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Norway 4 min

Employee benefits in Norway: All you need to know

Written by
Bruce Gilbert

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With the global talent marketplace opening up more than ever before, growth-focused companies have an enticing opportunity to find outstanding new team members from all corners of the world. 

Norway provides one of these far-flung corners of the world. The Scandinavian powerhouse of skilled professionals is driving record levels of foreign direct investment, and a booming economy is picking up pace.

If you’re looking to hire employees in Norway, it’s important to understand how benefits factor into the employment equation so you can stay compliant, attract the best Norwegian talent, and retain them in the long term.

In this article, we’ll break down the most important and unique considerations for providing employee benefits for Norwegian employees, touching on:

  • Who is entitled to benefits in Norway
  • The mandatory benefits you’re required to offer in Norway
  • Additional benefits and perks that’ll help your company stand out from the crowd
  • How to set up and manage benefits for your Norwegian workforce, and
  • How to get started hiring the best team across the world

Who is entitled to benefits in Norway?

Under Norwegian labor law, workers are split into two major categories, namely:

  1. Employees, and
  2. Independent contractors

Most Norwegian regulations related to benefits and entitlements are only applicable to full-time employees, and independent contractors typically only qualify for whatever entitlements are stipulated in their employment contracts.

However, that shouldn’t prevent you from developing an equitable global benefits package for contractors as well (more on this in our guide to offering benefits to international contractors).

Statutory and common employee benefits in Norway

With 75% of their population employed, Norway also ranks as the second-happiest workforce in the world, so the competition for talent in Norway can be intense.

If you’re looking to expand to Norway, you’ll need to offer more than the bare minimum to attract and retain the best talent the Land of the Midnight Sun has to offer.

Here’s a breakdown of the mandatory employee benefits you’ll be required to provide to your Norwegian labor force based on local employment legislation.

Leave entitlements in Norway

According to the Norwegian Holidays Act, employees are entitled to at least 25 working days off annually, or four weeks and a day off, since Saturdays are classified as working days. Employees receive vacation benefits equivalent to 10.2% of their normal wages from the preceding year.

In practice, most Norwegian employers guarantee employees at least five weeks off, equivalent to 30 days off per year. 

This is a common employee benefit that is offered above statutory obligations, and companies looking to hire local talent will be well served by factoring this into employment contracts.

Additionally, employees who take up to 30 days off a year earn a prorated vacation pay equivalent to 12% of their normal remuneration from the preceding year.

Maternity and paternity leave

Female employees are entitled to nine weeks of paid maternity leave, starting three weeks before delivery and lasting until six weeks postpartum.

Fathers are entitled to two weeks of unpaid paternity leave following a partner’s delivery.

In addition to maternity and paternity leave, both parents are entitled to 48 weeks of paid parental leave with benefits paid out by NVA, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration.

In addition to basic parental leave, each partner can take up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave to care for each of their children.

Pension plans and retirement contributions

Employers can expect to pay up to 14% of their employee’s gross pay into a mandatory social security fund that covers sick pay, disability pensions, retirement pensions, unemployment benefits, occupational injury benefits, and some other provisions.

Minimum wage in Norway

Similar to its Scandinavian neighbors, Norway has not had a mandatory minimum wage for decades. Wages are negotiated via collective bargaining and to a lesser degree by individual agreement upon employment.

Overtime

Normal working hours in Norway are limited to nine hours per day and 40 hours weekly. When required to work overtime, extra hours must not exceed:

  • 10 hours per seven days
  • 25 hours per four consecutive weeks
  • 200 hours per 52 weeks

Employees can either receive time off (hour-for-hour) or at least a 40% premium for overtime work. 

Insurances

Norway’s mandatory social security scheme covers every employee and provides universal disability insurance, unemployment benefits, and health insurance for all citizens and residents.

