As an employer, you must ensure that working hours are agreed which ensure that your employees are not subjected to excessive physical or mental strain and that their safety is ensured. The employment contract must specify the daily and weekly working hours.
Ordinary working hours
Ordinary working hours ('Working hours' means the hours during which the employee is available to the employer) must not exceed:
- 9 hours per day and
- 40 hours per week
Shorter working hours may be agreed. Many employees who have a collective agreement have agreed working hours of 37.5 hours per week. The ordinary weekly working hours are shorter for people who work shifts, rotas, overnight or on Sundays.
Calculation of average ordinary working hours
It is permissible to agree a different distribution of working hours. Agreements can be established directly between you as employer and your employee. In the case of businesses covered by a collective agreement, the agreement can be established between the employer and the employees' elected representatives. Employers can also apply for permission from the Labour Inspection Authority to calculate average working hours.
Right to flexible working hours
Employees are entitled to flexible working hours if they can be implemented without any material disadvantage for the employer. For example, an employee could agree a later working day or you could enter into an agreement which enables them to work longer during certain periods so that they can take time off in lieu at other times.
Right to reduced working hours
Employees are entitled to reduce their working hours if they have reached the age of 62 or for health, social or other compelling welfare reasons if the reduced hours can be implemented without material disadvantage for the enterprise. When an agreed period of reduced working hours ends, the employee will be entitled to return to their previous working hours.
Daily and weekly time off
Workers must have at least:
- 11 hours continuous time off/non-working time over a period of 24 hours, and
- 35 hours continuous time off over a period of 7 days. If possible, this period must include Sunday.
In the case of enterprises covered by a collective agreement, the employer and elected representatives can agree a shorter non-working period. The limits may be deviated from when work in excess of the agreed working hours is necessary in order to avoid severe operating disruption.
If the daily working hours exceed five and a half hours, the employee must have at least one break. If the daily working hours is at least eight hours, the breaks must collectively amount to at least half an hour. If an employee is not free to leave the workplace during the break or no satisfactory breakroom is available, the break must be counted as part of the employee's working hours. Such breaks must then be remunerated through salary.
Work on Sundays and public holidays
Work on Sundays (Sunday work) and public holidays (public holiday work) is not permitted unless the type of work renders it necessary. Such work must be discussed with the employees' elected representatives. Employers and their employees can enter into a written agreement concerning work on Sundays and public holidays in return for a corresponding amount of time off on other days which are public holidays or festive days according to the employee's religion. Employees must have every other Sunday off. An agreement can be made in writing to allow working up to three Sundays in a row. However, the employee must have 13 Sundays off during a 26-week period.
Work from 18.00 on the day before a Sunday or public holiday until 22.00 on the day before the next working day is considered to be Sunday work and public holiday work respectively.
The following days are considered to be public holidays:
- Christmas Day and Boxing Day
- New Year's Day
- Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday
- Ascension Day
- Whitsunday and Whit Monday
Night work is not permitted unless the type of work concerned renders it necessary. Work between 21.00 and 06.00 is considered to be night work. Before night work is commenced, the employer must discuss the need for the work with the employees' elected representatives.
If the employees work at different times, a work schedule or duty list must be prepared which shows which weeks, days and hours each individual must work. The schedule must be prepared in collaboration with the employees' elected representatives. Unless agreed otherwise in a collective agreement, the work schedule must be discussed with the elected representatives as soon as possible and by no later than two weeks before the schedule commences. The schedule must be available to the employees.
Working hours for children and adolescents
The general rule is that children under the age of 15 must not be used as labour. In the case of people under 18, working hours must be scheduled so that they are not prevented from attending school. In cases where work is permitted, there are restrictions on how long and how much people can work.
Overview of working hours
As an employer, you must have an overview which shows the number of hours that each individual employee has worked. The overview must show the number of hours worked within ordinary working hours, the number of hours of overtime and the total number of working hours. The overtime rules in the Working Environment Act's upper limits for ordinary working hours apply regardless of what working hours have been agreed in a collective agreement. Businesses with a collective agreement must be able to show both calculation of salary and overtime payments in accordance with the collective agreement, and the working hours and overtime in accordance with the Working Environment Act. The overview must be made available to the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority and the employees' elected representatives upon request.
Contact and help:
Disputes regarding working hours, flexible working hours, right to reduced working hours and exemptions from night work, overtime and additional work can be brought to the Dispute Resolution Board.