Sometimes a company needs temporary employees. This could be in situations where the regular staff is on vacation, or to cope with an increased number of assignments in certain periods. However, there are strict rules for when your business can hire people on temporary work contracts. Do you know these rules?
Main rule: Permanent employment
The main rule is that you as an employer is obliged to hire employees in a permanent position. To be permanently employed means that the employment relationship runs until the employee resigns or is terminated by the employer.
In other words, temporary employment is the exception that requires a special legal basis.
The exception: Temporary employment
Fortunately, the Working Environment Act has several exemptions to the main rule of permanent employment. Thus, there are several practical cases where companies can hire employees temporarily.
Temporary appointments mean that the employee is only employed for a limited period of time. The employment relationship ends when the contracted employment period has expired, or when the agreed work is completed.
It is very important that companies are aware of the basis for hiring employees temporarily. Furthermore, the employment agreements should be well designed to avoid misunderstandings with the employee.
First of all, temporary employment is permitted in the case of temporary workers.
Occasionally the permanent staff is on vacation, leave or they get sick. If your business needs to temporarily replace absent staff, temporary workers can be hired. It is not a requirement that a temporary worker must replace one particular employee. Companies are free to hire as many temporary workers as required during periods of high absence among ordinary employees in the business.
Also read: Salary on public holidays in Norway
However, during high season periods - for example around holidays - your business may not require temporary employees, but additional staff due to increased workload. A practical exception to the main rule of permanent employment is that it is permissible to hire persons on a temporary contract if the work is of a temporary nature.
A temporarily increased need for manpower due to seasonal fluctuations is considered to fulfill the requirements of the law. Work of a temporary nature is therefore the most practical legal basis for hiring extra help around Christmas or other high season periods for your business.
It can be challenging to relate to the Norwegian regulations. See how Magnus Legal can assist with labour law in Norway.
Remember that temporary employees are also entitled to holiday pay for the period they work. As a general rule, holiday pay should be paid on the last ordinary pay at the end of the employment period.
Special rules for children and adolescents
Many young people have their first working days around the holidays and during the summer. As an employer, you have a particular responsibility to ensure that children and adolescents do not perform work that may be detrimental to their safety, health, development or schooling. For this reason, there are, among other things, stricter working hours requirements for persons under the age of 18.
Article first published November 2019, updated December 2022.