Norway Country Facts

We provide comprehensive information regarding, Culture, Work life, Taxation, Visa’s & immigration, Labour Law, recruiting in Norway and employment contracts.

Global Expansion Made Easy for You

Expanding into Norway generally comes with challenges, however, partnering with us and using Employer of Record (EOR) eliminates the frustrations you could encounter.

Norway Visas, Work Permits and Migration

As well as the obvious attractions of this beautiful country with its glaciers, fjords and green spaces, Norway is also known for being one of the ‘best places in the world to live’. It boasts a top-notch welfare system, a country putting personal development and a healthy working environment ahead of financial reward.

However, they also operate complicated systems, whether payroll, benefits, or ‘working documentation’ such as permits and visas. Everyone needs to be responsible for ensuring the correct paperwork is in place, whether individuals or companies, when entering Norway for business or pleasure.

There is also another option which involves sourcing staff directly from the local Norwegian labour market, cutting out that red tape. Hiring locally can bring its own ‘need to know’ issues, and our local recruitment specialists in our Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) networks have a handle on all work-related legislation and complianceThe result? Your company is up and running within days rather than weeks or even months.

What Types of Work Visas, and Permits

As a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as the Schengen agreement, there are many countries whose nationals have free movement within Norway. Also, many countries have agreements regarding travelling visa-free. For all other nationalities, a Visitor’s Visa (Schengen Visa) needs to be applied for; for any longer or to work in Norway, a Residence Permit is required.

There are also exemptions regarding those wishing to work in Norway. EU and EEA citizens and those of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, and Sweden can enter and work without visas or permits. Workers from the EU and EEA are required to register with the local police station within three months of arriving in the country; Nordic countries’ citizens, however, do not.

For all other foreigners e.g., Third Country Nationals (TCNs), the following are required:

  • Residence Permit (FKA – Work Permit) is needed from the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) and in most cases a confirmed job offer is also a pre-requisite
  • An Entry Visa to allow admittance to Norway – but this is not permission to work
  • Resident Card. Within seven days of entering Norway, worker must register with the police, and they will order a Resident Card which can be used as proof of having a residence permit

Residence Permits

There are different categories available for – Work, Study or Permanent Residence.

The Residence Permit for work, was previously called a Work Permit. The type applied for will depend on education, occupation or skill set e.g., skilled workers, ethnic chefs, the self-employed or humanitarian employees.

For employers/companies whose employees require a work permit: From outside Norway

  • Your employee requires a firm job offer to apply for a Residence Permit (work permit)
  • For skilled workers (or seasonal), employers can apply for the Residence Permit on their behalf but will require a power of attorney to give permission
  • Employees cannot work until a Residence Permit has been authorized by the UDI and police
  • When approved, the Residence Permit will have a validity period and most can be renewed, but this should be done well before the permit expires (2-3 months)
  • Once approved the worker (if not exempt) has to apply for an Entry Visa at their local Norwegian Embassy

The Early Employment Start Scheme can circumvent the process in some cases but needs to be applied for by employers in Norway:

  • Check at the local police office to see if the employee qualifies
  • Employees should have provided all required paperwork
  • Have the necessary educational qualifications i.e., degree, vocational diplomas
  • Employer needs power of attorney and show this upon submitting application to police
  • When submitting the Residence Permit application, the employer asks for the Early Employment Start Scheme
  • When confirmation has been received, the employee can begin work in anticipation of the Residence Permit but must not change employers
  • If entry visa is required (not exempt), this can be done at a local Norwegian Embassy / Consulate (or Swedish/Danish Embassy if there is no Norwegian Embassy) and the confirmation of the early employment start must be included with other documents
  • Within seven days of arriving in Norway, the employee must report to the police with their passport to register and order their residence card (plastic) as proof of permit

Note: This scheme is not available to those employees who submit their own application form to a local Embassy in home country.

For Employers hiring foreign workers from inside Norway

  • Employers need to check workers have a valid residence permit and residence card for work or if they have the right of residence due to association with the EU/EEA, a registration certificate
  • Those holding a Residence Permit for a Skilled Worker can change employers without the need for another permit but must be employed in the same work in a similar position. They must comply with conditions of their work permit including salary requirements (not below those held by a local Norwegian in a similar position)
  • If worker has a permit with a previous employer for work and occupation a new Residence Permit must be applied for. Fines and sanctions (imprisonment) apply for those employers who have foreign workers without the correct paperwork

A Skilled Worker Permit

  • Must be educated to a higher degree or have completed vocational training e.g.
  • Three years’ vocational training course with similar in Norway
  • A pertinent degree
  • Experience in relevant position including courses taken equivalent to vocational training
  • AND have a confirmed job offer
  • Full time or working 80%
  • Employee qualifications must fit the job position
  • Salary must be the same or more than the average Norwegian salary
  • OR want to work as a self-employed person running their own business

After three years, the employee qualifies to apply for Permanent Residence.

The employee can change employers (though not the type of work or position) without the need to apply for a new permit. However, a new position or changing the type of work even with the same employer, then a new permit needs to be applied for.

There are also permits for employees of international companies going to Norway to work in their company’s branch, or for those from international companies on assignment.

