the Norwegian Work contract

crop businessman giving contract to woman to sign
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

If you are in the process of getting a job in Norway, there are a few things you should know about the work contract you need to sign.

First, you need to have the identity number and a Norwegian bank account. Do not even think of working without having these two in place because you are asking to be abused by careless employers if you do. It is also your responsibility to care for your work conditions when it comes to employment law, duties, and rights. It shows that you are interested and know what you stand for. It is best if you also have a valid work permit. 

At the same time, a contract can also help you get both the ID number and the bank account if you come from the EU or other areas of the world and are a skilled worker. Find more information about it here.

To work in Norway without a valid work permit can lead to expulsion. It means you’ll be chased out of Norway. In addition, the employer who chooses to use people without proper permits can be punished with fines and prison. 

The contract should be signed latest one month after you start working. Yet, it is best if you sign it before. Since Norway is a society based on trust, if you have your identification number in place and the Norwegian bank account, it can be acceptable to start before that. Do your homework and do some research about the company hiring you. How serious they are and if people working there are content with their leaders.

The contract should contain the following information:

  • Trade name and description of the tasks you’ll have to perform. Some may be vague and expect some changes within the frame of the working task. This allows your employer to make use of your abilities inside the company. It can be a good thing, and it will enable you to also come up with ideas that are not listed in the contract. It is important to know that you can use this argument when it is time to renegotiate your salary. Usually, you can do this in your annual performance meeting (medarbeidersamtale), yet there can be other appropriate times.
  • A time limit. When the contract starts and when it ends. If it is a permanent position, it will say that it is “fast stilling”. Temporary work can be up to four years. Be careful here because I have seen contracts that say, “hourly based permanent contract”, which can sound like an exclusivity contract. If the company needs you, they will call you, yet there is no guarantee. Make sure those “details” are clearly explained. 
  • How long is your notice if you resign or are fired. It can be from one month to three months.
  • Trial period. A time, usually six months, in which you can see if the company likes you, your work, and if you fit into the work environment, and just as much if you like the company, your work there, and the work environment
  • How much holiday do you have the right to? Usually, it is 25 working days – five weeks. 
  • How many hours a day you’re supposed to work. The standard rate is 40 hours for 7 days/max 9 hours a day. Each trade has its overtime rules. Please get familiar with those rules. The best way to do it is to join a union. You can read about more reasons of why it is good to join a union here.
  • When you are supposed to work: during daytime, shifts, night, etc
  • Where you’re working: an office, will you be traveling from place to place, etc. 
  • Your salary which the law can regulate “tarifavtaler”. A union can also help you here as well. 
  • The date of the month you’re going to be paid.

Always, always read the contract before you sign it. If you do not understand the language, ask for help. Do not sign something you don’t know what it says. 

Do not accept to work while you do not have a Norwegian bank account and receive the paycheck in some other people’s accounts. No matter how good friends they may be. 

In addition, your employer needs to do some things: 

  1. Must declare you in the employee’s register (A-registeret) and pay taxes for you. 
  2. The employer also needs to keep your tax money from your salary and pay them to the government.
  3. Needs to pay you at a specific date in the work contract. The money should come into YOUR bank account: not in cash or nature, or whatever else their creativity may allow. 
  4. Make sure you get a document with your income every month (lønnslip).
  5. At the end of the year must send you a document in which it is listed your annual income, how much you’ve paid in taxes and how much holiday money you have accumulated Årsoppgave).

If you don’t get all that, then something is wrong. And, by the way, this what it should be stated in the work contract everywhere in the world.

On the other hand, as an employee with a contact, you also have some duties.

  1. Respect the working time.
  2. You cannot travel to visit your country of origin whenever you want; you need to make sure that you discuss that with your leader. Your holiday also depends on your colleagues, because if you’re a part of a team, then your absence will affect them.
  3. First-year of work, you don’t have paid holiday. If you decide to take it, you won’t be paid for it. 
  4. Contribute to the work environment by who you are and what you know how to do as a person. Make sure you have some hobbies you can talk about and interests on you free time. Those will get you far in building friendships. You can read more about how to make Norwegian friends here.

About how you get to the contract, you find more details on Work In Norway site. Click on it and you will get more info. And if you want to try your luck in one of the most remote and exotic city in the Arctic, click here.

Best from

P.S. If you want to know more about the unspoken details in the Norwegian culture you can sign up for my “Norwegian Letters” newsletter here.

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