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Supplemental benefits to consider for Norwegian employees

With the tenth-highest employment rate, the world’s second-happiest workforce, and consistently high rankings performance on the human development index, Norwegian employees are used to a high standard of living and quality benefits as part of a normal career.

That means if you’re looking to attract the best brains Norway can offer, you’ll need to do more than just meet your minimum statutory requirements — the right benefits can make working with you a more attractive option in one of the world’s most competitive labor markets.

Here are some of the additional benefits you can leverage to increase your chances of hiring the best talent Norway has to offer.

Private and supplemental health insurance

Norwegian employees enjoy universal healthcare coverage and only have to pay a fraction of costs out of pocket. As a result, private healthcare in Norway is quite limited.

Supplementary private health insurance is by no means an expected benefit for employees looking for a job change, so you might find more value in offering different incentives rather than sticking with a standard global plan.

Additional paid time off and flexible leave

In addition to the generous leave entitlements offered under Norwegian employment law, a flexible leave policy will make your company more appealing for employees looking to achieve a better work-life balance.

As we explain in our soft benefits guide, remote workers — Norwegians included —  are growing to expect flexible working hours even though this type of perk is not statutory. Some global employers also offer additional health benefits like life insurance, dental insurance, or a therapy allowance. More common provisions like gym and health club memberships (genuinely valued in the cold and dark winter months) might also give you an edge in a global labor market where every business can hire anyone across the world.

You need to develop a strategy that’ll help you offer competitive international benefits to attract top talent.

If you’re a smaller business looking to delight your global workforce without breaking the bank, our small business benefits guide will help you explore cost-effective alternatives that will still appeal to remote employees.

link to [Webinar Recording] Managing a global benefits plan
2 MIN

[Webinar Recording] Managing a global benefits plan

In this one-hour webinar, you’ll get a crash course on all things global benefits, as well as a lively Q&A with real questions from business owners hiring around the world.

Why an EOR can help you scale global hiring

Whether you’re hiring a software engineer from Sweden, a customer support specialist from New Zealand, or a tax accountant from Canada, you need to understand how benefits work in each local market to stay compliant and attract the best talent.

An employer of record (EOR) provides a fast, inexpensive, and secure alternative to partnering with a different provider in each country you hire. 

Setting up a fully-owned local legal entity in each new country and hiring local HR experts to manage hiring, onboarding, and compliance is even more of a prohibitive challenge for all but the largest of companies.

A global employment partner like Remote can automate all the time-consuming manual tasks involved with hiring international employees. More importantly, the best EOR partners should be able to manage the complicated compliance requirements involved with your cross-border employment relationships. 

And that’s why we built Remote. By partnering with Remote as your global employer of record, you can scale your team across borders without worrying about any of the headaches. You don’t have to handle the complicated aspects of international hiring. Remote steps up to take on the following challenges and more:

  • Eliminate paperwork and manual HR tasks
  • Manage contracts and onboarding requirements 
  • Collect all of your employment data and documentation into one simple hub
  • Handle terminations and severance requirements
  • All of this while keeping you compliant with all relevant employment laws

When should you use an employer of record?

An EOR can help you streamline global hiring even before you make your first offer. Remote’s EOR service provides you with the service of dedicated local employment experts to offer the insight you need to create a competitive benefits package in Sweden as well as so many other global markets (browse our Country Explorer for more details). The partnership will also give you the foundation to develop compliant employment contracts and HR processes at scale. 

We’ve previously dedicated an entire guide to when should you use an employer of record, but there are a few critical trigger areas where an EOR can dramatically minimize your risk:

  • Constructing a compliant employment contract for a candidate in a new country of operation
  • Creating a global benefits package to suit your company and attract new hires
  • Advising on the classification of employees and contractors based on specific local employment legislation
  • Terminating an employee in compliance with local employment regulations, and
  • Protecting any IP & patents produced by your remote employees

An employer of record like Remote manages the complicated parts of international employment. Learn more about how Remote simplifies international hiring so you can start hiring international talent to power your business.

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