Entry Visa – this does not allow for paid employment but will be necessary to travel to Norway for those foreign nationals who are not visa exempt. They can apply through a local embassy / consulate if they have applied or in the process of applying for a Skilled Worker Residence Permit (or other categories of Residence Permit).

When arriving in Norway, they will need to register with the police to book an appointment for a Residence Card.

Norway Tax Laws

Dealing with tax, payroll, and employment regulations for your staff from overseas is always a tricky process and poses complications that demand expert guidance. Norway is no exception, particularly with its complex dual system for individuals’ taxation.

With over 20 years’ experience in the front rank of international payroll providers, Bradford Jacobs ensures our clients comply with every level of tax and employment law across the globe. Our ‘knowledge’ is vital for foreign companies expanding into Norway.

By using our PEO service, we will take care of the complicated legwork so that you can focus on your business goals. Bradford Jacobs’ dedicated specialists remove the burdens of worrying about these complications while you focus on building your business in a new territory.

Overview of Taxes in Norway

Taxable income in NOK, Euros (€) and US Dollars (US$)

Tax Type Percentages
General Income Tax
Flat rate of 22.0%
Personal Income Tax (Bracket Tax)
NOK 184,800 (€17,980, US$20,270) to NOK 260,100 (€25,318, US$28,530) 1.7%
Three other bands with a top rate of
Over NOK 1,021,550 (€99,459, US$112,106) 16.2%
Social Insurance Taxes
Employers’ typical contribution (reduced in low population areas) 14.1%
Employees 8.2%
Self-employed 11.4%
Corporate Income Tax (CIT)
Resident companies taxed on profits 22.0%
Some financial companies 25.0%
Withholding Tax (WHT)
Dividends 25.0%
Royalties and lease payments for shipping 22.0%
Indirect Taxes
Value Added Tax top rate on goods and services 25.0%
Food and beverages and some other categories 15.0%
Transport and domestic ferry services, leisure and culture activities 12.0%
Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
Residents’ investments and capital gains are taxed as general income 22.0%

Norway Individual Tax – Single, Married

Individuals become tax residents by living in Norway for more than 183 days in a 12-month period or for 270 days over three years and pay tax on their worldwide income. Non-residents are liable for taxes on certain categories of income earned in Norway and since 2019 have been able to opt for a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYE) system. Norway has a dual tax system for individuals with a flat rate of 22% applying to ‘general income’ and four rates from 1.7% to 16.2% applying to ‘personal income’. The tax year runs from January 1 until December 31.

Taxable income in NOK, Euros (€) and US Dollars (US$)

Tax Type Percentages
General Income Tax
Flat rate of 22.0%
Personal Income Tax
Up to NOK 184,800 (€17,980, US$20,270) 0%
NOK 184,800 to NOK 260,100 (€25,318, US$28,530) 1.7%
NOK 260,100 to NOK 651,250 (€25,471, US$28,707) 4.0%
NOK 651,250 to NOK 1,021,550 (€99,459, US$112,106) 13.2%
Over NOK 1,021,550 16.2%
Employee Social Insurance Taxes
Employees 8.2%
Self-employed 11.4%

Norway Entity Set Up

Expanding overseas is a major step. It is easy to stumble while chasing two objectives – advancing your company at home while crossing the world into a new territory, maybe thousands of miles overseas.

Although strictly regulated, Norway welcomes foreign investment and ranks 23rd among the world’s freest economies. The most recent World Bank report ranked Norway 25th out of 190 nations for ease of starting a business, third for enforcing contracts, 15th for registering property and 22nd for trading across borders.

At Bradford Jacobs, we believe this adventure should be exciting instead of frustrating and time-consuming. You can bypass this process and utilize our Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) and Employer of Record (EOR) frameworks to locate the finest local talent and administer your payroll in Norway – speedily and risk free. Your company will be up-and-running in days rather than weeks or even months.

How to set up a Norwegian Subsidiary

Setting up a subsidiary in Norway? Most international corporations will choose between a private limited liability company, known as an ‘aksjeselskap’ (AS), or a branch. The advantage of a subsidiary is that it operates as a legal entity entirely independently of the parent organization and is incorporated in Norway as a local company. Various documents and procedures must be completed to set up the subsidiary. These include:

  • Decide on company type, with the typical choice being a private limited liability company, ‘aksjeselskap’ (AS). The company has the abbreviation AS before or after its name
  • Begin registration process through the Brønnøysund Register Center
  • Open a bank account and deposit share capital – a minimum of NOK 30,000 (€2,887, US$3,266)
  • Obtain bank’s ‘deed of deposit’ after outside auditor confirms the balance in the account
  • Complete the ‘Foundation of a private limited company’ form
  • Employers must be registered on the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities, to receive a unique organization number
  • Log necessary documents with the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises online (fee NOK 5,570, €536, US$606) or via post (fee NOK 6,797, €654, US$740)
  • Register for Value Added Tax (VAT) if annual turnover is expected to exceed NOK 50,000 (€4,811, US$5,433)
  • Register for mandatory workers’ injury insurance and occupational pension plan
  • Register with the Tax Administration and the Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV) to remit deductions for tax and social insurance
  • The Register for Business Enterprises must be notified no later than three months after the company is founded, or the process will be cancelled and need re-starting

