At Work in Oslo

Work Usage in Oslo

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A five day work week is the predominant norm, but average hours a week are slightly less than average at 37.5 on average. Typical work hours are between 6:00 and 18:00, with about 60 percent of all employees reporting that they work at fixed or staggered hours.

The amount of people working more than 48 hours a week is one of the lowest in Europe. There are also more part-time workers in Norway than in the rest of Europe.


There is no standard minimum wage level in Norway.

Pay is something to be negotiated with the employer. In some sectors (building industry) there is a collective wage agreement with set minimum wage levels for both skilled and unskilled labourers. Collective agreements on pay between trade unions and employer organizations may set a standard for the industry.

Business Norms

Meeting and Greeting

Norwegians tend to be egalitarian and casual. Greetings are casual, with a firm handshake, direct eye contact, and a smile. In more formal situations, the honorific title of Herr (Mr.) or Fru (Mrs.) may be used with their surname. It is best to wait to be invited to use first names.

Business Etiquette

The basic business style is relatively informal. Norwegians do not need long-standing personal relationships in order to conduct business. Relationships develop slowly and depend upon the other person being professional and meeting all agreed upon deadlines. They tend to be direct, be excellent time managers, and communicate in a straightforward fashion relying on facts.

In meetings, appointments are necessary and should be made as far in advance as possible. Punctuality is imperative. Though informal, meetings do not usually consist of much small talk. Norwegians prefer to get to the business discussion quickly. Presentations should be backed up with charts, figures and analysis. There is usually a section at the end of the presentation for questions as Norwegians rarely interrupt.

Employment Agreement

Workers in Norway have the right to a written employment contract regardless of whether your work is temporary or permanent.

    Work contract should include the following information:
  • Duration of employment
  • Wages (plus how often you will be paid and how the payment is made)
  • Probationary period (usually 6 months)
  • Terms for giving notice (both during and after a probationary period)
  • Working hours
  • Job description, including duties, job title and other information
  • Holiday leave

Read any contracts thoroughly to make sure you understand all the terms and conditions before signing. If contracts are in Norwegian, you should be able to consult an unbiased third party to make sure you understand the contract in full.


All employees are entitled by law to 21 days holiday each year. In addition, many employees have 25 days as a result of collective bargaining. If you are over 60 years old you are entitled to one extra week.

Holiday pay (feriepenger) is earned the calendar year in advance. Pay is 10.2 percent of normal pay. For those covered by collective agreements for extra holiday leave (25 days), the rate is 12 percent. For employees over 60, rates are between 12.5 and 14.3 percent as of 2010.

    Public Holidays:
  • January 1 - New Years day
  • Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday, Skjartorsdag)
  • Good Friday (Langfredag)
  • Easter Sunday (paskedag)
  • Second day of Easter (Monday) (andre paskedag)
  • May 1 - Labour day
  • May 17 - Constitution Day (National Celebration in the streets)
  • Ascension Thursday (Kristi himmelfart)
  • Pentecost (Whit Sunday, pinsedag)
  • December 25 - Christmas Day (juledag)
  • December 26 - Boxing Day (andre juledag)

For more information on work and holiday regulations, contact your trade union or the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority.

Sick Pay

If a member of the National Insurance Scheme and employed for at least four weeks, you may be entitled to sick pay from the first day of sickness. The employer disburses sick pay the first 16 days. After this period, the sick pay is disbursed by NAV.


The termination of an employment contract may occur of the employer (dismissal of the employee) or by decision of the employee (resignation). In the case of dismissal of an employee, it may be either for good cause or by unfair dismissal. When a fixed term agreement exists, the employer may terminate the agreement prior to the normal expiration date by the payment of one half of the remaining compensation due under the agreement.

If the employee is dismissed for good cause, he or she will be entitled only to the outstanding salary, accrued vacation and the additional one-third bonus in respect of the accrued vacation. Double accrued vacation remuneration is also due when the employer has failed to allow the employee to take the annual vacation during the twelve months following the acquisition period.

The employer may terminate a labour contract without notice in instances of grave fault, such as the employee violated basic duties (fighting, drunk, abused financial trust or benefits) or the employee has committed a serious criminal offence.

Update 16/08/2010


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