Permanent or temporary appointments

The general rule in the Working Enviroment Act is that employees must be employed on a permanent basis. However, subject to certain conditions and in certain situations, you can still make temporary appointments or use hired labour.

Permanent employment is the main rule

Permanent employment means that the employment does not have a predetermined end date, that the employee is ensured predictability in the form of an actual full-time equivalent, and that the rules regarding termination of employment applies. The employment contract must also include information about how much the employee is expected to work (for example by stating a percentage of full-time employment).

Overview of the opportunities for full time employment/temporary employment/hiring of labour

Type of affiliation Main deduction Legal basis
Permanent employment The general rule Working Environment Act, Section 14-9
Temporary employment Agreements concerning temporary employment may be established: Working Environment Act, Section 14-9 a-e.
- a) when the work is temporary in nature -
- b) for work in place of one or more other people (temporary cover) -
- b) for work in place of one or more other people (temporary cover) -
- d) with participants in labour market initiatives organised by NAV -
- e) with sportsmen and -women, sports coaches, referees and other managers within organised sport -
Hiring of employees from manpower companies As a general rule permissible to the same extent as temporary employment in accordance with b-e above. Working Environment Act, Section 14-12
Hiring of employees from other enterprises Permitted when the hired employee is a permanent employee of the other enterprise. Working Environment Act, Section 14-13
Use of independent consultants May interface with hiring/employment. May interface with hiring/employment. A specific assessment must be carried out. Working Environment Act, Section 14-13 and the National Insurance Act, Section 1-10

When is the work considered to be temporary in nature?

Temporary employment must be necessary, the need must be temporary, and the duration of the temporary employment must not be excessive. Both differences in the nature of the work (which deviate from the ordinary) and marked fluctuations in workload can provide grounds for temporary employment. The basis for the temporary employment must be stated in the employment contract.

Examples of cases which can provide grounds for temporary employment because the work is temporary in nature:

  • Short-term peaks in workload
  • Temporary employment pending applicants with special formal qualifications who are required for the position
  • Seasonal fluctuations

The Labour Inspection Authority on temporary employment (in Norwegian only)

Requirements for permanent positions following long-term temporary employment

Depending on the basis on which the employee was temporarily employed, he or she will be entitled to a permanent position upon appointment for more than three years. An employment relationship can be interpreted as continuous even if there are shorter interruptions between multiple temporary employment contracts. For temporary employment agreements entered into before 1 January 2024, based on the temporary nature of the work, the employee is entitled to permanent employment if the employment relationship lasts longer than four years.

The Labour Inspection Authority - how long can the duration of a temporary employment be? (in Norwegian only)

Casual workers

The use of casual workers must be based on an agreement. Casual workers are temporarily employed for individual assignments. Casual workers may only be used insofar as the need is covered by the rules concerning temporary employment. As a general rule, it is possible to use this type of agreement in order to cope with short-term peaks in workload.

Entitlement to permanent employment in the event of a breach in the regulations

In the event of a breach in the regulations concerning temporary employment, the court will normally rule that the employee is in permanent employment, if the employee so requests. The employee will then be able to claim compensation from the employer.

Discussion - Use of part-time, temporary employment and hired labour

As an employer, you must discuss the use of part-time temporary employment and the use of hired labour and compliance with the requirement for equality with your elected representatives at least once a year. The basis, scope and consequences for the working environment must all be discussed.

Disputes concerning increased working hours or preferential right of employment for part-time employees can be brought for the dispute resolution council.

The Dispute Resolution Board (in Norwegian only)

Hiring of workers

The general rule in the Working Environment Act is that employees should be permanently employed in the company they work for. Under certain conditions and in specific situations, however, it is possible to use hired labour.

Hiring labour

Contact and help: 

The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority

Open contact form