Working in Norway: Your rights and obligations
Welcome to Norway as an employee. It is important for you to know about your rights and obligations related to your employment. Here you will find important and relevant information.
You are entitled to a minimum wage when you work in certain sectors in Norway.
There is no general minimum wage (minstelønn) in Norway. Nevertheless, minimum wages have been introduced in certain sectors:
- Cleaning work
- Hotel, Restaurant and Catering
- Maritime construction
- Agriculture and horticulture
- Fish processing
- Freight transport by road
- Passenger transport by tour bus
The rates are updated on a regular basis.
Your salary is agreed upon between you and your employer as part of the employment contract. For more information check with a trade union (fagorganisasjon) in your sector what pay rates apply. More information about trade unions in Norway (eurofound.europa.eu).
It is common in Norway to agree that the wages be paid once a month. After the wages have been paid, or immediately thereafter, the employer shall provide you with a pay slip (lønnsslipp) that shows what you receive in gross salary, tax deductions and other deductions made from your gross salary. As well as what you are getting paid (netto salary), and the calculation method for holiday pay. If you do not receive a pay slip, you must claim it from your employer.
If you have an electronic ID (for example MinID or BankID) (difi.no), you can check what your employer has reported about your taxes and salary by logging in to my tax (skatteetaten.no).
As a rule, an employer cannot make deductions from your wages or your holiday pay. Deductions can only be made if it is statutory or agreed upon in writing, in advance. If you damage or lose the company’s property, you must consent to that a deduction be made from your wages.
Contact the employer immediately orally, then in writing.
Contact your trade union or a lawyer / legal adviser. Document your claim with your employment contract, timesheets, pay slips and/or any other similar documentation.
The Labour Inspection Authority does not have a mandate to enforce payment of outstanding wages from your employer, however it can order your employer to pay the correct wages if you work in the sectors that have a minimum wage agreement.
The main rule in Norway is that all employees are entitled to a holiday (ferie) and holiday pay (feriepenger). You are entitled to 25 working days holiday per year. Working days are all the days of the week except Sundays or statutory/public holidays.
An employee has the right and obligation to use their full holiday, and the employer is obliged to ensure that you take your full holiday. You cannot freely decide when to go on holiday. If you have specific holiday plans, remember to ask for your employer’s permission two months before your holiday.
If you do not come to an agreement, the employer has the final decision in the matter. However, you may request three weeks of continuous holiday during the main holiday period, which is from June 1st to September 30th.
Holiday pay comes instead og your normal salary and makes up at least 10.2 % of your gross salary. Holiday pay is earned the year before it is paid (the holiday year) and must be paid when you have a holiday the following year, or when you stop working in the company. If you are over 60 years old, the rate is 12.5 % of your gross salary. You are also entitled to one additional week of holiday.
Everyone who works in Norway must have a tax deduction card. A tax deduction card shows your employer how much tax they must deduct from your salary.
There are two ways you can pay tax:
- PAYE (Pay As You Earn)
- general tax
PAYE (Pay As You Earn)
Most foreign workers who are new in Norway will automatically become part of the voluntary tax scheme PAYE (Pay As You Earn) when they apply for a tax deduction card (skatteetaten.no). You’re taxed at a fixed percentage that your employer deducts from your salary. When you receive your salary, the tax has already been deducted.
You can opt out of the PAYE scheme and pay tax under the general tax rules instead, if it is more profitable for you.
If you pay general tax, the tax you pay is calculated according to a tax rate that varies based on how much you earn during the year.
In March or April the year after you have worked, you will receive a tax return with information about your income. You must check your tax return and make changes if any of the information is incorrect. Then you will receive a tax assessment notice that shows whether you have paid too much or too little tax. If you have paid too little tax, you must pay what you owe. If you have paid too much tax, you will receive a refund.
More information about the tax schemes in Norway (skatteetaten.no).
As an employee in Norway, you always have the right to know when and how much you will work. Ordinary working hours are also regulated, ensuring that you do not work too much and when you are entitled to overtime remunerations.
As a rule, normal working hours (arbeidstid) in Norway are:
- 9 hours within 24 hours (normal working day)
- 40 hours in 7 days (normal work week)
There are some exceptions.
If you work overtime (overtid), you are entitled to overtime supplement that is at least 40 percent of the agreed hourly wage. You can have a written agreement with your employer that you will partially or wholly take time off for the overtime hours worked. The overtime remuneration of at least 40 percent must always be paid in addition.
You are entitled to at least one break (pause) if your working hours exceed 5.5 hours.
If you work 8 hours, you are entitled to at least a half-hour break.
If there is no satisfactory break room, the break shall be regarded as part of the paid working hours.
If you work more than 2 hours after normal working hours, you shall be allowed a break of at least 30 minutes and the break shall be regarded as part of the paid working hours.
The average calculation (gjennomsnittsberegning) allows the different distribution of working hours. This means that in some periods you can work more than the limit for ordinary working hours, and subsequently less in other periods. On average, the working hours should not exceed 40 hours per week.
Workers are entitled to at least:
- 11 hours continuous off-duty time per 24 hours
- 35 hours continuous off-duty period per 7 days
Exceptions or other agreements may apply.
Night work (between 21:00 and 06:00) and Sunday work is not permitted unless necessitated by the nature of work. Payment for this work shall be agreed in written in the employment contract.
All time spent in the service of the employer must be registered as working hours. The employer must have a routine for registration of the working hours, and employees must be informed of this routine. It is important that the recording of working hours is clear and easy to understand. As a rule, the start and end times of the shift must be recorded.
