Permanent or temporary appointments

The general rule in the Working Enviroment Act is that employees must be employed on a permanent basis. Permanent employment means that the employment does not have a predetermined end date, 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). However, subject to certain conditions and in certain situations, you can still make temporary appointments or use hired 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)-(f)
- 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 -
- f) on a general basis for a period of up to twelve months for up to 15% of the enterprise’s employees (+although an agreement must be established with at least one employee) -
Hiring of employees from manpower companies Permissible to the same extent as temporary employment in accordance with (a)-(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

Engagement of employees

The Working Environment Act

When is the work considered to be temporary in nature?

The regulations concerning temporary employment are strict. 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

Qualifying period following temporary employment

When an employee who is employed temporarily on a general basis (Working Environment Act, Section 14-9 first paragraph (f)) is not granted further employment, a qualifying period of twelve months will commence for you as employer. During this period, you cannot make any new appointments for similar duties.

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 or four years.

Basis for temporary employment Entitlement to permanent employment
Temporary employment as cover staff and temporary employment on a general basis Considered to be a permanent employee following temporary employment of more than three years
Temporary employment because the work is temporary in nature Considered to be a permanent employee following temporary employment of more than four years

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.

Hiring of workers

The law makes a distinction between the hiring of staff from manpower companies and the hiring of staff from companies whose aim is not to hire out staff. The hiring of staff from manpower companies is permitted to the same extent as temporary appointments, and hired workers are entitled to the same salary as if they were employed by the company. The hiring of staff from companies other than manpower companies is permitted when the hired employee is a permanent employee of the other company.

Entitlement to permanent employment in the event of a breach in the regulations concerning the hiring of workers

In the event of a breach in the regulations concerning the hiring of workers, the court will normally rule that the employee is a permanent employee of the company that hires out the employee. The hired employee will also be able to claim compensation from the hiring company.

Right of pre-emption and right for part-time employees to increase their working hours

Part-time employees have a pre-emptive right to increase their working hours in preference to you making new appointments as an employer. It is a condition that the employee is suitably qualified for the position.
Part-time employees who have regularly worked more than the agreed number of working hours during the past 12 months are normally entitled to a position corresponding to their actual working hours during this period. Disputes concerning increases in working hours or pre-emptive rights for part-time employees are resolved by the dispute resolution board.

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.

Contact and help: 

The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority

Did you find what you were looking for?

Thank you for responding.

Open contact form