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What are the perks of working in Norway?

Working takes up a hefty chunk of time in our adult lives. But Norway offers work benefits which provide citizens security and flexibility to maximise their enjoyment outside of the job.

What are the perks of working in Norway?
Photo: Christin Hume on Unsplash

Work-life balance is taken seriously in this Norway. At first glance, the work ethic may appear lax, but do not underestimate the effectiveness of the culture and its system.

Here are a few of the perks you can expect if you are employed or soon to be in Norway.

The National Insurance Scheme

Working in Norway will give you the security of excellent health insurance. If you are legally working or living in Norway, then you have automatically been enrolled in the Norwegian National Health Insurance Scheme.

Necessary health expenses that include services for primary and mental health, as well as hospital care and select prescription drugs, are covered from the first month of employment.

READ ALSO: Seven things foreigners in Norway should know about the health system

Parental leave

Norway’s parental leave is both flexible and generous. If both the mother and the father have been in the workforce for at least 6 out of the 10 months leading up to the birth of their child, then they are both entitled to paid parental leave.

Parental leave provisions allow for the mother to choose between 15 weeks’ parental leave with 100 percent of their original wages or 19 weeks with 80 percent of their original wages.

The father is entitled to the same and can start his paternity leave after the newborn is 7 weeks old. In addition, there is a joint parental leave time that can be divided up between both mother and father under certain guidelines. 

Holiday time and pay

Residents in Norway are used to a slower pace of life during the summer months. This is because of fellesferie, or joint holiday.

In most countries, it would be difficult to take such a large amount of time away from work, whereas Norway’s system encourages it. The amount of holiday an employee is allowed a year is typically five weeks. It is very common for most Norwegians to use a bulk of their holiday time during the month of July.

Annual leave in Norway is normally provided for by a system of employees’ holiday pay (feriepenger). This holiday pay is made up of 10.2 percent of wages earned during each year, and is typically taken out of monthly wages and paid back out in June.

It can be thought of as your employer doing the saving for you. You can use your holiday pay on whatever you like, as it is your money – but you must actually take holiday to be able to withdraw the money.

There are a number of rules relating to when and how much holiday is taken, and when holiday money is earned. You can learn about them in more detail here.

The family focus

Norway has a number of rights for employees set in place in order to help them take care of their families. On top of a number of paid sick leave days you are allowed for yourself to take when ill, an employee has the right to 10-15 paid omsorgsdageror care days, to look after their sick child or children.

If you are a single parent, you may have the right to up to 30 paid care days for your sick child or children. These care days are permitted until the child turns 12 years of age.

Job security

The fear of losing your job is a stressful thought. Luckily in Norway, job security is backed by law.It is illegal in this country to let go of an employee for no valid reason if they have a fast, or permanent job contract.

If the employee is subject to losing their job then there is a process that must ensue before termination. Knowing you can’t just lose your job out of the blue can be a huge comfort. An employer is obliged to hold a meeting with the employee before any decision regarding termination has been made. They must also give a one month contract termination notice.

Comfortable working days

You may be surprised when you first move to Norway and find that rush hour traffic after work starts around 3pm.  Pre-schools typically close at 5pm and it is completely normal for an office to empty out earlier than usual on Friday afternoons.

A lot of employees enjoy flexible working hours. There are even some companies that have ‘summer hours’, letting their employees leave earlier during the warmer months and making up the time during the winter.

All of this flexibility is a part of the Arbeidsmiljøloven,or the Norwegian Working Environment Act. This is an act that regulates the relationship between employers and employees. There are many laws set into place to make an employee’s working day more manageable. For example, employees have the right to reduced working hours due to health, social and welfare reasons. All shifts over five and a half hours are required to have a thirty-minute break time.Employees also have the right to a wage supplement of at least 40 percent for overtime work. Working night shifts, Sundays and on religious holidays are often compensated by a higher wage per hour than normal. 

READ ALSO: Do you really need to speak Norwegian to work in Norway?

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For members

MONEY

How and where to get the cheapest fuel in Norway

Norway is leading the pack when it comes to the sales of new electric vehicles. In fact, nearly 60 percent of all new car sales in this country are electric. But for petrol and diesel car owners who have yet to make the switch, knowing when and where to find the cheapest fuel can end up saving you thousands of kroner.