While working in Norway you are always entitled to a written employment contract. This applies whether you are employed in a permanent or temporary position, and whether you work full-time or part-time.
You are entitled to a written contract with your employer. This applies regardless of whether it is a permanent or temporary job, and irrespective of how long you will be working, even if the work only lasts for one day. There are no exceptions to this rule.
It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that you have a written employment contract (arbeidsavtale). The employment contract is important and affirms your working relationship. The employment contract should provide information that is important to your employment, such as: salary, date of payment of salary, working hours, holiday pay and the duration of the employment.
Read and understand what is in your employment contract. These points are important:
- Are you a permanent or temporary employee?
- How many hours should you work per day and per week?
- Where is your workplace? Do you have to work in more than one location?
- Wages and terms of payment. Is there a supplement for holiday pay?
Other special terms and conditions:
- Calculation of average working hours
- Night time work and Sunday work, as well as required supplementary rates
- Board and lodging supplements; if you are required to work in different locations
- Do you rent housing from an employer?
Ask your employer if something is unclear.
The employment contract must be signed by both parties as soon as possible and within one month of starting the work. The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority discourages working without a written employment contract.
The rule in Norway is that employment is permanent (fast), and the contract is valid until terminated by you or your employer. If there is an end date in the employment contract, you are temporarily (midlertidig) employed. There are special rules that apply for the legality of this.
You can also work for a temporary-work agency/recruitment agency (vikarbyrå). In that case, the agency is your employer and hires you out to work for others. Your wages and work conditions shall be similar to those of the permanent employees doing the same type of work.
If you work at different times of the day, the employer must prepare a work schedule (arbeidsplan) that shows the weeks, the days and the hours each employee is to work. The work schedule shall be prepared as early as possible and not later than two weeks prior to its implementation. The work schedule shall be easily accessible to the employees.
If you have been posted to Norway by your employer on a work assignment, you have for the most part the same rights as Norwegian workers. This also applies if you are employed in a temporary work agency or by a corporate group and are posted to a division in Norway.
If your employer sends you out on an assignment where it is necessary to spend the night outside the home, the employer should, as a rule, provide for board and lodging. A fixed diet rate, reimbursement or similar can also be arranged. In addition, certain requirements are applying with regards to the standard of your accommodation.
If the employer dismisses you, there must be a justifiable ground for this. The termination of employment (oppsigelse) must be in writing. You have the right to work and be paid during the notice period, which is one month, unless otherwise stated in your employment contract. The deadline runs from the 1st of the month after the notice was given.
In the case of serious breach of your employment contract, the employer can dismiss you (avskjed). This means that the employment contract terminates with immediate effect, and you must stop working.
In financially difficult times, it may be appropriate for your employer to lay you off temporarily (permittering). The obligation to work and the obligation for pay ceases for the period you are laid-off. You must be notified about it. You may be entitled to unemployment benefits from NAV.
In Norway, most employers in the private sector must set aside funds to establish a pension scheme for their employees. This is called the mandatory occupational pension scheme (OTP).
Your employer must save at least 2 percent of your salary for your pension. To be entitled to OTP, you must be a member of the National Insurance Scheme (folketrygden) (nav.no). Read more about the mandatory occupational pension scheme (OTP) (skatteetaten.no).
If you have an electronic ID (for example MinID or BankID), you can check which pension agreement you have (in Norwegian only, norskpensjon.no).
If you believe your employer is required to start saving in a pension scheme for you, but has not done so, you can send a tip to the Tax Administration anonymously (skatteetaten.no).
As an employee in Norway, you are entitled to a proper working environment. There are high demands on safety in the workplace, and much is regulated by law.
Your employer has the responsibility to ensure that the workplace environment is safe and sound. The employer must, in collaboration with the employees, assess possible hazards in the workplace and is also responsible for implementing measures to eliminate or reduce the risk of workers being sick or injured at work. The employer must ensure that you receive proper training in a language you understand.
All Norwegian companies must have their own safety representative (verneombud) that has been elected by the employees. You, as an employee should know who your safety representative is and how you can get in touch with them. The safety representative shall ensure that the employer fulfills their duties regarding the employees’ safety, health and welfare. If you have problems at work, you can take these up with your safety representative.
In the building and construction, hotels and restaurants and cleaning work sectors, there is a scheme of regional safety representatives (regionale verneombud) that assist the employers and employees in occupational safety and health issues.
As an employee, you also have a duty to help to ensure that the workplace has safe and justifiable working conditions. Follow the guidelines of the business, use mandatory protective equipment and help prevent accidents and injuries. Inform your employer and safety representative about hazardous working conditions.
All building and construction workers and cleaning workers must wear the mandatory card (HMS-kort), it should be visible while in their respective work places. This applies to all companies that carry out work in Norway: Norwegian and foreign, individual companies and staffing agencies and for those with long-term or short-term assignments. It is the employer's responsibility to order an HSE card for you. The card is personal and is valid for the period of employment and must be renewed every two years.
If you have not received an HSE card, talk to your employer.
Contact the Labour Inspection Authority
Contact the Labour Inspectorate (Arbeidstilsynet) if you do not receive what you are entitled to, i.e lack of an HSE card or if you experience other critical issues in your workplace.
You can call the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority's call service on telephone (+47) 73 19 97 00 or contact the Labor Inspection Authority’s advisers at the Service Center for foreign workers.
You can find comprehensive information for foreign workers and employers from several authorities in Norway at www.workinnorway.no