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20 July 2020

Fixed average working hours

Arguably the most important factor that defines our work is time. Thinking about time in terms of the Labor Code, we can distinguish between time spent on performing official duties and time off from work. Of course, time spent off-work is not subjected to any ordinances or standards set by law or the Labor Code.

Sometimes work, as defined in the Norwegian Labor Code, we will call the time when the employee remains at the employer’s disposal, performs his duties at the workplace indicated by the contract concluded between the employee and the employer.

The Code also sets standards for permitted hours that can be used for work in given calculation period. The employer can operate within such defined frames when determining the amount of working hours specified in the content of the initial agreement. Also, the employer is obliged to keep record of his employees’ working time.

The general provisions do not impose on the employee the exact number of working hours – instead, the Labor Code sets upper maximum limits for the employer to abide. In practice, every working period is measured with the use of the average working time (averaged for the calculation period).

Working time arrangements

The standard working time, as set out in the Norwegian Working Environment Act, equals up to 9 hours per day and up to 40 hours per working week. However, the final working time schedule can be set on a lower or higher amounts, depending on the contract provisions and the additional arrangements signed (more on which you can read below).

The Norwegian Working Environment Act allows three types of additional contracts, based on which higher daily and weekly working time values can be set.

Agreement types and maximum working time values:

  • Special agreement with the employer (for a maximum period of 1 year):
    • 9 hours a day;
    • 48 hours a week.
  • Collective agreement with company trustees – Tillitsvalgte (the average working time limits may not apply for more than 8 weeks)
    • 10 hours a day;
    • 54 hours a week.
  • Permission from the Labor Inspectorate – Arbeidstilsynet (for 26 weeks)
    •  13 hours a day;
    • 48 hours a week, or an average of 48 hours for 8 weeks.

Overtime hours

Any hours spent at work that go beyond the average working time indicated in the current document should be considered as overtime. The employee must agree to work overtime – the employer cannot extend the work dimension only based on his own decision. The assumption is that overtime work can only occur temporarily, in situations of absolute necessity. Work beyond the limit cannot be a permanent element of the enterprise’s work pattern.

According to the Norwegian Working Environment Act, overtime work should not exceed 13 hours a day (and 48 hours a week). All values exceeding the above should be compensated on subsequent days so that the average for the accounting period is consistent with the findings.

Also, the average working time must be within 10 hours per week, 25 hours for four consecutive weeks, and 200 hours for 52 weeks.

Agreement types and maximum overtime values:

  • Collective agreement with company trustees – Tillitsvalgte (the average working time limits may not apply for more than 8 weeks):
    • 15 hours a week;
    • 40 hours for 4 consecutive weeks;
    • 300 hours for 52 weeks.
  • Permission from the Labor Inspectorate – Arbeidstilsynet (for 26 weeks):
    • 20 hours a week;
    • 200 hours for 26 weeks.

If you work overtime, you are entitled to an overtime supplement, a minimum of 40% of the agreed hourly rate. Also, the employer may offer a financial allowance for overtime work. Regardless of the additional arrangements regarding flexibility in the employee’s working hours, in all circumstances, overtime work shall be paid for overtime (40% minimum).

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