment’ and demands just grounds for termination. It includes,

  • Downsizing
  • Gross breach of duty or serious breach of the contract of employment
  • Consistently poor performance
  • Neglect of duties
  • Disloyalty to a degree that warrants termination

Notice period and severance pay

  • The duration of the notice period depends on the length of employment.
Duration of employment Notice Period
Less than five years One month
Five years to ten years Two months
Ten years and above
  • Three months (for employees under 50 years of age)
  • Four months (for employees above 50 years of age)
  • Five months (for employees above 55 years of age)
  • Six months (for employees above 60 years of age)
  • There is no severance pay currently mandated by the labor law in Norway.
  • Collective agreements under certain conditions may demand additional payments.

Discrimination and Equal Opportunities

Norway has robust legislation and policies to promote equal opportunities and combat discrimination in matters related to employment.

Prohibitions against workplace discrimination

  • The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act promotes equality and prohibits discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, religion, childbirth, disability, gender identity, and gender expression, among others.

Health and Safety Regulations

  • Laws related to occupational health and safety regulations are based on the Working Environment Act 1977 (the latest amendment in 2017).
  • Under this Act, all companies in the country must follow a systematic approach to their working environment to promote health and safety in the workplace.

Stay Compliant with Skuad

Whether you are a startup looking to scale or an established company seeking to expand your reach, Skuad has the resources and expertise to help you succeed in international hiring. 

Trusted by global leaders such as SixSense, Snaphunt, Simwell, and others, Skuad is an all-in-one platform that enables enterprises to diversify their talent pool. From digital onboarding and employee benefits to streamlined payments and local compliance, Skuad’s global platform simplifies international hiring and expansion. 

Ready to hire compliantly and nurture global talent? Schedule a demo with Skuad!


Q1: What is the employment policy in Norway?

A1: The employment policy in Norway is guided by principles aimed at promoting full employment, ensuring decent working conditions, and fostering social conclusion. It is based on the Working Environment Act of 1977.

Q2: What are the legal working hours in Norway?

A2: The standard working hours in Norway are typically 37.5 to 40 hours per week, depending on collective agreements. 

Q3: What are the leave laws in Norway?

A3: The labor laws of Norway cover various types of leave, such as holiday leave, parental leave, and sick leave, among others. For example, the Holiday Act mandates 25 working days or four weeks and one day of annual leave. 

Q4: What is the legal working age in Norway?

A4: Generally, children under the age of 15 or attending compulsory education can not work according to the Working Environment Act. However, there are some exceptions. For example, minors aged 13 or more may engage in light work that does not interfere with their education or harm their health and well-being.

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