Minimum Working Conditions
Employers and employees are free to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment relationship. 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.
There are no statutory regulations concerning minimum wages. However, wage levels and minimum wages are generally laid down in collective bargaining agreements. For some specific sectors, the salaries laid down in the collective agreements also apply to employers in the sector without the collective agreement (e.g. construction, cleaning, shipbuilding and seafood production); such agreements are only generally applicable as to pay and working conditions; the objective is to prevent lower pay and working conditions for foreign workers, than that which is otherwise common in Norway.
Maximum Working Week
In general, the maximum normal working hours shall not exceed nine hours in twenty-four hours and forty hours in seven days. For certain groups, such as shift workers, 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. Employees also have the right to flexible working hours. However, these rules shall not apply to employees in leading positions or employees in particular independent positions.
Overtime is only permitted when there is an exceptional and time-limited need for it. Overtime cannot exceed 10 hours in 7 days, 25 hours in 4 consecutive weeks, and 200 hours during a period of 52 weeks (this limit may be extended). As a rule, the total working hours shall not exceed 13 hours in 24 hours and 48 hours in 7 days. For overtime work, the employee shall receive extra pay (at least 40 percent more than what the employee makes during a regular working hour) in addition to what he receives for corresponding work during ordinary working hours. These rules shall not apply to employees in leading positions or employees in particular independent positions.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
In order for the employer to maintain a healthy and safe workplace, there are several requirements for both the physical working environment and the psychosocial working environment. The workplace shall, among others, be equipped and arranged in such a way as to avoid adverse physical strain on the employees. When it comes to the psychosocial working environment, the work shall be arranged in a way that ensures the employees’ integrity and dignity. The employer shall ensure that the employees are not subject to harassment or other improper conduct. Furthermore, the employer shall, as far as possible, protect the employees against violence, threats and undesirable strain as a result of contact with other persons.
If an employee believes that the working environment is in violation of the requirements as prescribed by law, the employee has the right to notify censurable conditions at the undertaking. The Labour Inspection Authority supervises the employer’s obligation to ensure that the employees have the possibility to notify censurable conditions in the undertaking and may review the employer’s assessment on whether it is necessary to carry out such measures. In such cases, the Labour Inspection Authority may consider the allegations and follow up with inspection, orders or report the case to the police if deemed necessary.