Employment conditions in Norway
By law, non-compete clauses may be invoked only as far as necessary in order to safeguard the employer’s particular need for protection against competition. The clause may not in any event be invoked for longer than one year from termination of the employment. During the non-compete period, the employee must receive compensation. The compensation shall be (at least) equivalent to 100 percent of the employee’s salary, based on annual salary up to 8 G, and to 70 percent of the employee’s salary, based on annual salary between 8 G and 12 G. The compensation is to be based on the employee’s salary (including base salary and any bonuses, overtime payment, and holiday pay) over the 12 months preceding the employment termination. The employer and the employee may agree on the deduction to be made in the compensation, equivalent to 50 percent of any other income that the employee may receive or earn during the non-compete period.
Employers must record all working hours laid down by each employee.
A summary (made either manually or electronically) showing how much an individual employee has worked must be available should the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority decide to conduct an overview (with timesheets being the most common form of a written overview of working hours).
Working environment committee
Companies regularly employing at least 50 workers must have a working environment committee, which represents the employer, employees, and the occupational health service. Companies with 20–50 employees must also form working environment committees if required by any of the parties. Where working conditions indicate it, the Labour Inspection Authority may decide that employers with fewer than 50 employees should establish a working environment committee.
Employees are automatically transferred to the new company in case of a business transfer. Employment terms and conditions may not be modified after the transfer unless the employee agrees to such modifications.
Employers aren’t allowed to dismiss employees prior to a business transfer. Dismissals implemented by the transferee after the transfer are subject to the usual rules on dismissals.
The new employer is bound by any collective pay agreement that was binding upon the former employer. This doesn’t apply if within three weeks of the transfer date at the latest the new employer declares in writing to the trade union its unwillingness to be bound. The transferred employees have nevertheless the right to retain the individual working conditions that follow from a collective pay agreement that was binding upon the former employer. This shall apply until this collective pay agreement expires or until a new collective pay agreement is concluded and thus becomes binding upon the new employer and the transferred employees.
Inventions created by an employee during the course of employment related to the company’s business and while using the company’s knowledge, data, and technology are normally the property of the employer. Employees are entitled to receive fair additional compensation for inventions made, which can be part of the employee’s salary. Intellectual property (IP) rights should be regulated in employment agreements.
The author of an intellectual work owns, with effect from the date of creation, its exclusive IP rights, which are enforceable against all persons. Ownership of the copyright can be assigned to the employer by a written agreement (employment contract). Employees always retain the moral rights to their work. They may be entitled to additional compensation in accordance with the Employee’s Inventions Act.
Employees are bound by a duty of loyalty towards their employer, which prevents them from engaging in any activity that could be against their employer’s interest. Employment contracts can also set out more specific restrictive provisions. During the course of employment, employees can be required to adhere to the following:
- devote all their attention to the company’s business
- not to take part in any other professional activity, whether compensated or not (while working full time)
After termination, non-compete and non-solicitation of customers/employees clauses are applicable only if they are included in the employment contract or in an amendment to it.