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What are the perks of working in Norway?

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

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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