Employment contracts

Your rights and responsibilities

Employment contracts

All employees should ensure that they have a valid employment contract, whether they are in full-time or part-time employment. The contract should specify the rights and responsibilities of both the employee and employer.

Your work contract should include the following information:

  •  The duration of your employment
  •  Your wage (including how often you will be paid and how payment is made)
  •  The probationary period (usually six months)
  •  Terms for giving notice (during and after your probationary period)
  •  Working hours
  •  The job description (including your duties, job title and other information)
  •  Holiday leave

Make sure you read your employment contract thoroughly and understand all the terms and conditions.

The Working Environment Act

There is legislation in place throughout Norway to protect and safeguard all employees in the country. This legislation ensures all employees (both Norwegian employees, foreign employees and service providers) are protected in the case of injury or illness that they may suffer as a result of the work they do.

The Working Environment Act is the most important of these laws. It is in place to maintain and uphold health and safety within the Norwegian workplace, and it regulates labour rights and duties.

Trade Unions in Norway

Although it is not mandatory to join a trade union in Norway, it is quite common amongst Norwegian employees and can be quite helpful. Trade unions can assist you with any information you require before signing an employment contract to make sure it is correct.

If you require any information about any trade unions that are relevant to your particular occupation, get in touch with the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO)- the largest organisation of its kind in Norway.

The Confederation of Vocational Unions (YS) is another large Norwegian organisation that is made up of many different unions from different employment sectors.

In Norway, there also exists specific organisations which cater to professionals with a background of higher education. The majority of these organisations tend to be members of the Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations (Akademikerne), therefore if you fall into this category, contact the Akademikerne for assistance and advice.

Salaries in Norway

A national minimum wage does not exist in Norway, although collective wage agreements are popular, especially within certain sectors (i.e. the building industry). Collective wage agreements decide upon minimum wage levels for both skilled and unskilled workers. If there is no collective agreement, you should discuss the amount of pay you will receive with your employer.

Holidays in Norway

Norwegian law states that employees are entitled to 25 days of holiday each year. However, be warned that Saturday is also considered a workday, even if you don’t usually work on this day.

During paid holiday leave, you are not entitled to your normal pay rate. However, you receive a holiday pay (feriepenger) which amounts to 10.2% of your normal pay. For those lucky enough to be covered by collective agreements, and who receive 25 days of holiday a year, the rate is 12%. From 2007, employees over the age of 60 receive rates between 12.5%, and 14.3%, depending on the length of their holidays.

Note that holiday pay in Norway must be earned the calendar year before the holiday is taken. If you just started working recently, you might not be entitled to holiday pay yet. In this case, you can still take holiday leave, but you will not be paid anything during this time.

If you are dismissed from your job, your employers are still obliged to pay you any holiday pay that you did not receive, along with your final wages.

If you require help and advice about work and holiday regulations, get in touch with your trade union Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority.

Further reading

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