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WHAT CHANGES IN NORWAY

Everything that changes about life in Norway in July 2022

Free ferries, a potential pilot strike, more expensive food and a change in the voting rules are among the biggest changes happening in Norway during July.

Pictured is the Fjord 1 ferry.
Free ferries, more expensive food, a travel strike and more are featured in our look ahead to July. Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash

Potential pilot strike

This one isn’t fully set in stone but could spell travel chaos if it goes ahead. Up to 900 pilots from SAS could be taken out on strike from July 2nd if an agreement isn’t reached between the airline and pilots’ representatives. 

After weeks of intensive negotiations over a new agreement between SAS leadership and 1,000 of the airline’s pilots, both sides were willing to continue discussions, pushing back the original deadline. 

Pilots are unhappy that SAS is hiring new pilots on cheaper contracts in their two subsidiaries, SAS Link and SAS Connect. If the two parties cannot agree, up to 30,000 SAS passengers could be affected per day, the airline said on June 27th.

You can check the likelihood of your flight being affected here

Food prices are likely to go up

July will also see the cost of grocery shopping in Norway go up significantly. This is because the price farmers will be able to charge for milk, grain, potatoes, vegetables and fruit in Norway will rise. 

Food prices in Norway are adjusted twice a year by supermarkets. The next change is set to happen in July, with prices expected to go up due to increasing costs from suppliers and producers. 

Ferries to become free

Ferry connections with less than 100,000 annual passengers will be completely free from the beginning of July. 

The government pledged to make all ferry connections with less than 100,000 passengers free of charge when it was formed last October to try and make transport easier for rural and coastal communities and boost tourism. 

Free tickets will apply to both residents, tourists and commercial passengers. 

READ MORE: Norwegian islands lose quarter of voters as foreigners frozen out of local elections

Fellesferie begins

Fellesferie is the collective leave period or general staff holiday period that many Norwegian companies have adopted, which takes place during July. 

The origins of fellesferie date back to the interwar years, when employers and employees in the Norwegian metal smelting industry agreed on a collective holiday period of three weeks. 

If you’ve not experienced the holiday period in Norway yet, it’ll feel like everything is coming to a grinding halt.

Many companies will shut down entirely or operate vastly reduced opening hours. As a result, big cities such as Oslo can feel practically deserted as everyone flocks to the beaches, fjords and mountains – often staying in their country retreats or hyttes If they aren’t travelling abroad.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Norway’s collective holiday period

Air passenger tax returns

Air travel will become slightly more expensive at the beginning of July as the passenger tax for travellers will be reintroduced. 

The low rate of 80 kroner per passenger will be applied to journeys where the final destination is within Europe. 

Those travelling outside of Europe will have to pay a tax of 214 kroner. 

Rates apply to Europe as a whole, rather than the EU, so passengers heading to the UK will pay the lower rate. 

A new grid rent model implemented 

The beginning of July also sees a new grid rent system introduced. 

Grid rent is the charge consumers pay for receiving electricity into their homes. Under the current model, grid rent is typically anywhere between 20 to 50 øre per kilowatt-hour. Those in rural areas usually pay more, while those in cities pay less.

The new model will have a lower fixed proportion of the fee with a higher part of the charge linked to total consumption, meaning homes that use more power will pay higher grid rent, while those that consume less will have lower bills. 

READ MORE: What Norway’s new grid rent model means for you

A transition period of two years will be introduced, and the new consumption charge will only be allowed to account for 50 percent of grid companies’ revenues. The energy ministry will then assess the new model at the end of the transition period. 

Svalbard residents lose their voting rights

The Arctic archipelago of Svalbard is to lose over a quarter of its voting base for local elections under new rules preventing foreign nationals from participating.

Under new rules, non-Norwegian citizens will be required to have lived in a Norwegian municipality for three years in order to be eligible to vote in local elections and run for office on the remote Arctic archipelago.

Over 700 of the 2,500 people who live on Svalbard could be affected by the decision, broadcaster NRK reports.

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WHAT CHANGES IN NORWAY

The key changes in August that parents in Norway need to know about 

From changes to the paternity allowance to more financial support and free afterschool places for first graders, here are the key changes happening in August that parents in Norway should know about. 

The key changes in August that parents in Norway need to know about 

Sommerferie ends

We’re starting with one that all parents will know about, whether they dread seeing their little ones off to school or are counting down the days. 

Most kids’ first day of school will be Monday, August 16th. However, the term itself will bring in one big change parents will want to be aware of… 

The absence limit to be reintroduced

After the summer holidays, the absence rules for students will be reintroduced for middle and high school pupils

If high school students in Norway miss more than 10 percent of lessons in a subject, then the student will fail the subject and not receive a grade. Students can have an authorised absence with valid documentation, such as a doctor’s note. Documentation from another expert, such as a physiotherapist, dentist, psychologist or health nurse, can also be used. 

During the pandemic, the government introduced rules which meant there were exemptions from the documentation required for a health-related absence.

Free SFO for first graders

On the topic of schools, all children in Norway are eligible for up to 12 hours of free afterschool activities a week from August. 

Families on low incomes in 60 municipalities will be given free full-time spaces in after schools programs. Around 5,500 children will benefit from the policy. You can find a list of the municipalities offering free full-time SFO places here.

Glasses support for kids introduced

A new support scheme for kids needing glasses will be brought at the beginning of August. The new scheme gives children who were excluded from support during a rejig in 2020 (those who needed glasses for the prevention or treatment of amblyopia) a right to financial support to purchase spectacles.

The scheme will apply to around 140,000 children and those already eligible for support. Financial support is only available for children under 18. 

Under the scheme, families could be reimbursed up to 75 percent of the cost of a pair of prescription lenses for a child. There will be five different rates, with the support depending on the glasses’ strength. 

Those who apply for the support will have the money then paid into their account to help pay for the costs before purchase or as a reimbursement after the spectacles have been bought. Parents will need to apply to NAV for support. 

Paternity rules change 

The fathers of children born after August 2nd will be independently entitled to eight weeks of parental allowance. This means that the father can use parental allowance for eight weeks without it coming out of the general allowance.  

Mothers can apply for parental leave in Norway during the 22nd week of pregnancy, and fathers/partners can apply just after the baby is born. Parental allowance is paid out by NAV. 

A right to children’s coordinator 

The beginning of August also sees a statutory right to a children’s coordinator introduced. 

The new right will see “families with children or who are expecting children with serious illness, injury or impaired functioning, and who will need long-term and complex or coordinated health and care services and other welfare services,” given access to a coordinator.

The coordinator will ensure that all the services the family needs to access are on the same page and that local authorities make the necessary arrangements for families. 

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