General Employee Rights in Norway
It is mandatory that employers provide employees with an employment contract that meets the minimum requirements, cf. the Working Environment Act (WEA) section 14-6.
The employment contract must be in writing.
Further, the contract must include the following:
- parties’ identities
- place of work (If there is no fixed or main place of work, the contract of employment shall (1) provide information to the effect that the employee is employed at various locations and (2) state the registered place of business or, where appropriate, the home address of the employer.)
- work description or the employee’s title, post, or category of work
- employment start date
- expected duration of employment and the basis for the appointment if the employment is temporary, cf. WEA section 14-9
- provisions relating to a trial period of employment (where appropriate), cf. WEA section 15-3, seventh paragraph, and section 15-6
- employee’s right to holiday and holiday pay and the provisions concerning the fixing of dates for holidays
- notice periods applicable to the employee and the employer
- pay applicable or agreed on commencement of the employment, any supplements, other remuneration not included in the pay (e.g., pension payments and allowances for meals or accommodation), method of payment, and payment intervals for salary payments
- duration and disposition of the daily and weekly working hours (If the work is to be performed periodically, the employment contract must (1) state when the work is to be performed or (2) provide a basis for so calculating.)
- length of breaks
- agreement concerning a special working-hour arrangement, cf. WEA section 10-2, second, third, and fourth paragraphs
- information concerning any collective pay agreements regulating the employment relationship (If an agreement has been concluded by parties outside the undertaking, the contract of employment shall state the identities of the parties to the collective pay agreements.)
It’s mandatory that employers provide employees with an itemized pay slip monthly, breaking down the overtime pay, bonuses, paid vacation, illness, gross salary, net salary, social security contributions, and tax. It’s also mandatory that annual leave accrued is shown monthly on the pay slip. Employees have a right to request for copies of their salary and time records breaking down information such as days or hours worked by the employee, wage paid weekly or monthly and the method of calculating the wage.
Health and safety
Employers also have an absolute contractual duty to protect their employees’ safety, and they can be held criminally liable for breaches of health and safety rules. Therefore, employers must ensure that legal provisions concerning safety in the workplace are strictly followed at all times and that risks are evaluated, prevented, and recorded in writing to protect employees’ health. Employers are responsible for employees’ welfare in regards to occupational accidents and physical and psychological risks, and they should provide employees with training and information on how to prevent risks. Premises should be clean and clear of clutter, facilities and technical and safety devices should be maintained and checked regularly, and employees should have sufficient light and protection against smoking and loud noises.
Workload revision meeting
Employees are entitled to a yearly meeting with their managers to discuss their current workload and possible solutions. Following the meetings, the employer must take all the necessary measures to protect the health and safety of the employee. A protocol is to be drafted and signed by both parties.
Employee Protections in Norway
Protection from termination
Norway has very strict laws when it comes to terminating an employee. Employers can terminate an employee only when there’s an objectively justified reason for doing so. Employers can dismiss employees for only (1) economic reasons, such as redundancy, or (2) personal reasons, such as poor performance or gross misconduct.
Certain employees benefit from additional dismissal protection, making it almost impossible to terminate their employment during the protection period:
- employees on maternity leave or pregnant
- employees on sick leave or absent due to accident
- employees on leave in military service
Protection from discrimination
Employers are prohibited from discriminating employees throughout the employment relationship — from the recruitment process to the termination of employment — on the following grounds:
- leave in connection with birth and adoption care tasks
- sexual orientation
- gender, gender identity, or gender expression
- political opinions
- membership in an employees organization
Discrimination may result in compensation to the employee and a fine to the employer, and in special circumstances even in a prison sentence given to the employer representatives behind the discrimination.
Protection from harassment
Employees are protected from sexual and psychological harassment as well as from any forms of sexist behaviour.
Employers are liable for their employees’ mental health and must take measures to ensure that employees work in a safe environment.
Employees have the right to report on censurable conditions at the place of their employment. Workers hired through temporary-work agencies also have the same right.
Companies that regularly have at least five employees are obliged to define an anonymous whistleblowing procedure and to make the process easily accessible and transparent to all employees.
Retaliation against whistleblowers is prohibited. Such prohibition applies to both employers and hirers when workers are hired through temporary-work agencies.
Data protection (GDPR)
Employers are required to handle employees’ personal data with care and security. Personal data is defined as any information relating to an individual. Specific provisions aim to protect employees’ data. Indeed, employees have a right to the following:
- see the information held on them
- access the information
- request the information to be erased
- restrict the processing of the information
- request or restrict the portability of the information
- object to the information being held
Employers, as data controllers, need to follow six data protection principles when collecting, processing, and storing employees’ personal data:
- ensure the lawfulness, fairness, and transparency of the data
- ensure the data use is limited to only that purpose for which the data was collected
- minimize the amount of data collected to only that which is necessary
- ensure the accuracy of the data
- limit the data stored to only that which is required
- ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the data
Employers will be responsible for and must be able to demonstrate compliance with these principles on an ongoing basis and at any time. They must implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk.
Companies are prohibited from recording and storing the following information on employees:
- racial or ethnic origins
- political, religious, or philosophical opinions
- union membership
- medical information
- sexual orientation
Required Employee Benefits in Norway
Dismissed employees are entitled to receive an unemployment allowance from the government if they meet the criteria. The unemployment allowance equals to 62.4 percent of the employee’s previous annual salary up to 6 G.
An employee working beyond 40 hours one week or 9 hours one day is entitled to overtime pay. The overtime hours must be compensated with at least ordinary hourly pay + 40 percent.