Benefits of setting up a Subsidiary in Norway

  • Specific advantages for a foreign company opening a subsidiary in Norway include not being responsible for the subsidiary’s debts or liabilities. Also, the foreign parent company’s financial statements and accounts do not need to be presented to Norwegian authorities.
  • The subsidiary can operate under a different company name and can pursue separate business interests. It operates under Norwegian corporate law in the same way as local companies and is taxed on its worldwide income and liable for 22% Corporate Tax on business profits. Some companies in the financial sector pay tax at 25%. The liability of the subsidiary’s shareholders is limited to their investment in shares.
  • Through its subsidiary, the parent company has the advantage of exploring the Norwegian market and further afield among other Nordic nations and into Europe. Although Norway is not in the European Union, its membership of the European Economic Area makes it a key player in Europe’s single market.
  • Other benefits of a subsidiary:
  • Easier to obtain regulatory approvals, loans and finance and enter into contracts with other Norwegian and European companies
  • More impact with clients and suppliers, as subsidiaries imply more permanency than branches
  • Employees feel there is more stability and job security than from being with a branch
  • In the wider commercial sense opening a subsidiary makes a statement of a company’s commitment to expanding into foreign markets, in this case the opportunities offered by the European economy.
  • However, there is a more straightforward option to the risks and costs of setting up a subsidiary in Norway.

Norway Market

Norway is one of the most prosperous nations in the world with a highly developed social services and healthcare system and the added attractions of stunning landscapes of fjords, lakes, mountains, and forests.

Economically, Norway ranked as the 28th ‘freest’ economy in the world in 2021 and 15th out of 45 countries on the European continent. Norway was placed 32nd in the world with nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 445 billion US dollars, with predicted growth of 4.2% into 2022.

These factors underline the potential for foreign companies targeting Norway for international expansion. Hiring staff from overseas, however, can be hit and miss. Taking the major step of setting up a subsidiary as a route into the market poses different, but equally demanding issues.

Starting a business in Norway

Foreign companies starting a business in Norway usually prefer the option of a private limited liability company, known as an ‘aksjeselskap’ or AS. The private subsidiary is a legal entity entirely independent of the parent company and is incorporated in Norway as a local company under the Private Limited Liability Companies Act.

The necessary stages for starting the business include:

  • Begin registration process through the Brønnøysund Register Center to confirm the choice of company name is unique in Norway
  • Open a bank account and deposit share capital – a minimum of NOK 30,000 (€2,887, US$3,266)
  • An independent auditor confirms the balance is in the account in order for company to obtain the bank’s deed of deposit
  • Complete the ‘Foundation of a private limited company’ form
  • Employers must be registered on the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities, to receive a unique organization number
  • Log necessary documents with the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises online (fee NOK 5,570, €536, US$606) or via post (fee NOK 6,797, €654, US$740)
  • Register for Value Added Tax (VAT) if annual turnover is expected to exceed NOK 50,000 (€4,811, US$5,433)
  • Register for mandatory workers’ injury insurance and occupational pension plan
  • Register with the Tax Administration and the Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV) to remit deductions for tax and social insurance
  • The Register for Business Enterprises must be notified no later than three months after the company is founded, or the process will be cancelled and need re-starting

Expanding Business into Norway

Located on the northwestern corner of Europe in Scandinavia, Norway is a key player in Europe’s single market as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), which gives its businesses open access to all 27 nations of the European Union (EU).

The employment market is extremely competitive, with demand for highly skilled professionals in key sectors such as IT and healthcare, hospitality, engineering, and tourism as well as their ‘powerhouse’ sectors of oil and petroleum, shipping, minerals and fisheries.

Opening a business in any overseas territory brings issues. Moving staff across the world means lengthy processes to obtain visas and work permits. When employees are in place, who will handle payroll? How will your company deal with regulations on taxation, entitlements and benefits, termination, and severance?

Drawing up an expansion blueprint is not enough. Your business plan will have to answer all these questions.

Norway welcomes foreign investment, but the employment market is complicated by its mix of laws, collective and trade union agreements affecting employee benefits and entitlements. There are other questions too: where will you find distributors, manufacturers, and offices?

Norway Business Facts

  • Capital – Oslo
  • Population –   5.48 Million
  • Counties – 11 counties: Agder; Innlandet; Mare og Romsdal; Nordland; Oslo; Rogaland; Vestfold of Telemark; Troms og Finnmark; Trønelag; Vestland; Viken  
  • Official Language – Norwegian
  • Economy and world ranking – GDP US$445 billion; 32nd
  • Leading sectors by GDP – Service sector (60.5%); industry (25.9%); agriculture (2%); including oil and petroleum; hydropower; fish, forestry and minerals
  • Main exports –   Crude petroleum and gas; fish; refined petroleum; raw aluminum and minerals; machinery including computers
  • Main imports – Machinery including computer; vehicles; refined petroleum; broadcasting equipment; petroleum gas; crude petroleum
  • Main trading partners – UK, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, France, China
  • Government – Constitutional monarchy, unitary state and parliamentary system
  • Currency – Krone

