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Parental leave in Norway? What you should know

Published: Apr. 27 2022

How long will you be entitled to parental benefits and how do you apply? Here is what you need to know about paternity and maternity leave.

The intent of parental benefits is to provide you with an income while you are on parental leave, and home with your child or children.

In Norway, parental leave is divided into three parts – one part for the mother, one part for the partner and a part that can freely be divided between both parents.

«You can choose between 49 or 59 weeks of leave, with full pay or 80 per cent pay. It may be wise to decide how to divide your parental leave in advance before the child arrives, so that you both know when you will be taking time off work», says Tekna’s legal advisor, Anette Moldrem.

«This should also be discussed with your employer.»

We asked Moldrem some of the most frequently asked questions related to parental leave in Norway: 

How do I apply for parental leave and benefits?

If you have a permanent position, your employer will apply for parental leave on your behalf. It is common to apply for parental benefits 4–6 weeks before your due date. If you have received a date for a caesarean section, you can use this date as the basis for your application.

Who is entitled to parental benefits?

You are entitled to parental benefits if you have been employed with a pensionable income for at least six out of the last ten months prior to the start of your parental leave. Pensionable income includes work allowance benefits, unemployment benefits, care benefits and sickness benefits. You must also reside in Norway and be a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.

If you have not had an income during this period you may apply for a lump sum grant.

How long is the parental leave?

You can choose whether to receive parental benefits for 49 weeks with full pay or 59 weeks with 80 per cent pay. The choice you make will apply to both parents and it cannot be changed once the leave period has begun. Most parents will earn more money by taking 49 weeks with full pay, but many choose to have more time with their child and therefore choose 59 weeks. You also have the right to take an additional year of unpaid leave in connection with each birth.

How long is the maternity leave?

A mother must take three weeks of the parental leave before her due date in addition to the first six weeks after childbirth. The maternal quota is a total of 15 weeks, including the first six weeks. If the mother is too ill to care for her child, her partner can apply to assume primary care for the child during the weeks reserved for the mother.

How much leave can a partner take?

The so-called paternal quota is also 15 weeks. If the partner does not take this leave period it will be revoked. If the partner is too ill to care for the child the mother can apply to take over the paternal quota.

What about the shared period?

The shared period of leave can be freely divided between the parents. This consists of 16 or 26 weeks, depending on whether you have chosen 80 or 100 per cent pay. The mother must be working when her partner takes leave during this shared period.

Is a partner entitled to parental leave immediately after childbirth?

Partners are entitled to two weeks of parental leave in connection with childbirth, in addition to the paternal quota. There is no legally mandated right to be paid during these two weeks but many employers will pay a regular salary during this period. You may also be entitled to paid leave through a collective agreement. Check with your employer to learn what rules apply to you.

Can both parents receive parental benefits at the same time?

A mother and her partner can only receive a maximum of 150 per cent parental benefits at the same time. This means, for instance, that a mother can work 50 per cent of a full-time job and receive 50 per cent parental benefits, while her partner receives the full (100 per cent) paternal quota. A mother may also take her holiday period while her partner has paternal leave.

What is graded parental leave?

You can work and receive parental benefits at the same time through partial leave if you apply for this. For instance, you can work 40 per cent of a full-time job and receive 60 per cent of parental benefits at the same time.

What happens if you take paid holiday during your parental leave?

You have the opportunity to apply to postpone your parental benefits, which would allow you to take paid holiday during the scheduled holiday period and re-start the parental benefit period when the holiday is over.

Can you travel abroad during parental leave?

If you plan to stay abroad while receiving parental benefits you must first contact NAV. NAV or your employer will let you know what you need to do.

What happens if you or your partner need to take long-term sick leave?

If one of the child’s parents is too ill to care for the child, the other parent can apply to take over the period of leave. The parent who is ill can also apply to postpone the period of parental leave.

What if you are a single parent?

If you are a single parent caring for a child on your own and are entitled to parental benefits, you will receive the entire period of parental leave including the quota for the other parent.

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