FTC regulated: Yes

Remarks

Art. 14-9 (1) WEA states the following:
An employee shall be appointed permanently. Temporary employment may nevertheless be agreed upon:
a) when the work is of a temporary nature
b) for work as a temporary replacement for another person or persons,
c) for work as a trainee,
d) for participants in labour market schemes under the auspices of or in cooperation with the Labour and Welfare Service,
e) for athletes, coaches, referees and other leaders within organised sports"
f) for a maximum period of twelve months. Such agreements may apply to a maximum of 15 per cent of the employees of the undertaking, rounded off upwards, but temporary appointment may be agreed upon with at least one employee.

Valid reasons for FTC use: no limitation

Remarks

According to Art. 14-9 (f) WEA, employees can be employed under fixed-term contracts with a duration of up to 12 months without providing a valid reason, if it is ensured that not more than 15 % of the total number of employees in the enterprise (or not more than 1 employee in enterprises with less than 14 employees) are covered by such FTCs. In case a FTC expires and is not renewed, the employer is however prohibited to employ a different employee under a FTC for the same position during the following 12 months.

Furthermore, Art. 14-9 (a)-(e) WEA contains a list of valid reasons for which the use of fixed term contracts is also permitted: These allow FTCs if the work is of a temporary nature or if the contract is concluded for the temporary replacement of another employee, with a trainee, with participants in labour market schemes under the auspices of or in cooperation with the Labour and Welfare Service or with athletes, trainers, referees and other leaders within organised sports.

Maximum number of successive FTCs: no limitation

Maximum cumulative duration of successive FTCs: 36months

Remarks

Art 14-9 (7) WEA reads as follows:
"(7) Employees who have been temporarily employed for more than four consecutive years pursuant to the second paragraph (a) or for more than three years pursuant to the second paragraph (b) and (f) shall be deemed to be permanently employed so that the provisions concerning termination of employment relationships shall apply. The same applies to employees who have been continuously employed in a temporary post for more than three years pursuant to the second paragraph (a), (b) or (f) or a combination of two or more of the conditions stated respectively in (a), (b) and (f). When calculating the length of consecutive employment, deductions shall not be made for the employee's absence." (this is applicable not merely to absence on grounds of sickness or injury, but also to forms of leave.)

Maximum probationary (trial) period (in months): 6 months

Remarks

Art. 15-6 (3) of the Working Environment Act sets out the trial period may be agreed for up to 6 months. However, this may be extended in two cases:
1. If an employee has been absent from work during the trial period, the employer may extend the agreed trial period by a period corresponding to the period of absence. Such extension may only take place when the employee has been informed of this possibility in writing at the time of his appointment and when the employer has informed the employee of the extension in writing prior to expiry of the trial period. The right to extend the trial period shall not apply to absences caused by the employer.
2. The Ministry may issue regulations permitting agreement on a trial period longer than six months in the case of certain groups of employees (Art. 15-6 (4) and Art. 15-6(5) of the WEA).

During the probationary period, employee can only be dismissed on the grounds of the employee's lack of suitability for the work, or lack of proficiency or reliability (Art. 15-6(1) WEA). In the case of termination of employment under a trial period a 14 days' notice is required (art. 15-3(7) WEA).

Excluded from protection against dismissal: No

Remarks

Art. 15-6(1) WEA reads as follows:
"If an employee engaged by written contract for a given trial period is dismissed, such dismissal must be on the grounds of the employee's lack of suitability for the work, or lack of proficiency or reliability."
In the case of termination of employment under a trial period a 14 days' notice is required (art. 15-3(7) of the Working Environment Act).

Obligation to provide reasons to the employee: Yes

Remarks

According to Art. 15-4 (3), the employer is required to state the reasons for the dismissal, only upon request of the employee in writing.

