Staff welfare - Norway
The labour market is regulated by a number of laws. At the centre is the Working Environment Act containing rules on employment, leave, discrimination, health and safety and the environment. The Working Environment Act is administered by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority.
Other relevant acts:
Discrimination and equal treatment
Discrimination at work is covered by several laws, but the most important are the Working Environment Act, the Gender Equality Act and the Act on ethnic discrimination. These acts, which are based on provisions in the constitution and international conventions on human rights, give employees and job-seekers specific protection under the law.
Health and safety
A number of different Acts lay down rules to the effect that products and services must satisfy various safety and quality standards. The are requirements relating to premises, protective equipment and the organisation of work to safeguard the external environment and provide security for people at work. A common collective term for this is HSE (health, safety and environment).
Under the Internal Control Regulation (Regulation relating to systematic health, environmental and safety activities in enterprises) the person responsible for the business undertakes to maintain systematic compliance with requirements laid down in the following:
Working environment regulations with HSE requirements (valid as of 1 January 2013):
Employers are responsible for the whole working environment, which includes ensuring that nobody is exposed to smoke in the workplace. Everyone is entitled to a smoke-free working environment.
The purpose of national insurance is to provide financial security by guaranteeing an income and compensating for specific expenses in the event of unemployment, pregnancy and childbirth, single parenthood, sickness and injury, disability, old age and death.
Working environment legislation
A written contract of employment must be signed for any employment.
Norway does not have a statutory minimum wage. However, a specific regulation on collectively agreed minimum wages on construction sites has been introduced.
Rules on working hours and breaks are governed by agreements between employer and employee, and by the provision of the Working Environment Act on working hours.
Employees must cover sick pay for employees for the first 16 days of absence through sickness (the employer period). After this, social security takes over.
A disability benefit should provide a basic income for people whose earning capacity has been permanently reduced by illness, injury or disability.
- In the event of unemployment, workers are entitled to a daily allowance.
Employers and employees are responsible for collective agreements and avoiding industrial unrest. Society and outsiders may basically tolerate the inconvenience brought on by a labour conflict. Norway recognises the right to strike in connection with the establishment or amendment of collective agreements, except for civil servants and members of the armed forces.
The right to impose a lock-out is equivalent to the right to strike. Where a labour conflict results in danger to life and health or other serious harm to society, the Arbitration Board can intervene in the dispute with compulsory arbitration.
Mandatory social rules complete the requirements related to managing staff.
Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum social legal requirements at their own initiative.
Discrimination and equal treatment
Employers must work in an active, directed and planned way to foster gender equality and combat discrimination within their business.
- In Norway, the responsibility for gender equality and combating discrimination rests with the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion. The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud can give guidance on how to work for gender equality and combat discrimination in working life. The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud will also answer questions on rights and obligations and deal with complaints of discrimination.
Health and safety
Employees must notify the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority and the nearest police authority of any accident causing serious injury or death. The employer must also send an incident report to NAV.
The Regulation on health and safety work stipulates that anyone managing a business must systematically monitor the requirements laid down by the regulations for health and safety at work.
Employers must notify the Register of Employers when the take on new employees or terminate existing contracts.
Employers are obliged to pay the employer's contribution towards wage costs. The employer's contribution helps to finance social security expenditure on things like pensions, sick pay, unemployment benefit, etc.
Employers must send incident reports to NAV whenever an employee has suffered an occupational injury or illness.
Norwegian Labour and Welfare Organisation (NAV) - Information on jobs, employment, pensions, healthcare and benefit schemes.
Altinn/Start and run a business, www.altinn.no, tel. +47 800 33 840, is a toll-free national information service for people establishing and running a business. The aim is to make it easier to launch and run businesses in Norway.
Check also the legislation on this topic in: