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Norwegian labour law – why can it be difficult to relate to it?

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.

We assist with the following areas related to labour law:

  • The hiring process
  • Making sure that the employment contracts meet mandatory requirements
  • Explaining mandatory working hours, the working environment regulations, and construct guidelines for your company to meet these regulations
  • Applications to Norwegian authorities for permission to operate on extended working hours/shifts
  • Facilitation of remuneration, payroll services
  • Making sure that the requirements regarding the employees’ rights to holiday and holiday pay are met.
  • Payment of sick pay
  • Explaining mandatory regulations related to the employees’ right to leave of absence, and construct company guidelines in this regard.
  • Challenges related to equal treatment and discrimination
  • Establishment and organization of HSE procedures
  • Privacy and control measures
  • Dismissals and severance agreements
  • Acquisitions
  • Layoffs
  • Draw up collective agreements and pension plans
  • General conflict handling
  • Assistance with applications for work and residence permits
  • Assistance related to the temporary hiring of staff

Employee rights, termination of employment and layoffs

Employee rights

Foreign employees posted to Norway are subject to certain and important parts of the Norwegian working environment Act.

  • Work agreement
  • Working hours
  • Minimum wage
  • Holidays and holiday pay
  • Paid and unpaid leave
  • Pension
  • Insurance
  • Termination

Termination of employment

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.

Workforce reductions 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.

Working hours: fixed average

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.

Labour Law Fixed Average

Temporary employment

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?

Labour Law Temporary Employment

" Helpful staff who reply quickly and clearly to queries."

Suzanne Cowie


Avanteq Ltd

Holiday and holiday pay

Holiday pay

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.

Norwegian holiday regulations to be aware of before year-end

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.

Salary on public holidays

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.