Important changes in Norway relating to employment contracts, trial period, and requests for more predictable working conditions

by Andrea Rakvaag and Ingrid Cathrine Nielsen



The Norwegian Parliament has passed a bill which will lead to several changes in the Norwegian Working Environment Act as of 1 July this year. The changes will be relevant to all employers and will, among other things, require changes to standard employment contracts.

The changes are a result of Norway's implementation of the EU directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions. The aim is to improve the terms and conditions for employees and to secure and improve the access to information about employment terms and conditions. In this newsletter we will summarise some of the key aspects of the new legislation.

New content requirements in employment contracts

The new legislation implies new and adjusted requirements with regards to the contents of the employment contract. Additional information requirements have been included in section 10-6 of the Working Environment Act, and going forward the employment contract must also include information on (not exhaustive):

  • Wage components must be listed individually.
  • Paid leave. In addition to annual holiday, this could include paid sick leave, parental leave, various leaves of absence, etc.
  • The process to be followed when terminating the employment.
  • The arrangements for shift changes and work exceeding agreed working hours, as well as compensation for such work.
  • If the employee is employed by a manpower agency, the identity of the hirer-in must be provided and updated with changes to assignments.
  • Training provided by the employer.
  • The employer's contributions to social security institutions, including information on the contributions and the institutions receiving the benefits, such as insurance and pension providers.


The requirements may not be fulfilled by general references to company policies or personnel handbooks. However, some of the information may be included in the employment contract by reference to applicable law, regulations, or collective bargaining agreements.

A written employment contract must be in place within seven days of commencement for employments with a duration of more than one month. Changes to the employment must be reflected as soon as possible and no later than on the effective date of the changes.

It is also worth noting that if the employment contract lacks provisions on temporary appointment and/or part-time employment, the presumption will be that the employment is on a permanent and/or full-time basis respectively.

The changes will apply to all employment contracts entered into after the date of entry into force. The changes will not apply to employment contracts entered into before this date unless the employee requests that such changes are made to the employment contract. Upon such request, the employer must make the necessary changes within two months.

Changes to the probation period

Changes have been made to the rules concerning the probation period for employees in temporary roles. The probation period must be reasonable compared to the duration of the temporary employment and cannot exceed half of the agreed contract term. This change will have a direct impact on temporary employments with a duration of less than 12 months.

The changes will not affect agreements entered into before the law enters into force. However, all employers relying on employees employed on a temporary basis should ensure that template employment contracts clearly state that the employment is temporary and include provisions on probation periods which do not exceed half of the agreed contract term.

Further changes include regulation in law that a probation period may not be re-applied if the employee continues in the same or materially similar position with the employer. For employees moving from a temporary to permanent employment, a probation period may nevertheless be agreed if the total aggregate duration of previous temporary employment and the new probation period do not exceed six months. To a large extent, this reflects the current practice in Norway and is expected to have less impact on employers.

Requests for more predictable working conditions

A new section 14-8a of the Norwegian Working Environment Act has been resolved, which will entitle employees who are employed on a part-time or temporary basis to request more predictable working conditions. More predictable working conditions could include permanent employment, full-time positions or an increased position ratio, or greater predictability for determining work periods. The changes only imply a right to request more predictable working conditions, but do not imply a duty for the employer to offer this. The employer must however consider the request and must provide a written explanation within one month from receiving the request. The right only applies to employees who have been employed for at least six months, and the requests may be made every six months.

Although these provisions do not imply a duty for the employer to offer more predictable working conditions, the employer should have in place policies for receiving, assessing and responding to such requests.

Do you have any questions?