Valid grounds (justified dismissal): any fair reasons

Remarks

Sec. 15-7 of the Working Environment Act reads as follows:
(1) Employees may not be dismissed unless this is objectively justified on the basis of circumstances relating to the undertaking, the employer or the employee.
(2) Dismissal due to curtailed operations or rationalisation measures is not objectively justified if the employer has other suitable work in the undertaking to offer the employee. When deciding whether a dismissal is objectively justified by curtailed operations or rationalisation measures, the needs of the undertaking shall be weighed against the disadvantage caused by the dismissal for the individual employee.
(3) Dismissal owing to an employer's actual or planned contracting out of the undertakings ordinary operations to a third party is not objectively justified unless it is absolutely essential in order to maintain the continued operation of the undertaking.

Prohibited grounds: pregnancy, temporary work injury or illness, race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, nationality/national origin, age, disability, performing military or civil service, parental leave, whistle blowing, adoption leave, ethnic origin

Remarks

See Chapters 2 and 5 of the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act:

Section 6.Prohibition against discrimination
"Discrimination on the basis of gender, pregnancy, leave in connection with childbirth or adoption, care responsibilities, ethnicity, religion, belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age or combinations of these factors is prohibited. «Ethnicity» includes national origin, descent, skin colour and language.
The prohibition includes discrimination on the basis of actual, assumed, former or future factors specified in the first paragraph.
The prohibition also applies if a person is discriminated against on the basis of his or her connection with another person, when such discrimination is based on factors specified in the first paragraph.
«Discrimination» means direct or indirect differential treatment pursuant to sections 7 and 8 that is not lawful pursuant to sections 9, 10 or 11."

Section 29.Prohibition against discrimination in employment relationships, etc.
The prohibitions in chapter 2 apply to all aspects of an employment relationship. This includes the following
(...) e) cessation.
The first paragraph applies correspondingly to employers' selection and treatment of self-employed persons and hired workers."

On Whistleblowers, Section 2 A-1 WEA provides that "(1) An employee has a right to notify censurable conditions at the employer's undertaking. Workers hired from temporary-work agencies also have a right to notify censurable conditions at the hirer's undertaking.
(...)
Section 2 A-2. WEA provides that "(1) Retaliation against an employee who notifies pursuant to section 2 A-1 is prohibited. As regards workers hired from temporary-work agencies, the prohibition shall apply to both employers and hirers. (...) (3) Anyone who has been subjected to retaliation in breach of the first or second paragraph may claim compensation without regard to the fault of the employer or hirer. The compensation shall be fixed at the amount the court deems reasonable in view of the circumstances of the parties and other facts of the case. Compensation for financial loss may be claimed pursuant to the normal rules."

Workers enjoying special protection: pregnant women and/or women on maternity leave, workers with family responsibilities

Remarks

No specific protection against dismissal other than the prohibition of discriminatory dismissal in respect of employees performing military service, employees temporarily unable to work, and pregnant employees (see above). This means that the employer can dismiss those employees provided that it is justified on other grounds (e.g. in the case of collective redundancies). However, the WEA establishes legal presumption that the dismissals are based on prohibited grounds if they happen during a certain period unless other grounds are shown to be highly probable.

Employees on maternity and parental leave enjoy protection in the sense that they cannot be given notice of dismissal (on any grounds) that becomes effective during the period of absence provided that the employer is aware that the absence is for such a reason.
If the employee is lawfully dismissed during this period, the notice will be valid but the period must be extended accordingly (art. 15-9 WEA).

Notification to the worker to be dismissed: written

Remarks

Art. 15-4(1) WEA.

Notice period:

Remarks

Art. 15-3 WEA states that unless otherwise stipulated in collective agreement, the notice period shall be one month.
Before notice has been given, an agreement on a shorter period of notice may only be concluded between the employer and the employee's elected representatives at undertakings bound by a collective pay agreement. Furthermore, shorter notice periods may be provided for in the regulations issued by the Ministry for participants in labour market schemes.