Advantages and Challenges of the Norwegian Market

Advantages of expanding into the Norway market include:

  • Economy: Oil, gas, petroleum and fisheries revenue underwrites the strength of Norway’s economy for years to come
  • Strengths: Low unemployment and high productivity create a high standard of living for the relatively small population of around five million
  • Consumerism:  High spending power, especially from the growing percentage of young people in the population
  • Workforce:  Well, educated, highly skilled and motivated
  • Global:  Ranked the 28th freest economy in the world, receptive to foreign investment and with over 30 preferential trade agreements with other nations
  • Taxation:  Corporate taxation at 22% is among the lowest in Europe, although some companies in the financial sector are liable for 25%
  • Links: Although not a member of the European Union, Norway’s membership of the European Economic Area allows freedom of movement throughout the EU with access to its 450 million consumers

Challenges of operating in the Norway economy:

  • Expenditure:  High wages and labor costs
  • Local Logistics:  Most employees live outside the cities and depend on transport into work
  • Business Operations:  Companies used to a structured business environment can find the lack of hierarchy frustrating
  • Recruitment:  Finding high quality staff can be difficult as low unemployment creates an ‘employees market’ with jobseekers expecting high salaries
  • International Finance:  Transferring funds out of the country above NOK 25,000 (€2,460, US$2,777) must be approved in advance by Norwegian Customs and transferred through a bank

Limited Company / Subsidiary or Branch in Norway?

International companies targeting Norway for expansion will generally choose a private limited liability subsidiary, known as an ‘aksjeselskap’ or by the suffix AS. They have independent legal status from the parent company, which is generally free from responsibility for any debts or liabilities of the subsidiary. Subsidiaries can have a different name from the parent company, pursue different business activities and form their own contracts.

Branches, in comparison, are an extension of the parent company and are not a separate legal entity. Subsidiaries and branches have differences in how they are registered and operate.

Norway Contracts

Foreign companies hiring employees in Norway must operate within a strict framework of legislation that is based on acts and statutes as well as collective agreements that combine to provide safeguards and entitlements for the workforce.

Legislation includes the Working Environment Act, the National Insurance Act, the Holidays Act, the Data Privacy Act and the Limited Liability Companies Act, among others. Although Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU), as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) it must follow EU directives on employment.

These considerations come into play during the first stages of hiring and onboarding – drawing up a contract with your new employee. Once Bradford Jacobs’ Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) recruitment networks have located the best talent for your company, we step in with advice on this crucial element of recruitment.

General requirements apply to all contracts. These include:

  • Written contracts detailing essential elements of the job are required for all employees. In the case of foreign employees, the contract should be in a language they fully understand. If an agreement is verbal, it is equally binding legally
  • The contract includes the following: Names and addresses of employer and employee; the workplace location, role and start date of employment; duration if fixed-term or temporary and any probation provisions; holidays and holiday pay; terms of notice; salary and payment schedule; working hours and breaks; and collective agreements affecting the employment
  • All employees must be registered with the State Register for Employers and Employees
  • Employers with 10 or more employees in office, industrial or commercial establishments must post staff rules in the workplace
  • The emphasis is on permanent open-ended contracts, although fixed-term contracts are allowed within certain restrictions. Temporary employment agreements cannot exceed 15% of the total workforce

Other decisions must be taken before companies move into the ‘contract phase’, and if they intend running their own payroll. These involve:

  • Begin registration process of a private limited liability company, ‘aksjeselskap’ (AS) through the Brønnøysund Register Center
  • Open a bank account and deposit share capital – a minimum of NOK 30,000 (€2,887, US$3,266)
  • Obtain bank’s ‘deed of deposit’ after independent auditor confirms the balance in the account
  • Employers must be registered on the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities, to receive a unique organization number
  • Log necessary documents with the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises online (fee NOK 5,570, €536, US$606) or via post (fee NOK 6,797, €654, US$740)
  • Register for mandatory workers’ injury insurance and occupational pension plan
  • Register with the Tax Administration and the Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV) to remit deductions for tax and social insurance
  • The Register for Business Enterprises must be notified no later than three months after the company is founded

Employment Contracts in Norway

The employer-employee relationship in Norway is governed by the Working Environment Act, which stipulates the employer must draft a written contract to be entered into no later than one month after the start of work. Any changes to the working conditions should be written into the contract within one month after they were implemented. Verbal contracts are equally binding on employer and employee, but not advised as they are harder to enforce in the case of dispute; employers may be considered ‘at fault’ for not having provided a written contract. The main types of contracts are:

Indefinite, Open-ended, Permanent Employment Contracts: These are the favored option and remain in force until terminated by either party, according to rules on termination as set out by the Working Environment Act.

Fixed-Term Employment Contracts: Since July 2015, these contracts have been permitted for up to 12 months without the employer having to justify specific circumstances for the time limit. If the fixed-term employment stretches over three years – or in some permitted cases four years – the employee is entitled to a permanent position. If fixed-term employment lasts less than four years but contravenes the legal requirements of the Working Environment Act, the employee becomes entitled to a permanent position. Employees on fixed-term contracts have a preferential right to employment if vacancies appear in their former place of work within 12 months of their contract ending.