A petrol station in Norway in 2021. Refuelling your car is a pricey business in the Nordic country, but there are ways to limit costs.
A petrol station in Norway in 2021. Refuelling your car is a pricey business in the Nordic country, but there are ways to limit costs. Photo by Malik Skydsgaard on Unsplash

Why is it so expensive to fuel up?

Fuel – gasoline, petrol and diesel — is an expensive monthly bill for many. Norway typically has some of the highest fuel prices in Europe. The at-times sky high prices are mainly due to taxes on fuel imposed by the government, as well as the usual international market factors.

The Norwegian Competition Authority or Konkurransetilsynet recently stated that it is perhaps now more important than ever before to be aware of the ever changing fuel prices.

We have registered price differences of 2-3 kroner in the same local area. There is undoubtedly money to be saved by following along,” said Marita Skjæveland, deputy leader of the Norwegian Competition Authority’s energy section to broadcaster TV2.

The average price to fuel up between the months of July to October this year was 18.8 kroner per litre (2.26 dollars or 1.94 euros). 

READ ALSO: Five things that are becoming more expensive in Norway (and why)

Does it matter which day you fuel up?

As of writing, routinely fueling your vehicle on a specific day of the week will likely no longer save you money. 

“We see that the players in the market still raise prices two to three times a week, but that it happens on different days from week to week,” Skjæveland told TV2. The competition analyst added that by the end of the year, fixed price increases may also happen over the weekend. As such, it’s important to stay updated not only on the weekdays, but on the weekends as well.

Previously, Sunday evenings and early on Monday mornings used to be known as the cheapest time to fill your vehicle’s tank with petrol or diesel.  This is now a practice of the past. 

Where can I find cheap petrol prices online?

Hunting for the cheapest fuel prices in Norway is quite common. It’s also a normal discussion to have with your neighbours and colleagues. So don’t be worried about appearing ‘cheap’ if you want to talk about the high price of fuel. Or share which local petrol stations you have noticed to be less expensive. 

You can check Facebook for groups that are committed to informing the public on where to find the cheapest petrol stations. 

For Oslo and its surrounding areas, you can try here, and if you live in or are driving through the south of Norway, check here.

Drivestoff is an app designed to compare prices of petrol stations you will drive by on your journey so you can plan ahead to get the cheapest fuel. You can find more information and download the app here.

You can also save money by looking for a queue of cars at a petrol station. Yes, it may be just busy. But oftentimes, a queue is a signal for cheaper petrol prices. 

Memberships and credit cards can save you money on fuel

If you’re in the market for a credit card, look for one that might save you money on fuel. Credit cards such as 365 Direct and Flexi VISA will give you good discount options at all petrol stations. If you have a particular station you always fill up at, such as a YX, you can sign up for the company’s credit card to receive discounts on fuel. 

There are also benefits to be had if you sign up for a credit card or a drivstoffkort or “fuel card”.

A drivstoffkort is a special credit card which you use to pay when refuelling your vehicle. The cards generally only work at the stations run by the company to which the card belongs. Different deals and types of card are available, depending on the company.

Specific deals on credit card and drivstoffkort discounts can be found (in Norwegian) here

You can sometimes use membership cards with grocery stores or real estate organisations to give you discounts on fuel. For example, the Coop Medlemskort will save you 45 øre when filling up at Circle K petrol stations. Trumf kortet, which is associated with the chains Kiwi, Meny, Joker and Spar, gives you bonuses when you fill up at Shell stations. OBOS members receive a 27 øre discount on petrol and diesel at both Statoil and 1-2-3-Automat stations. 

Where can I get the lowest priced petrol?

Petrol stations in Norway are extremely competitive. There is no one company that is known to sell gasoline or diesel cheaper than the others

Like many other goods, fuel prices around Norway will rise and fall with demand. Typically, fuel stations located in mountainous towns or areas that heavily rely on tourism will have more expensive fuel. If you’re on holiday in such a town or area, and can wait to fuel up when you get to a more trafficked motorway, it will likely save you money. 

Petrol stations that don’t have employees on location tend to be slower at increasing their prices to match the competition. So if you know you’ll be passing by an ubemannet or “unstaffed” petrol station on your trip, it may be cost-effective to wait and fill up there. 

Consider how much time you want to invest

Joining the hunt for cheaper fuel may not be for everyone. It is time consuming, and admittedly hard to achieve due to the ever-changing prices. If you are not dependent on your vehicle for your daily commute and don’t often drive long distances, fueling up at your local gas station may be the best choice. 

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