The same article further provides for the following notice periods:

*if the employee has been employed in the same undertaking for at least five consecutive years: at least two months' notice;
* if the employee has been employed in the same undertaking for at least ten consecutive years: at least three months' notice;
*if the employee has been employed in the same undertaking for more than ten consecutive years:
a) at least four months if the employee is 50 years old,
b) at least five months if the employee is above 55 years old,
c) at least 6 months if the employee is above 60 years old.

tenure ≥ 6 months:

  • All: 1 months.

tenure ≥ 9 months:

  • All: 1 months.

tenure ≥ 2 years:

  • All: 1 months.

tenure ≥ 4 years:

  • All: 1 months.

tenure ≥ 5 years:

  • All: 2 months.

tenure ≥ 10 years:

  • employee < 50 years old: 3 months.
  • employees ≥ 50 years old: 4 months.
  • employees ≥ 55 years old: 5 months.
  • employees ≥ 60 years old: 6 months.

tenure ≥ 20 years:

  • employee < 50 years old: 3 months.
  • employees ≥ 50 years old: 4 months.
  • employees ≥ 55 years old: 5 months.
  • employees ≥ 60 years old: 6 months.

Pay in lieu of notice: No

Remarks

However, Art. 15-5(1) WEA states that if the notice is invalid, the employee may claim compensation.

Notification to the public administration: No

Remarks

Except for planned collective dismissals (see below).

Notification to workers' representatives: Yes

Remarks

Art. 15-1 WEA states that prior to the dismissal with notice the employer shall, to the extent that it is practically possible, discuss the matter with the employee and the employees representatives, unless the employee opposes such consultations.
As a result of an amendment to art. 15-1 introduced in 2009 by Act n°39 of 19 June 2009 (in force since January 1st, 2010), art. 15-1 specifies that "the discussions must concern both the grounds for dismissal and any selection between two or more employees regarding who is to be dismissed."

Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

Approval by workers' representatives: No

Definition of collective dismissal (number of employees concerned): At least 10 employees within a period of 30 days.

Remarks

Art. 15(2) 1 WEA: "collective redundancies" shall mean
notice of dismissal given to at least 10 employees within period of 30 days without being warranted by reasons related to the individual employees. Other forms of termination of contracts of employment that are not warranted by reasons related to the individual employee shall be included in the calculation, provided that at least five persons are made redundant.

Prior consultations with trade unions (workers' representatives): Yes

Remarks

Art. 15-2 (1) WEA: mandatory consultation with workers' representatives with a view to reaching an agreement to avoid collective redundancies or to reduce the number of persons made redundant.
Employers must provide the employees' elected representatives with all relevant information, including written notification concerning:
a) the grounds for any redundancies,
b) the number of employees who may be made redundant,
c) the categories of workers to which they belong,
d) the number of employees normally employed,
e) the groups of employees normally employed,
f) the period during which such redundancies may be effected,
g) proposed criteria for selection of those who may be made redundant,
h) proposed criteria for calculation of extraordinary severance pay, if applicable.
Such notification shall be given at the earliest opportunity and, at the latest, at the same time as the employer calls a consultation meeting.
The employer shall be obliged to enter into consultations even if the projected redundancies are caused by someone other than the employer who has superior authority over the employer, such as the management of a group of companies.

Notification to the public administration: Yes

Remarks

- Art 8 of the Labour Market Act (No. 76 of 2004) (Lov om arbeidsmarkedstjenester (arbeidsmarkedsloven): "An employer contemplating collective redundancies shall as soon as possible or, at latest at the time the employer calls for discussions, notify the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration" [See also art. 15-2(3) WEA].
- Collective redundancies shall not come into effect earlier than 30 days after the Labour and Welfare Service has been notified (art. 15-2(5) WEA).

Notification to workers' representatives: Yes

Remarks

Art. 15-2(2) WEA:
Employers must provide the employees' elected representatives with all relevant information, including written notification concerning:
a) the grounds for any redundancies,
b) the number of employees who may be made redundant,
c) the categories of workers to which they belong,
d) the number of employees normally employed,
e) the groups of employees normally employed,
f) the period during which such redundancies may be effected,
g) proposed criteria for selection of those who may be made redundant,
h) proposed criteria for calculation of extraordinary severance pay, if applicable.
Such notification shall be given at the earliest opportunity and, at the latest, at the same time as the employer calls a consultation meeting.

Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

Remarks

However, collective redundancies shall not come into effect earlier than 30 days after the Labour and Welfare Service has been notified (art. 15-2(5) WEA).

Approval by workers' representatives: No

Priority rules for collective dismissals (social considerations, age, job tenure): No

Remarks

However, Art. 15-2(3) WEA states that the employer is obliged to give the employees' elected representatives written notification concerning criteria for selection of those who may be made redundant.

Employer's obligation to consider alternatives to dismissal (transfers, retraining...): Yes

Remarks

Art. 15-2(2) WEA provides for madatory consultations with a view to reaching an agreement to avoid collective redundancies or to reduce the number of persons made redundant. If the employer is considering closing down its activities or an independent part of them and this will involve collective redundancies, the possibility of further operations shall be discussed, including the possibility of the activities being taken over by the employees.
- If redundancies cannot be avoided, efforts shall be made to mitigate their adverse effects. The consultations shall cover possible social welfare measures aimed, inter alia, at providing support for redeploying or retraining workers made redundant. The employees' representatives shall have the right to receive expert assistance.

Priority rules for re-employment: Yes

Remarks

Art. 14-2 WEA: An employee who has been dismissed owing to circumstances relating to the undertaking shall have a preferential right to a new appointment at the same undertaking unless the vacant post is one for which the employee is not qualified.
- The preferential right shall also apply to an employee who is temporarily engaged and who, owing to circumstances relating to the undertaking, is not offered continued employment. This does not however apply to employees engaged as temporary replacements. The preferential right also applies to employees who have accepted an offer of reduced employment instead of dismissal.
- Employees enjoy such right provided that they have been employed by the undertaking for a total of at least 12 months during the previous two years.
- This right applies from the date on which notice is given and for one year after expiry of the period of notice.
- If two or more persons have a preferential claim to a post, the employer is obliged to follow the same rules for selection as apply in the event of dismissal.

Severance pay:

Remarks

There are no statutory provisions on severance or redundancy payment. These can be included in collective agreements.

In addition, redundancy pay may be negotiated by the employer and the workers' representatives during the consultation and information process preceding collective redundancies. Art. 15-2(3)(h) WEA states that the employer must specify in written the criteria for calculation of extraordinary severance pay, if applicable.

tenure ≥ 6 months: 0 months

tenure ≥ 9 months: 0 months

tenure ≥ 1 year: 0 months

tenure ≥ 4 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 5 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 10 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 20 years: 0 months

Redundancy payment:

Remarks

There are no statutory provisions on severance or redundancy payment. These can be included in collective agreements.

In addition, redundancy pay may be negotiated by the employer and the workers' representatives during the consultation and information process preceding collective redundancies. Art. 15-2(3)(h) WEA states that the employer must specify in written the criteria for calculation of extraordinary severance pay, if applicable.

tenure ≥ 6 months: 0 months

tenure ≥ 9 months: 0 months

tenure ≥ 1 year: 0 months

tenure ≥ 2 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 4 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 5 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 10 years: 0 months

tenure ≥ 20 years: 0 months

Notes / Remarks

Notes

There are no statutory provisions on severance or redundancy payment. These can be included in collective agreements.

In addition, redundancy pay may be negotiated by the employer and the workers' representatives during the consultation and information process preceding collective redundancies.

Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court: Yes

Remarks

Art. 15-12(2) WEA states that employees may claim compensation if the dismissal is effected in violation of the provisions on protection against certain types of dismissal (including dismissal during the probationary period, unfair dismissal, dismissal in the event of sickness, dismissal during pregnancy .... (art. 15-6 to 15-11 WEA).
Compensation shall be fixed at the amount the court deems reasonable in view of the financial loss, circumstances relating to the employer and employee and other facts of the case.