Probationary or Trial Periods: The legal maximum is six months and cannot be extended by the employer. In the case of sick leave during probation, the trial period can be extended by an equivalent amount of time.

Part-time, Temporary and Agency Employees: Employers cannot discriminate against these categories in relation to the rights, benefits and entitlements applying to permanent employees. Part-timers have the right to work extra hours if they wish and the employer needs extra labor.

Collective Bargaining Agreements: Collective bargaining and trade union agreements cover a significant proportion of workers in Norway, covering such areas as wages, working hours, notice periods, overtime, general working conditions and vacations. Such agreements overwrite other statutory minimums where they provide a higher level of benefits.

Agreements generally come in three levels. The Basic Agreement deals typically with the obligations of employers; the Business Sector Agreement contains provisions for employees; Special Agreements are local, company level agreements between management and shop stewards.

Employee Benefits

Happy and satisfied employees make your business thrive and lead to even better profits. However, the specific benefits for employees in Norway might not all be familiar to you yet. By using our PEO and EOR service we can provide compliant labour contracts for employees in Norway including local benefits.

When expanding your company’s presence in a new country, you need to ensure compliance both in your employment contracts and benefit guarantees. These involve social security contributions, sick leave, health insurance, and unemployment, to name a few. In Norway, benefits are guaranteed by national legislation as well as collective agreements with trade unions or workers’ councils.

What are the Employee Benefits in Norway?

Benefits and entitlements for Norwegian employees are based on a framework of acts, statutory regulations, and collective and trade union agreements. Although Norway is not a member of the European Union, the EU’s employment directives apply to Norway through its membership of the European Economic Area (EEA).

International companies hiring and onboarding employees in Norway must comply with all aspects of this legislative framework that provides safeguards and guarantees for their workforce.

Most aspects of employment law are covered by the Working Environment Act, with supplementary regulations from the Holidays Act, Employment Protection Act, Gender Equality Act, Anti-Discrimination Act, and the General Application of Collective Agreements Act.

Minimum guaranteed benefits, either from legislation or agreements, include:

  • Minimum wages
  • Paid vacations
  • Working hours
  • Termination, notice periods and severance
  • Sick leave
  • Maternity allowances and benefits

The responsibilities of foreign companies reach further than simply complying with tax, social security, and payroll regulations, however. Failure to comply with specific regulations applying to benefits and entitlements runs the risk of fines and sanctions, or in Norway even prison sentences. It is vital that employers have a firm grasp of what is guaranteed for their employees, as this will affect the employer-employee relationship.

What Compensation Laws exist in Norway?

The employer-employee relationship in Norway is based on a mix of contractual arrangements, collective agreements (CBAs) and statutes setting out minimum entitlements and compensation. Most employment areas are governed by the Working Environment Act, with specific guarantees covered by supplementary legislation. These include:

  • The Holidays Act (Ferieloven) allows for a minimum of four weeks plus one day and five weeks where companies come under a CBA. Over-60s are entitled to an extra week. Holiday pay is based on the previous calendar year’s income
  • The Employment Protection Act stipulates that all employees enjoy the same rights, although senior management and executives are generally precluded from benefits such as overtime
  • The Gender Equality Act and the Anti-Discrimination Act protect employees against discrimination on various grounds
  • The General Application of Collective Agreements Act lays down regulations relating to such arrangements

You can see more about Norway’s labor laws here: https://www.nho.no/en/english/articles/basic-labour-law/

The requirement for employers to respect employees’ rights stretches further than simply complying with tax and payroll procedures. Statutes and collective agreements apply to such as maternity allowances and benefits, holidays, sick pay and severance payments, minimum wages and working hours, for example.

Drawing up contracts is tricky enough, but in Norway it is vital for employers to be up to speed with responsibilities to their staff over benefits, compensation, and minimum requirements. Do not take the risk of paying penalties for ignoring these responsibilities.

Compensation, entitlements, and benefits include:

  • Minimum Wages:  Norway does not have a ‘national minimum wage’ as these are set at varying levels in nine industrial / commercial sectors. Categories are grouped as construction workers, electricians, hotel and catering staff, and other workers in transport and freight, maritime, agriculture, fisheries, and maintenance roles. Rates also depend on whether employees are skilled or unskilled and on their ages. Rates set in July 2021 include:
    – Skilled general construction workers per hour, NOK 220 (€21, US$24);
    – Skilled electricians per hour, NOK 221.15 (€21, US$24);
    – Hotel and catering workers over 20 years old, per hour NOK 175.47 (€17, US$19).
    Employers must ensure regulations are rigidly followed at the risk of fines or even imprisonment if the Labor Inspection Authority reports infringements to the police. Where employees are covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements (tariffavtaler) that exceed statutory minimums, these will apply.
  • Sick Leave:  Sickness benefit (sykepenger) is paid partly by employers and the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV). Individuals must be members of the National Insurance Scheme (Folketrygden) and be under 70 years of age. Leave begins from the day the employer receives the employee’s medical certificate. Employers pay sickness benefit for the first 16 days at full salary, thereafter benefit is paid by NAV, generally calculated on average income over the preceding three months.
  • Working Hours and Breaks: The Working Environment Act states working hours should not generally exceed nine over 24 hours or 40 hours over seven days. Shift workers and those who work at weekends should not exceed 36 or 38 hours over seven days depending on the category of employment. Other more beneficial arrangements can exist contractually or by collective agreements, which generally restrict hours to 37.5 per week where they apply. Such agreements must be verified by the Labor Inspection Authority. Employers must keep a record of hours worked. There must be at least one break after working for five-and-a-half hours and a total of 30 minutes’ break in eight hours work. There must be at least 11 hours continuous rest over 24 hours and 35 hours continuous rest over seven days.
  • Overtime:  The Working Environment Act permits restricted overtime when there is an exceptional need. The limits are no more than: 10 hours over seven days; 25 hours over four consecutive weeks; 200 hours over 52 weeks. Total working hours including overtime are 13 over 24 hours or 48 over seven days, although the 48-hours limit can be averaged over eight weeks. Statutory minimum overtime pay is 40% above the normal hourly rate with time off in lieu an option. Other more beneficial arrangements can exist contractually or by collective agreements but must be verified by the Labor Inspection Authority. The Working Environment Act stipulates that managerial staff and those working with high levels of independence are precluded from overtime.
  • Paid Vacations:  Norway’s Holidays Act guarantees a minimum of 21 days of leave annually, though most employers allow five weeks, which also applies where employees are covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement. Holiday pay entitlement is a percentage of salary, bonuses, and other remuneration from the preceding year. It must equal at least 10.2% of the previous year’s salary, or 12% where five weeks’ vacation applies. Over-60s are entitled to an extra week’s vacation and receive a minimum of 12.5% or 14.3% of the previous year’s total remuneration. Holiday pay is usually paid in June, before the traditional July vacation and is taxed as income. Employees taking leave in their first year of employment do not receive the holiday pay but accrue it for the following year.
  • Maternity and Parental Benefit and Leave:  Maternity, based on annual income, is capped at NOK 608,106 (€59,051, US$66,683) and calculated on the previous three months’ earnings. Benefit can be paid by either the employer or the Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV) and begins from when work stops, up to three weeks prior to the birth. There is no separate maternal leave. Parental leave is 49 weeks (15 weeks reserved for each parent) on 100% salary or 59 weeks (19 weeks for each parent) at 80% salary capped at NOK 608,106 (€59,051, US$66,683). Three weeks pre-natal and the six weeks post-natal are reserved exclusively for the mother and just one parent can receive the full parental benefit at any one time.
  • Termination, Severance, and Redundancy:  All employees and employers are subject to termination and severance legislation under the requirements of the Working Environment Act. Termination is permitted by mutual consent; at the end of a contract; dismissal by the employer without notice (if justified on specific grounds) or with notice; by the employee after giving notice. Termination is prohibited if related to trade union membership or activities, as well as maternity or parental leave or any grounds prohibited under Norway’s Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act and the Gender Equality Act. In the case of redundancies, The Labor Inspection Authority must be notified if 10 or more employees are to be dismissed within a period of 30 days. There is no statutory right to severance pay. Employees are entitled only to be paid their salary and any other contracted benefits during the notice period.
  • Notice Periods:  Notice increases to two months after five years’ continuous employment up to 10 years’ service. After 10 years, the notice period increases according to age of the employee: 50 years-plus, four months; 55 years-plus, five months; 60 years-plus six months. Probationary periods require 14 days’ notice. After this the minimum notice period is one month, as laid down by the Working Environment Act and unless the contract or a collective agreement provides for more beneficial terms.

Employer Statutory Costs in Norway

  • Social Insurance:  All Norwegian employers must contribute an equivalent percentage of their employees’ salaries into the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) which provides universal health and social care in programs regulated by the Patient Rights Act and the National Insurance Act. The NIS provides access to services run by the Labor and Welfare Administration. Employers generally contribute 14.1%, although rates may apply in areas with smaller populations.
  • Minimum Wages: Although minimum wages in Norway are not set at a ‘national’ level, employers’ statutory costs include complying with minimums at industry level. Nine sectors were covered by minimums set in July 2021. These cover construction workers, electricians, hotel and catering staff, transport and freight workers, maritime construction, agriculture, fishing enterprises and maintenance workers. Within these sectors other rates apply depending on whether the workers are skilled, unskilled and on their ages. Where employees are covered by collective agreements (tariffavtaler) that exceed statutory minimums, these higher levels apply. Employers have the responsibility of ensuring rules are rigidly followed at the risk of fines or even imprisonment if the Labor Inspection Authority reports infringements to the police.
  • Corporate Taxes: Employers are responsible for paying corporate income tax. Resident companies pay tax on their worldwide profits at 22%, with some companies in the financial sector liable for taxes at 25%.

Norway Top Talent

Finding and recruiting top talent in any overseas territory poses many challenges for companies building their international profile.

This certainly applies to the competitive employment market in Norway, one of the most prosperous nations in the world – and one of the most beautiful with fjords, mountains, lakes and the Northern Lights among the leisure options.

Bradford Jacobs’ benchmark platforms as a Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) have worldwide reach and include a total understanding of the challenging complexities of the Norwegian employment market. You can trust Bradford Jacobs to put the brightest talent in place for your company.

