HR Solutions & Employee Relations in Norway with IRIS

IRIS HR Consulting has experience helping businesses grow in Norway. Without expert guidance, it can otherwise be risky and costly to leave local laws and legislation open to interpretation. For a scalable, compliant operation, IRIS can manage your HR in Norway to help businesses hire, recruit, and pay staff overseas in new, unfamiliar countries. As a popular destination for businesses, IRIS can navigate local barriers – from culture to compliance – to arrive at a rewarding opportunity for your business to thrive in this exciting marketplace.

Take your business to Norway with IRIS HR Consultancy.

Global expansion in Norway

Norway’s impressive reputation covers an association with a highly educated populace, strong productivity, and a continued culture of innovation. Its focus on knowledge development, technology and sustained business, has enabled Norway to be a thriving, economic marketplace.

It’s a market leader in oil and gas, energy and maritime sectors, along with considerable booms in tech-cluster markets like EdTech. Its finessed expertise in technology and innovation has proven foundational in building key partnerships for businesses.

Norwegian (or Scandinavian) work values thrive here, where productivity, equality and innovation are given weight and priority and mobilised as key themes for the workforce. Norway – along with Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland – are joint members of the EFTA (or the European Free Trade Area) and respective EU/EFTA economic area, or the European Economic area. With its involvement with the Schengen visa treaty, Norway receives similar treatment to EU agreements. This creates a favourable setting for trade arrangements – ranging imports and exports – and future partnerships with European territories, too.

Norwegian Technology Clusters

Norwegian Innovation Clusters (NIC) represents a programme (and an attitude) established in 2014, aimed at spurring internationally competitive innovation projects and partnerships. Key examples, such as EdTech or Health Tech, are renowned globally for their ingenuity in marrying research, insights, and the spirit of innovation into the task of industrialisation.

This underpins a productive goal that Norway embodies through its businesses: these innovation clusters thrive through collaborative efforts between firms with a mutual commitment to innovating fields of research and the respective markets. Businesses entering this Scandinavian territory can expect a boost from this kind of direct cooperation.

Establishing your business in Norway    

Embarking on a global expansion is a strategic move to gain extra value from exciting foreign markets, which are constantly evolving and full of opportunity. But the international stage isn’t always easy to navigate.

Before entering the Norwegian market, you will need to honor labor regulations, which have developed over the years. Establishing a business in Norway will require local knowledge – everything from establishing your operation based on location, to understanding the ‘employees’ market’.

Complying with these procedures can be easier when you partner with IRIS HR consultants – we can help you reach Norwegian markets.

Employment laws in Norway 

When first expanding your business into Norway, navigating local laws, legislation and rules of employment laws is no mean feat, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the country’s driving policies. Throughout the world map, these laws are almost never universal. Rather, employment is dynamic and reflects the country social, economic, cultural opportunities.

For example, employment in Norway is mainly governed by the Working Environment Act. Other notable legislation, related to employment, includes the Labour Disputes Act, the Vacation Act, the National Insurance Act, the Personal Data Act and the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act.

Did you know?

Norway’s priority on early years education and development has resulted in a highly skilled, educated workforce with clear career pathways. 

Employment rights & contracts in Norway

Whilst a contract of employment in Norway can be agreed either verbally or in writing, it must be concluded in writing.

As per the Working Environment Act, the written employment contract must contain the following information:

  • The identity of both parties, i.e. employer and employee
  • The place of work or institution
  • Job title/category of work or a job description of the role
  • Starting date
  • Duration of the contract
  • Wages (along with any other benefit)
  • Payment of wages
  • Length of working hours (weekly or daily) and any breaks
  • Vacation and vacation pay entitlements (with rules to determine vacation time)
  • Provisions relating to reduced hours or flexible working agreements (if any)
  • Notice periods required from both parties
  • Collective agreements that apply (if any at all)

Hiring & recruitment in Norway

When getting your first hire overseas, you will need to negotiate terms of employment. But that requires local knowledge, strict compliance, and an understanding of what to include in an offer and thereafter – including before, during and after the commencement of an employment contract.

What are the working hours in Norway?

According to the Working Environment Act, weekly working hours are set at 40 hours, providing for 9 hours daily. Only through collective agreements may hours vary from the Act.

