Working Conditions in Norway

1. Minimum Working Conditions

Employers and employees are free to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment relationship. However, The Working Environment Act lays down the minimum requirements for the work environment, the workplace, working hours, employment contracts, employment protection, dismissal, redundancy and summary dismissal.

2. Salary

There are no statutory regulations concerning minimum wages. However, wage levels and minimum wages are, in general, laid down in collective bargaining agreements. If the employment contract is part of a collective bargaining agreement, its regulations apply to matters of salary as well as to work and recruitment conditions.

For some specific sectors, collective agreements are generally applicable to everyone who works in the sector, regardless of whether they are party to the agreement. Examples of such sectors are construction sites, cleaning workers, agriculture and electricians. The collective agreements are only generally applicable in relation to pay and working conditions. The objective of generally applicable agreements is to prevent foreign workers from being given poorer pay and working conditions than are usual in Norway.

3. Maximum Working Time

As a general basis the maximum normal working hours shall not exceed nine hours per twenty-four hours and forty hours per seven days. For certain groups such as shift work, the normal working hours shall be less. Upon agreement between the employer and the employee, the maximum normal working hours can be calculated as an average over a maximum of fifty-two weeks, but with a limit of ten ordinary hours of work per twenty-four hours, and forty-eight hours per seven days. The Working Environment Act also gives employees the right to flexible working hours insofar as this does not cause considerable inconvenience to the employer.

The abovementioned rules shall not apply to employees in leading positions or employees in particular independent positions.

From the age of 62 years the employees are entitled to reduce working time if the reduction in working hours can be completed without significant inconvenience to the business. Furthermore, the same applies if an employee requires reduced working time for health, social or other weighty welfare reasons.

The limit for termination of employment because of age is 72 years. However, an employer may choose to have an in-house age limit of 70 years if the age limit is made known to the employees, is practiced consistently and the employee has a satisfactory occupational pension.

4. Overtime

Overtime is only permitted when there is an exceptional and time-limited need for it. Overtime cannot exceed 10 hours per 7 days, 25 hours per 4 consecutive weeks, and 200 hours during a period of 52 weeks. The abovementioned rules shall not apply to employees in leading positions or employees in particular independent positions.

5. Holidays

Minimum holiday rights for employees are outlined in the Holiday Act, which grants an employee a minimum right of 25 working days of holiday leave per year. The term “working days” includes Saturdays. Employees over 60 years of age are entitled to an additional 6 working days of holiday leave. The holiday year runs from 1 January to 31 December. Many collective agreements grant extended holiday rights. Five weeks of holiday is now quite common in Norway. In addition, there are ten public nonworking days per year.

6. Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace

The working environment in the undertaking shall be fully satisfactory and the standard of safety, health and working environment shall be continuously developed and improved in accordance with developments in society.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Norway, please contact Storeng, Beck & Due Lund (SBDL)
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