Compensation for unfair dismissal - Are there legal limits?:

No

Reinstatement available: Yes

Remarks

-In Norway, employee may claim that the dismissal is invalid and request that the employment relationship continues. Such shall be initiated within or 8 weeks from the end of the negotiations between the employer and employee unlike compensation claims for which the timeframe is 6 months (art.17-4(1) WEA).

-When claimed by the employee, a notice of termination may be declared invalid if it is not based on objective grounds or in violation of the provisions on the protection against dismissal in certain cases (pregnancy, sickness, ....).
In the case of a dispute concerning the validity of a notice of termination, the employment may remain in force until the final settlement of the dispute.
In special cases, if so demanded by the employer, the court may decide that the employment shall be terminated if it finds it clearly unreasonable that employment should continue (art. 15-12 WEA).

- According to OECD table on Employment Protection Legislation in Norway (2008), reinstatement orders are fairly frequent in practice.

Preliminary mandatory conciliation: No

Remarks

In Norway, most civil disputes are considered initially by the Conciliation Boards (forliksrådet). However, according to Art. 17-1 (3) WEA, the Conciliation Boards do not hear individual complaints related to unlawful dismissals and other claims mentioned in Art. 17-3 WEA. These cases are to be brought before the district court directly. [See also Ch. 6, Art 6-2 (f) of the Mediation and Civil Proceedings Act (No. 28 of 2012) ( Lov om mekling og rettergang i sivile tvister (tvisteloven).]

It is worth noting that according to art. 17-3 WEA, employees claiming that a dismissal with notice or summary dismissal is unlawful, or that it is a breach of the provisions of this Act concerning preferential rights may demand negotiations with the employer within 2 weeks from the date of the dismissal or the date the employer rejected a claim from an employee concerning preferential right to a new post.
The employer has an obligation to ensure that a meeting for negotiations is held as early as possible and, at the latest, within two weeks of receiving the request.
The negotiations must be completed not later than two weeks after the date of the first negotiation meeting unless the parties agree to continue the negotiations.

Competent court(s) / tribunal(s): ordinary courts

Remarks

- Individual disputes (for instance dismissal and termination of employment) are handled by ordinary courts (alminnelige domstoler) according to Art 17-1 WEA, the Mediation and Civil Proceedings Act (No. 28 of 2012) and the Courts of Justice Act (No. 5 of 1915).

- According to art. 17-4 WEA, the time period for claiming an unfair dismissal is eight weeks from conclusion of the negotiation between the parties or from the date of the dismissal if no negotiations took place).
- If an employee claims compensation only, the time limit shall be six months. In individual cases, the parties may agree
upon a longer time limit for initiating legal proceedings. If the dismissal does not meet the formal statutory requirements with regard to notice of dismissal, there is no time limit for such claims.

- In Norway, the National Labour Court's jurisdiction is essentially, confined to collective disputes of rights -- not to individual disputes.
There are however, two exceptions:
1)Individual workers (members of trade unions) and employers are liable in damages for breach of a collective agreement or of the peace obligation. Claims for indemnification in such cases lie within the Labour Court's jurisdiction (Sections 9 and 10 of the Labour Disputes Act);
2)In addition, in a case concerning a collective agreement, the Labour Court may give a decision on individual claims being contingent on the decision given on the collective agreement issue at hand. Solely provided that this can be done without it being necessary to resolve further questions on evidence or legal problems in order to dispose of the individual claims. (Section 34 of the Labour Disputes Act (lov om arbeidstvister (arbeidstvistloven) )

Existing arbitration: Yes

Remarks

- In Norway, parties may agree to have the dispute settled by arbitration. This is regulated by the Arbitration Act of 2004 (last updated 2017). Section 10 of the Arbitration Act, provides that "the parties may agree to submit to arbitration disputes that have arisen and all or certain disputes that may arise between them in respect of a defined legal relationship.(...)"

- In addition, in respect of the chief executive of the undertaking, Art. 15-16 WEA provides that "the employer may enter into a written agreement with the chief executive of the undertaking to the effect that disputes in connection with termination of the employment relationship shall be settled by means of arbitration".