The Recruitment Process in Norway

Recruitment in Norway leans towards permanent employment, with fixed-term and temporary employment allowed only in certain circumstances. Part-time and temporary workers must be treated as fairly as full-time workers in terms of pay, rights and benefits with the same conditions applying to agency employees.

Opportunities are bound to center on the capital, Oslo, and other urban centers such as Bergen and Trondheim. English is widely spoken, but many companies and organizations use their national language, so learning Norwegian will open many more doors for foreign jobseekers.

The employment market is competitive, with Norway’s unemployment rate of around 4.6% among the 10 lowest in Europe. Networking, making contacts and ‘word of mouth’ play a leading role in recruitment … another reason for mastering the language. Many companies place vacancies on their own websites rather than with agencies.
Recruitment is the first stage of making your company operational and competitive in Norway. It is vital to know where to locate the finest talent to be a perfect fit for your company’s global expansion plans.

Foreign companies opening a subsidiary in order to recruit staff and then run payroll, must follow strict procedures to register and onboard employees. Procedures include:

  • Begin registration process for a private limited liability company, ‘aksjeselskap’ (AS), through the Brønnøysund Register Center
  • Complete the ‘Foundation of a private limited company’ form
  • Open a bank account and deposit share capital – a minimum of NOK 30,000 (€2,887, US$3,266) and obtain bank’s ‘deed of deposit’ after outside auditor confirms the balance in the account
  • Employers must be registered on the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities, to receive a unique organization number
  • Log necessary documents with the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises, online (fee NOK 5,570, €536, US$606) or via the post (fee NOK 6,797, €654, US$740)
  • Register for Value Added Tax (VAT) if annual turnover is expected to exceed NOK 50,000 (€4,811, US$5,433)
  • Register for mandatory workers’ injury insurance and occupational pension plan
  • Register company with the Tax Administration and the Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV) to remit deductions for tax and social insurance

Additional payroll support includes:

  • Registering the employee on the Aa Register of the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV), which logs virtually all employer-employee relationships, via the a-melding link
  • The Aa Register must include the employee’s Employment ID, type of employment, occupation code, start and end date, working hours and termination terms
  • Registering employees with the Tax Administration and Labor and Welfare Administration for remitting employees’ withheld tax and social insurance contributions
  • Creating contracts. Employment relationships should be based on written contracts as stipulated by the Working Environment Act

Legal Checks on Employees in Norway

Scope: Employers are permitted to verify information given to them by the applicant.

Criminal Record Checks: Only permitted for occupations with specific requirement to obtain a certificate of ‘good conduct’.

Education and References Checks: Permitted with the applicant’s agreement.

Credit Checks: Permitted only for high-level positions with financial responsibility and in the final stages of the recruitment process.

Personal Information: Under the Personal Data Act, checks are not permitted on areas which may be considered discriminatory, such as religious or political views, family life, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation.

Health Checks: Permitted if specifically relevant to the role.

Required: Checks that applicant has necessary permits and visas to work in Norway. Some professions, such as lawyers and accountants, require a certificate of ‘good conduct’ from applicant.

Basic Facts on Hiring in Norway

The Norwegian Employment Protection Act states that all employees have the same rights, and most employment contracts are regulated by the Working Environment Act. Companies hiring staff for expansion into Norway must comply with a framework of legislation surrounding employment. These include:

  • Written contracts detailing essential elements of the job are required for all employees. In the case of foreign employees, the contract should be in a language they fully understand. If an agreement is verbal, it is equally binding legally
  • The contract includes the following: Names and addresses of employer and employee; the workplace location, role and start date of employment; duration if fixed-term or temporary and any probation provisions; holidays and holiday pay; terms of notice; salary and payment schedule; working hours and breaks; and collective agreements affecting the employment
  • All employees must be registered with the State Register for Employers and Employees
  • Employers with 10 or more employees in office, industrial or commercial establishments must post staff rules in the workplace
  • The emphasis is on permanent open-ended contracts, although fixed-term contracts are allowed within certain restrictions. Temporary employment agreements cannot exceed 15% of the total workforce

After hiring and onboarding, employers must be aware of other considerations:

Minimum standards apply to such as sick leave, minimum wages, working hours, maternity allowances, paid vacations, termination and severance, notice periods and social insurance payments. Other legislation regulates workplace discrimination.

To hire employees, companies must follow strict procedures to set up a legal entity in Norway to run their own payroll. These include:

  • Begin registration process for a private limited liability company, ‘aksjeselskap’ (AS), through the Brønnøysund Register Center
  • Open a bank account and deposit share capital – a minimum of NOK 30,000 (€2,887, US$3,266) and obtain bank’s ‘deed of deposit’ after outside auditor confirms the balance in the account
  • Employers must be registered on the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities, to receive a unique organization number
  • Log necessary documents with the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises online, by post or personally
  • Register for Value Added Tax (VAT) if annual turnover expected to exceed NOK 50,000 (€4,811, US$5,433)
  • Register for mandatory workers’ injury insurance and occupational pension plan
  • Register company with the Tax Administration and the Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV) to remit deductions for tax and social insurance

Work Culture

To succeed in business in Norway, it is vital for both employers and employees to have a strong understanding of the business culture.

