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Working in Norway

Egenmelding: What to do if you can’t work because you’re sick/injured

Written by Karin Lee-Hansen Published: Nov. 3 2021

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball in the form of a sudden illness or injury that prevents you from being able to work. But knowing what to do when this happens can help you calm down and focus on getting better.

You wake up on Monday morning feeling terrible.
Sore throat, achy limbs, headache, the works.
You really don’t feel up to going to work today, but what comes next?
If you’re waking up and working in Norway, here’s a quick guide to what you should do when you get sick/injured:
Egenmelding – This Norwegian word, when translated directly, means ‘own note’ in English – a definition that doesn’t make any sense on its own.
A better definition that makes more sense is ‘self-certification’.
Meaning that in Norway you’re allowed to write your own egenmelding to cover up to 3 days of absence from work when you’re ill.

It is, but there are some rules to go along with this note that you should know:

  • Generally speaking, you have to have been working at your company for two months before being allowed to use this note (unless they make an exception).
  • You can only write a note when you’ll be absent from work for an entire day (not just for a few hours’ or a half day’s absence).
  • You can’t write a note if you’re already out on a partial sick leave.
  • While you can write a note for up to 3 days at a time, 4 times a year; but if you’re sick for only 1 day, you’ve used up one of the 3-day periods.
  • If you’ve used up all of your own notes, you’ll need to get a ‘doctor’s note’ from your doctor if you’re unable to work because of illness or injury.
  • You can only use this note for yourself (and not, for example, your children).

Because there’s no standard form used for egenmelding, ask at your workplace about what you should do if you find yourself in this situation. Some places have their own form for you to fill out, while others might be satisfied with a phone call.

There’s a term called presenteeism that describes the situation when a sick or injured employee continues to work – usually because they’re worried they might lose their job if they ‘call in sick’.

Yet if you’re living in Norway and feel that illness or injury is preventing you from getting up in the morning and going to work, this doesn’t have to happen to you. Just talk to your employer and follow the steps outlined above to sort out your situation while working on rising up and recovering from whatever’s laid you low.

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