During spring season there are many public holidays in Norway and many of these fall on days that normally are work days. Most employees have these days off, if they are not in a scheduled rotation scheme, in a duty scheme, in the restaurant business or similar. However not all employees have a right to salary on these days - if they are not working.
In 2021 we have the following public holidays in Norway:
- Friday January 1st - New Year's Day
- Sunday March 28th - Palm Sunday
- Thursday April 1st - Maundy Thursday
- Friday April 2nd - Good Friday
- Sunday April 4th - Easter Sunday
- Monday April 5th- Easter Monday
- Saturday May 1st- Labour Day
- Thursday May 13th- Ascension Day
- Monday May 17th- Constitution Day
- Sunday May 23th- Whit Sunday
- Monday May 24th- Whit Monday
- Saturday December 25th- Christmas Day
- Sunday December 26th- Boxing Day
Employees with monthly salary
Employees with monthly salary or yearly salary divided by 12, have the right to the same monthly pay every month. In other words, they are entitled to salary on public holidays even if they are not working. They also receive the same salary in a month with 28 days as in a month with 30 or 31 days.
The following paragraphs don't apply to employees with monthly salary.
1st of May and 17th of May
The public holidays, 1st of May (labour day) and 17th of May (Constitution Day), are regulated in the Public Holiday Act of 147-04-26 no 1.
Employees who are not working on the 1st and 17th of May have a right to salary on these two public holidays as long as they do not fall on a Sunday or on the same day as other public holidays.
For the employee to have a right to salary he or she must have been employed for at least 30 days. Alternatively, he or she must have been employed prior to 1st or 17th of May and continue the employment for at least 30 days going forward. To have a right to salary, the public holiday must normally be a work day for the employee. If May 17 falls on a Wednesday and this normally is a day off for the employee, there is of course no right to pay.
Employees that must work on May 1st or 17th are entitled to ordinary salary + 50%.
Other public holidays
For other public holidays besides May 1st and 17th there is no legal obligation to pay salary if the employee has the day off, even if the business keeps closed that day. When it comes to the right to have the day off, the public holidays are considered the same as Sundays. According to the Norwegian Working Environment Act section 10-10, the employee should not work between 18:00 the day before the public holiday and 22:00 the evening before the next work day.
The right to salary on public holidays depends on the agreement between the employer and the employee. Many collective agreements give the employee a right to salary on public holidays. If there is no collective agreement the employee manual, individual employment contract or common practice in the business should describe the right to salary on public holidays.
If the employee already has the day off according to their normal work schedule, he or she has no right to salary when the day off falls on a public holiday.
Employees that are paid by the hour without an agreement will receive less pay in months with many public holidays than employees with monthly pay.
In some collective agreements the employee must have been employed for 30 days prior to the public holiday or he or she must be employed for 30 days onward.
If public holidays are not mentioned in the employment contract, the employee will not have a right to salary on other public holidays than 1st and 17th of May.
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Working on a public holiday
Employees working on a public holiday will have a right to pay and extra pay in the same way as if they work on a Sunday. In businesses with a collective agreement the extra pay is 100% of normal hourly rate.
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Article first published April 2019, updated March 2021.