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Working in Norway

Salary in Norway: 6 things you need to know

Published: May 18 2022

What’s the average salary in Norway? Is there such a thing as a minimum wage? Here’s what to know about Norwegian wages.

When it comes to the labour market, Norway is famous for their trade unions, favourable workers’ rights, and perhaps mostly, high salaries.

Yet, there are some aspects of Norwegian wages that tend to confuse new arrivals.

“For some, it might take a little bit adjusting to get used to certain things, such as the way holiday pay works or how common and important it is to be unionised,” says Head of Negotiations at Tekna, Linn Guste-Pedersen.

Linn Guste-Pedersen
Head of Negotiations at Tekna, Linn Guste-Pedersen, is very knowledgeable on the subject of Norwegian salaries.

We asked Guste-Pedersen some frequently asked questions regarding salaries in Norway.

1. How do wages work? Is there a minimum salary in Norway?

Coming to Norway, one of the main differences you might find as an engineer or a researcher is that in general there is no minimum wage.

While minimum rates of pay have been introduced in certain areas of the labour market, such as construction, agriculture and the cleaning industry, wages are typically agreed upon between the employer and the employee as part of their written contract.

Your wages are typically given to you on a monthly basis, on the same date each month.

As your wages are paid towards your account, your employer must provide you with a pay slip that states the amount you have been paid, the amount that has been deducted for tax as well as any other additions or deductions.

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Your best bargaining chip in salary negotiations is seeing what others with your background are earning. Because we offer our members some of the country’s best banking and insurance deals, legal assistance and a lot more, it pays to join Tekna.

2. What will my annual salary be in Norway?

While it is hard to determine exactly how high your Norwegian wages will be, there are certain ways to figure this out.

A large portion of the Norwegian working population is unionised. As a member of Tekna, you get access to a salary calculator that determines the salary you should expect in Norway.

This calculation takes into consideration your position, whether you work in the public or private sector, and your level of experience

While your pay will be individually determined by your work contract, Tekna does recommend a starting salary of 600.000 NOK for recent graduates working in the private sector.

3. Am I supposed to ask for a raise?

In Norwegian workplaces, it is common – and you are even encouraged – to have yearly wage negotiations with your employer.

While some employers set up these negotiations automatically, either as a part of an annual staff appraisal, other workplaces expect you as the employee to approach your employer when you feel that a raise is due.

A wage negotiation is a formal and open conversation between you and your employer. As such it should be scheduled ahead of time to give both you and your employer a sufficient amount of time to prepare.

During negotiations, both parties are expected to be open and direct about your work performance and what expectations your employer has for you. It is natural for you to bring up which goals you are meeting and how you are developing as a part of the workplace.

4. Do you get bonuses in Norway?

Bonuses beyond your regular pay are not very common in the Norwegian labour market, but you will find that some parts of the private sector have them. It is very uncommon to see bonuses in the public sector.

5. What about collective bargaining agreements?

Some workplaces operate with collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).

These are written legal agreements between the employers and unions that represent the employees, and are usually readily available through a quick Google search. These can secure additional rights for the workers regarding wages, hours and other conditions regarding their employment.

If your workplace does not operate with CBAs, your conditions and wages will be determined in your contract of employment.

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6. How does holiday pay work?

When it comes to holiday, all workers in Norway are entitled to two things annually: 25 working days of leave and holiday pay.

It is stated in the Norwegian holiday law that your holiday pay shall be at least 10.2% (12.5% for employees over the age of 60) of the amount you earned during the previous working year.

This is where it tends to get a bit confusing.

As your holiday pay is based on the amounts you made with your current employer during the previous year, you will not receive holiday pay from a new employer during the first year of employment. However, you will still receive your 25 working days of leave.

If you have terminated your employment with a different employer in Norway, you will typically receive any unpaid holiday pay on your last day at the workplace. It is important to note that you are expected to save this money until your next holiday at your new workplace, where you will not receive any holiday pay until the following year.

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