Labour law, also referred to as employment law, governs the rights and duties between employers and employees.
As in other countries, the Norwegian labour law aims to secure safe and healthy employments and equalling out the power balance in a relationship between an employer and an employee. The power balance is continuously debated in Norway and is almost subjected daily to attention from the Norwegian media and politicians.
Many Norwegian employers find it difficult to relate to the extensive and mandatory protection employees are given under the Norwegian labour law.
For foreign employers, it could be even harder to relate to this. Especially when trying to understand the mandatory system for holiday and holiday pay, and how to comply with strict regulations relating to working hours and the rules regarding termination of employment.
Our main goal is to be ahead of potential conflicts and to contribute to effective and reasonable solutions for our clients.
Foreign employees posted to Norway are subject to certain and important parts of the Norwegian working environment Act.
Find out how your company can fulfil the mandatory requirements: Employee rights in Norway
For a notice of dismissal to be legal in Norway, a justified basis must be presented. Therefore, it is important that your business follows strict legal procedures, as prescribed by law.
By dismissal we mean both ordinary dismissal with notice, and dismissal without notice. The threshold for dismissal without notice is higher than for ordinary dismissal with notice. However, the process is the same for both.
More information: Be aware of the strict rules for termination of employment in Norway
In cases of workforce reductions, carefully planning ahead is crucial.
This will help to avoid costly litigation and claims from employees afterwards.
Even if the reason for the workforce reduction is the employer’s critican economic situation, it is important to follow the correct procedures in order to avoid potential claims.
Calculation of working hours based on a fixed average means that employees can work more for a period of time, provided that they receive the corresponding time off duty later as compensation.
Such a scheme may reduce the number of overtime hours. Here are the rules you, as an employer, need to know.
Sometimes a company needs temporary employees. It could be in situations where the regular staff is on vacation, or to cope with an increased number of assignments in certain periods.
However, there are strict rules for when your business can hire people on temporary work contracts. Do you know these rules?
Read more: The rules for temporary employment in Norway
In Norway, vacations are generally unpaid. The employees are not entitled to ordinary salary during holiday absence. Holiday allowance is paid instead of regular salary during the holiday absence.
The holiday pay is earned the year prior to the year the holidays are taken. The payment is calculated based on the employee's salary during the year of accrual.
Employees who did not work the previous year are entitled to holidays, but not to holiday allowance.
More information: Calculation and payment of holiday pay in Norway
All employees who start their employment before September 30 are entitled to a full holiday quota, also in their first year of employment.
In Norway, the right to holiday is not linked to the right to holiday pay. As new employees will not have earned the right to holiday pay, the holiday will be unpaid the first year, or with holiday pay from the previous employer. If an employee does not have any holiday pay accrued at a previous employer, the employee can refuse to take holiday to the extent that the holiday pay does not cover up for the loss of salary.
The right to salary on public holidays depends on the agreement between the employer and the employee.
Many collective agreements give the employee a right to salary on public holidays. If there is no collective agreement the employee manual, individual employment contract or common practice in the business should describe the right to salary on public holidays.
More info: Salary on public holidays in Norway
Here is a short overview of the most important things to keep in mind, having Norwegian employees.
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