Overtime in Norway

Overtime is limited to an excess by 10 hours over a 7-day period, or working week. Total working hours, calculating-in any overtime, must not be in excess of 13 daily hours, or 48 hours per week.

For any deviations regarding overtime, authority must be granted via collective bargaining agreements, or through the Labour Inspectorate Authority.

In calculating the worth of accrued overtime, the compensation rate is set at 40% of the hourly wage payment, in addition to the normal rate.

Maternity Leave in Norway

Pregnancy and birth are covered under the umbrella of Paternal Leave, so these entitlements are not kept separate.

Pregnant employees can receive 12 weeks of leave, with a mandatory six weeks leave after childbirth. Rather than employer pay for this absence, payments are benefited under the National Insurance Scheme.

Parental Leave

Parents of new-borns, including adaptions, are entitled to up to 12 weeks leave.

Pensions in Norway

The State Pension, known as the National Insurance Pension, covers the minimum basic pension scheme across Norway. This is subject to eligibility for employees, who should become familiar with the driving policy before reaching age of retirement.

Public Holidays in Norway

Norway celebrates 12 public holidays, including:

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Maundy Thursday – day before Good Friday
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday
  • Labour Day – 1st May
  • Constitution Day – 17 May
  • Ascension Day
  • Whit Sunday
  • Whit Monday
  • Christmas Day – 25th December
  • Boxing day – 26th December


The statutory provision, as outlined in the Holiday Act, provides for 21 days off as a yearly allowance.  Employees who are 60 or over are also granted a further week of vacation. An extension of up to 25 days can be granted if Saturdays are included.

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Deliver your business to new, exciting markets with confidence and compliance.

End of Service

HR in Norway requires compliance not only during an employee’s service, but also at the end of it. End of service might include severance, termination, redundancy, and leaving packages. Or, for globally mobile companies with teams in foreign markets, this could be repatriation services for those returning from an assignment overseas.

For these more complicated matters, you will need expert HR guidance to navigate Norwegian labor laws and remain compliant.

Termination (including Severance) in Norway

The conclusion of a contract must satisfy one of the following three options: by resignation, by mutual agreement, or by dismissal.

Just, or reasonable, cause must be provided, such as economic grounds (i.e. redundancy), in order for a valid termination of employment to be recognised and lawful. Objective justification is required for either dismissal or termination.

Social Security Coverage

Compulsory insurance is applicable to all employees in Norway (including residents and expats).

The application of this covers persons living in Svalbard (Spitsbergen), Jan Mayen, and the Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic dependencies (Bouvet Island, Peter I Island and Queen Maud Land), if they are employed by a Norwegian employer or were insured under the National Insurance Act prior to their stay in these areas.

The National Insurance Scheme is financed by joint contributions from employees, self-employed persons, employers’ contributions and contributions from the state.

These contribution rates are expressed as follows:

Contribution rate14.1%8.2%

The National Insurance Scheme provides benefits in the following areas:

  • old-age pension
  • survivors’ pension
  • disability benefit – basic benefit and attendance benefit in case of disablement, technical aids etc.
  • work assessment allowance
  • occupational injury benefits
  • benefits to single parents
  • cash benefits in case of sickness
  • maternity and adoption
  • unemployment
  • medical benefits
  • funeral grant

Supplemental benefits

Health Insurance

It is becoming more common in the Norwegian market for employers to provide cover with medical and/or health insurance, although this is usually dependant on headcount and the scale of an operation.

Life Insurance

It is very common for employers to offer group life insurance. The benefit is usually 1x or 2x times their salary.

Business Travel Benefits

It is normal for employees in Norway to be provided with business travel insurance.

Why Partner With IRIS?

When entering new, exciting countries like Norway, you will need an employment specialist to navigate the parts of local laws that are mandatory and those that are not. Delivering a compliant solution, IRIS can help your business arrive into new marketplaces whilst protecting your workforce – our partners can discover power and protection through us.

Overseas expansions can seem risky to those who dare it alone. Understanding the complexity of a fully compliant solution, IRIS can help businesses reach Norway.

Our cost-effective, knowledgeable approach to HR in Norway makes us an ideal partner to commence your overseas plans.