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If inspections (photograph) reveal that employees are not being paid what they are entitled to, their employer risks imprisonment for up to six years.

If inspections (photograph) reveal that employees are not being paid what they are entitled to, their employer risks imprisonment for up to six years.

Håvard Sæbø

Working in Norway: work-related crime, wage theft

New Norwegian law on wage theft: Stealing pay from employees can now be punished by a six-year prison sentence

From January 2022 there is also a requirement that wages must be paid via a bank.
21.01.2022
09:22
21.01.2022 09:27

foreignworkers@lomedia.no

After 1 January, wage theft has been made illegal and may be punished by imprisonment for up to six years. Stealing money from other people has long been against the law. It follows that it has also been unlawful for employers to steal pay from their employees. In practice, however, employers have not been punished for doing so.

The Working Environment Act previously cited two situations that it defined as wage theft. One of these is that it is illegal to deduct money from an employee’s wages except by agreement with the employee.

The other situation is that the employer is required to pay overtime of at least 40 per cent of the agreed hourly rate of pay. Non-payment for overtime work is one of the commonest forms of wage theft.

First in Europe

With effect from 1 January 2022, the Penal Code contains two new sections on wage theft.

Ordinary wage theft is now punishable by imprisonment for up to two years, while gross wage theft may result in imprisonment for up to six years.

In assessing whether the wage theft is gross, emphasis will be placed on the amount of pay that has been stolen, whether the theft appears to be systematic or organised or whether for other reasons the offence is especially grievous or socially harmful.

Norway is the first European country to legislate against wage theft. Until now, laws of this nature have been found only in certain states in Australia and the United States.

Is your employer stealing your pay? Check what you can do

An end to cash payment of wages

Together with the resolution prohibiting wage theft the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, adopted four other resolutions to counter crime in working life.

The maximum penalty for breaches of the Working Environment Act has been raised from three to five years. This will also result in an increase in the limitation period from five to 10 years. This means that up to 10 years may now pass before it is too late for a breach of the Working Environment Act to be punished.

With effect from 1 January, all wage payments must be made via a bank to enable the payments to be documented and traced after the event. The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority will be responsible for checking that wage payments are made in a lawful way.

Related article: As an employee in Norway, how do I claim sickness benefit?

Illegal not to have a mandatory pension scheme

In the past, employers that failed to establish mandatory pension schemes for their employees were not prosecuted. With effect from 1 January 2022 onwards employers can now be punished by fines or imprisonment for up to two years for breaches of the Mandatory Service Pension Schemes Act if they have failed to set up mandatory service pension schemes for their employees.

The authorities will also introduce an authorisation scheme for car wash companies. It is known that illegal practices and cash-in-hand payment are widespread in this industry. Tougher checks will now be introduced. Although the details of authorisation scheme have not yet been finalised, the authorities now have the statutory authority to establish the scheme.

Article in Polish: Ten, kto kradnie pracownikom wynagrodzenie, może obecnie zostać skazany na karę do sześciu lat pozbawienia wolności 

Article in Lithuanian: Už darbuotojų darbo užmokesčių vagystę dabar gali būti baudžiama iki šešerių metų kalėjimu

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Translated by: Robert Lovering

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FriFagbevegelse for foreign workers

Here you will find articles relevant for foreigners working in Norway. Articles in Polish, Lithuanian and English will cover topics such as the rights, rules and laws that apply.

The website is made by FriFagbevegelse, a news site about working life and the trade union movement.

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21.01.2022
09:22
21.01.2022 09:27

FriFagbevegelse for foreign workers

Here you will find articles relevant for foreigners working in Norway. Articles in Polish, Lithuanian and English will cover topics such as the rights, rules and laws that apply.

The website is made by FriFagbevegelse, a news site about working life and the trade union movement.

Please share the articles with colleagues and friends.

Got a story to tell? Contact us: foreignworkers@lomedia.no

> Read more news in English

> Więcej wiadomości po polsku

> Skaitykite daugiau naujienų lietuvių kalba