Working Life

Employment rights and obligations

The Norwegian labour market is regulated by laws and agreements, such as the Working Environment Act and Annual Holidays Act.

The politicians in Parliament pass the laws, while the employers and employees reach agreement through the trade unions.

The provisions of the acts apply to all employers and employees, while the agreements apply to specific occupational groups.

Examples of statutory rights:

  • All employees in Norway have the right to an employment contract. The contract must include wage and working hours agreements.
  • A normal work week in Norway is 37.5 hours.
  • Employees in Norway have a right to at least 25 working days’ holiday a year.
  • Employees in Norway have the right to be away from work with full pay for a certain number of days if they or their children are ill.
  • Employees who become parents are entitled to paid leave of absence.


The Working Environment Act

The Working Environment Act is an important act that applies to all employees in Norway. All employers and employees have to comply with this law. Among other things, the Working Environment Act covers:

  • Hiring and contracts
  • Working hours
  • Absence from work
  • Health, Safety and Environmental (HMS) work (HMS)
    • The employer has primary responsibility for the environment at the workplace, while the employee is responsible for:
  • Creating a good working environment
  • Contributing to implementing measures established to improve the working environment
  • Participating in organised safety and environmental work at the company

Excerpt from the Working Environment Act

Annual Holidays Act

The Annual Holidays Act provides for:

  • The number of days off to which employees are entitled
  • When holidays may be taken
  • Holidays during notice periods
  • New jobs and holidays
  • Illness during holidays

The Annual Holidays Act is a ‘minimum act’. This means that some employees will have better agreements than the minimum requirements of the act, but that none will have worse.