Parental leave

Parents are entitled to leave in connection with a birth or after a birth. Parents are also entitled to be paid parental benefit while they take this leave. It is also possible to combine claiming graduated parental benefit with working part-time; this is called partial leave.

What does the entitlement to parental leave mean?

Parents are entitled to a total of 12 months’ leave in connection with a birth. These 12 months include the mother’s entitlement of up to 12 weeks’ leave during the pregnancy and 6 weeks’ leave which can only be taken by the mother after the birth.

In addition to these 12 months, each of the parents is entitled to 1 year’s leave each, for each birth. This leave must be taken immediately after the first year of leave.

The Working Environment Act only regulates the entitlement to leave from work, and not the payment of parental benefit. On this page, you will find information about the Working Environment Act’s regulations governing parental leave, and how to apply for leave.

If you are entitled to parental leave, you are normally also entitled to parental benefit from NAV. Read more about this on NAV: 

Parental benefit (, in Norwegian)

Partial leave

Partial leave gives parents of young children the chance to combine claiming graduated parental benefit with working part-time. With ordinary leave, you are home with the child full time, instead of working, and then you go back to work full time when the leave is over. With partial leave, you can combine leave and work, by working part-time while also taking leave.

Because you are not taking full-time leave, this extends the period of leave. The amount of parental benefit you are paid per day is less, but the length of time you are paid it is longer. The total amount of parental benefit is the same, whether you choose partial leave or ordinary leave. You can take partial leave for a maximum of three years.

Partial leave gives parents of young children the chance to combine claiming graduated parental benefit with working part-time.

Can you apply for partial leave?

Generally, you are entitled to partial leave if you are entitled to parental benefit. NAV’s regulations are what apply here. If you have more than one employer, the entitlement to partial leave only applies to the main employer. This means that you cannot take partial leave from your other job or jobs.

Self-employed people and freelancers can also apply. The procedure in their case is slightly different. Contact NAV for more information.

What do I have to do?

If you would like to take partial leave, you must notify your employer as soon as possible and no later than

  • one week in advance, if the leave will be for more than two weeks
  • four weeks in advance, if the leave will be for more than twelve weeks
  • twelve weeks in advance, if the leave will be for more than one year

You must sign a written agreement with your employer for partial leave. The agreement must contain information about

  • how long the period of partial leave will last
  • the degree of partial leave
  • how you will take the leave, for example by working shorter hours or working fewer days per week

Get more information from NAV

NAV can provide more information about the options allowed by partial leave. They can also help you to work out the various ways you can take partial leave. For more information about the options of combining parental benefit with work, visit NAV’s website on parental benefit (, in Norwegian). If you have any questions about entitlement to partial leave, ask the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority.

Advice for employees

  • Apply in writing.
  • Ask for a written response from the employer, which means that you can send the case to dispute resolution quickly if your employer rejects your application.

When can you not be granted partial leave?

You should be able to take partial leave in the way you want to, but you cannot demand to take partial leave if the arrangement you want will cause serious inconvenience to your employer.

In an evaluation of whether partial leave will cause serious inconvenience to the company, the main emphasis will be on whether

  • partial leave will create major problems in how the work is organised, including working hours and shift and duty arrangements
  • partial leave will place an unreasonable financial strain on the company
  • the parties have shown a willingness to be flexible and compromise
  • the employer has done enough to investigate whether it is possible to get the work done by transferring personnel or through the satisfactory use of temporary staff

Additional costs arising from the use of temporary staff will not be sufficient grounds to reject an application for partial leave. Generally, some reduction in productivity is also not sufficient grounds to reject an application.

The burden of evidence is on the employer, who must prove that partial leave will cause serious inconvenience. This means that the employer must demonstrate that partial leave is difficult to implement in the company.

Employees are entitled to support from their elected representative or other adviser in their negotiations with the employer.

Advice for employers

  • You must have substantial reasons for rejecting an employee’s request for partial leave.
  • Respond to the employee in writing.
  • If you enter into an agreement for partial leave, this must always be in writing.

Dispute resolution

If the employee and employer cannot agree on the use of partial leave, the dispute may be brought before a special dispute resolution board (, in Norwegian).

You must present your case in writing, and no later than four weeks after a written rejection from the employer has been received by the employee. If the birth or assumption of care have caused you to miss this deadline, the case can still be processed by the dispute resolution board if you send them the dispute as soon as possible.