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READER QUESTION: Can my employer make me take holiday during ‘fellesferie’? 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
READER QUESTION: Can my employer make me take holiday during ‘fellesferie’? 
Here's what you need to know about whether or not your employer can make you take fellesferie in Norway. Pictured is a group of people at a beach in Norway. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Many opt to take holiday during Norway’s collective holiday period, ‘fellesferie’, but some prefer to wait until after the summer is over for cheaper airline tickets. But, can your employer force you to take time off?


Question: My employer is making me take time off during fellesfeire, but I’d rather wait until tickets are cheaper to take holiday, is this allowed? 

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

In the interwar years, employers and employees in the Norwegian metal smelting industry agreed on a collective holiday period of three weeks. 

For the companies, it was more practical and profitable to let the workers all take holidays simultaneously and close their operations down completely than it was to let workers take holidays at different times and disrupt production levels. 


Eventually, the scheme caught on and is a cornerstone of Norwegian working life today. 

During fellesferie, Many companies will shut down entirely or operate vastly reduced opening hours. The reason why it takes place in July is pretty simple. Kids are on Sommerferie, or summer holiday and the days are still long and warm. 

But what are your rights when it comes to fellesferie? Fellesferie isn’t an official public holiday, nor can employers be legally forced to let staff take a holiday during fellesferie

In contrast, employers can make employees take a holiday during fellesferie if the business stops operating wholly or partly throughout this period. 

Essentially this means that your employer can indeed force you to take time off, even If you don’t want to, if they will be closing down or reducing operations due to a holiday period. 

Employees can refuse to take holiday if the holiday pay they have earned does not cover the loss of income during the holiday. 

On the flip side, employers aren’t obligated to give you fellesferie off, however, under the Holiday Act, employees can demand to take up to three consecutive weeks off during the main holiday period – between June 1st and the last day of September, though. 

This means that employees can still take an extended summer vacation that employers will have to grant. However, that doesn’t mean they have to give you vacation during fellesferie

One perk of the aforementioned Holiday Act, or Ferieloven, is that if you fall sick during your leave, you can request to have the time you were ill back as more holiday. You will need to provide your employers with a medical certificate, though. 


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