As a global PEO (Professional Employment Organization) it is our goal to be familiar and updated with the business culture in the country we work with and in. By sharing our knowledge about Norwegian work culture, we want to support your global expansion plans. Therefore, we will address all the aspects of the work culture in Norway to start your expansion well-informed.

Norway is one of the world’s most prosperous nations – while its stunning landscapes of forests, fjords, lakes, and mountains are an added bonus for foreign nationals moving there for their work. Add the visual magic of the Northern Lights and it is easy to see why Norway – both in terms of work and leisure – offers so many attractions.

Economically, Norway ranked as the 28th ‘freest’ economy in the world in 2021 and 15th out of 45 countries in the European continent. Norway was placed 32nd in the world with nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 445 billion US dollars, with predicted growth of 4.2% into 2022. Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU) but is strongly linked to the economic bloc through its membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) alongside Iceland and Liechtenstein. All EU nations are members of the EEA.

The employment market is highly competitive, with demand for highly skilled professionals in key sectors such as IT and healthcare, hospitality, engineering and tourism as well as their ‘powerhouse’ sectors of oil and petroleum, shipping, minerals and fisheries.

You have made the move and now it is time to get down to business. So here are a few tips on taking the right steps and avoiding the pitfalls!

  • Language: With a relatively small population, Norwegians are realistic about the limited number of Norwegian speakers globally. Many are multi-lingual in the business environment. Even so an interpreter is advisable if you are not fluent in Norwegian and cannot be sure your counterparts are fluent in English or the relevant language. In any case … learn some basic phrases
  • Business Meetings: Participation by everyone present is usual and consensus is valued but expect the decisions to come from the top. Norwegians are modest and polite, but can be direct and expect straightforward discussions
  • Negotiations: These will be based on an agenda; Norwegians will be well-prepared for the discussions and expect the other side to be the same
  • Punctuality: Being on time is regarded as especially important in showing respect and courtesy to the other side. The same applies to social occasions – if the invite says, ‘Dinner at 8’, be there on time
  • Greetings: Allow personal space after shaking hands with everyone present and use both first name and surname in introductions. Do not be over-effusive as Norwegians tend to regard phrases such as “very pleased to meet you” superfluous
  • Dress Code: Formal for both men and women – suits, ties for the men; dresses or trouser suits for female members of the meeting
  • Business Meals: Lunches are generally an adjunct to the business meetings, but dinners tend to be social so in the evening wait for the host to initiate any discussion about the business
  • Gift-giving: Not usual at initial meetings, due to wariness over bribery, but maybe at the conclusion of the deal
  • Be careful: Norway is part of Scandinavia, but do not assume Norwegians are anything like Danes, Swedes, or Finns

Norway’s Minimum Wage

Norway does not have a ‘national minimum wage’ as these are set at varying levels in nine industrial / commercial sectors. Categories are grouped as construction workers, electricians, hotel and catering staff, and other workers in transport and freight, maritime, agriculture, fisheries and maintenance roles. Rates also depend on whether employees are skilled or unskilled and on their ages.

Rates set in July 2021 include:

  • Skilled general construction workers per hour, NOK 220 (€21, US$24)
  • Skilled electricians per hour, NOK 221.15 (€21, US$24)
  • Hotel and catering workers over 20 years old, per hour NOK 175.47 (€17, US$19)

Employers must ensure regulations are rigidly followed at the risk of fines or even imprisonment if the Labor Inspection Authority reports infringements to the police. Where employees are covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements (tariffavtaler) that exceed statutory minimums, these will apply.

Probation Periods in Norway

The legal maximum is six months and cannot be extended by the employer. In the case of sick leave during probation, the trial period can be extended by an equivalent amount of time. A probationer requires 14 days’ notice.

Working Hours in Norway

The Working Environment Act regulates working hours, which should not generally exceed nine over 24 hours or 40 hours over seven days. The guidelines are adjusted for shift workers and those who work at weekends, not to exceed 36 or 38 hours over seven days according to the category of employment. Other more beneficial arrangements can exist contractually or by collective agreements, which generally restrict hours to 37.5 per week where they apply. Such agreements must be verified by the Labor Inspection Authority. Employers must keep a record of hours worked. There must be at least one break after working for five-and-a-half hours and a total of 30 minutes’ break in eight hours work. There must be at least 11 hours continuous rest over 24 hours and 35 hours continuous rest over seven days.

Overtime in Norway

The Working Environment Act allows time-limited overtime when there is an exceptional need. The limits are no more than: 10 hours over seven days; 25 hours over four consecutive weeks; 200 hours over 52 weeks.

Total working hours are 13 over 24 hours or 48 over seven days, although the 48-hours limit can be averaged over eight weeks. Statutory minimum overtime pay is 40% above the normal hourly rate.

Time off in lieu of overtime can be agreed. Other more beneficial arrangements can exist contractually or by collective agreements but must be verified by the Labor Inspection Authority. The Working Environment Act stipulates that managerial staff and those working with high levels of independence are precluded from overtime.

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