What obligations do you have as an employer?

As an employer, you have several obligations towards your employees. The key obligations in your relationship with your employees are laid down in the Working Environment Act, the National Insurance Act, the Act on obligatory occupational pension (OTP Act) and the Annual Holidays Act.

Your obligations as an employer

  • You primarily decide who you wish to employ, but there are some exceptions to your right to choose freely. Among other things, it is illegal to discriminate applicants based on gender, pregnancy, parental leave, caretaking responsibilities, ethnicity, religion, life stance, handicap, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, political view or membership in trade unions. Part time employees and employees made redundant during the past year should be given priority.
  • The general rule is that employees must be employed on a permanent basis, but in some cases, you can use temporary appointments or hire in labour.
  • If you wish to employ foreign workers, you must first check they are entitled to work in Norway.
  • All employees must have a written employment agreement containing all terms relevant to the employment. There are restrictions on the working hours that can be agreed.
  • When determining salaries, you must take account of the rules concerning minimum salaries which apply in certain sectors.
  • Most employers must set up an occupational pension scheme for their employees, and you must take out occupational insurance for all your employees.
  • As an employer, you must pay salaries, deduct tax and pay employer's National Insurance contributions. All salary and employment circumstances must be reported monthly via the a-melding.
  • As an employer, you are responsible for paying sick-pay during the first 16 calender-days of an employee's illness. NAV will then take over responsibility for this. You must also follow up employees on sick leave and keep statistics of absence due to illness.
  • As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your employees have a safe and appropriate working environment and that the regulations of the Working Environment Act and associated regulations are complied with.
  • You are obliged to notify NAV in the event of occupational accidents, injuries and occupational illnesses. In the event of accidents leading to severe injury or death, you are obligated to notify the Labour Inspection Authority and the Police immediately.
  • You are required to ensure that the rules and regulations on the use of overtime is followed.
  • As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your employees take their statutory holiday.
  • You need to be aware of the rules and regulations concerning the employees' right to privacy in the workplace. This applies to, for example, what kind of monitoring you can do of the employees, the use of personnel files and how to issue pay slips. 
  • In some cases, employees are entitled to paid or unpaid leave, e.g. in connection with training or the birth of a child.
  • You are entitled to lay off your employees in the event of a temporary shortage of incoming orders, accidents or natural events which render operational restrictions or stoppages necessary.
  • If you are forced to make any of your employees redundant because of circumstances within your business or circumstances linked to the employee themselves, it is important that you follow the correct procedure. You should note that certain groups are covered by special protection against redundancy.
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