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Norway does not have a common minimum wage for all workers. Yet, the law ensures minimum wages within nine industries. This is especially important for foreign workers.

Norway does not have a common minimum wage for all workers. Yet, the law ensures minimum wages within nine industries. This is especially important for foreign workers.

Roy Solstad/Martin Slørdal/Håvard Sæbø

Working in Norway: Minimum wages, generalisation of collective agreements, wages, trade unions

Norway does not have a common minimum wage for all workers. Here we explain why

The collective agreements regulate the minimum wages in Norway. And the law ensures minimum wages within nine industries. This is especially important for foreign workers.

17.11.2021
13:43
17.11.2021 15:24

foreignworkers@lomedia.no

Most of the EU's member states have introduced a statutory minimum wage for all workers. It sets a legal limit for the minimum salary an employer can pay.  

However, 6 out of 27 EU countries have arrangements where the minimum wage is found instead in collective agreements. 

That is also the arrangement in the European Economic Community (EEC) country Norway. In practice, we also have statutory minimum wages within nine industries. It is called the generalisation of collective agreements and is authorised in the Generalisation Act. 

These industries are:

• Construction

• The maritime construction industry

• Agriculture and horticulture

• Cleaning

• The fish processing industry

• Electricians (except offshore)

• Freight transport by road

• Passenger transport by tour bus

• Hotel, restaurant, and catering

Related article: These are the current minimum wages within nine industries in Norway

In Norway, generalisation is applied only in industries where there is documentation that foreign workers may receive poorer pay and working conditions than is the norm in the industry. 

The minimum wage is not the same within all nine industries. What the minimum wage amounts to is regulated through collective bargaining in each of these nine industries. 

Both among migrant workers and Norwegian-born workers, fewer are low-paid after generalisation of collective agreements was introduced, according to a recent evaluation conducted by the research foundation Fafo.  

In Norway, there is a broad agreement that this system should maintain. 

Article in Polish: Norwegia nie ma jednej płacy minimalnej dla wszystkich pracowników. Tu to wyjaśniamy

Article in Lithuanian: Norvegijoje nėra vieningo minimalaus darbo užmokesčio visiems darbuotojams. Štai paaiškinimas

Why?

Over the past 15 years, an open labour and service market in the EU and EEC has led to the largest ever wave of immigration to Norway. This has also led to more work-related crime and social dumping.

According to Trude Tinnlund, secretary of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), the largest organisation for employees in Norway, this is the most important threat against a decent working life and the Norwegian welfare state.

– One of the most important measures against this has been the generalisation of collective agreements. This means the parties have agreed on a statutory minimum wage within the most problematic industries, says Tinnlund to FriFagbevegelse.

The generalisation of collective agreements came as a response to the increasing and gross exploitation of mainly foreign workers.

– Because wages were reduced for everyone in these industries, it also affected Norwegian workers. Not least those who had jobs with lower education requirements. In addition, the competition for the jobs toughened, the LO secretary explains. 

Work-related crime: These methods are used by rogue employers in Norway to exploit foreign workers

A common statutory minimum wage is only necessary when the trade union movement is weak and can no longer secure decent working conditions. This is evident in countries in the south and east of Europe, says Trude Tinnlund. 

In Norway, about 70 per cent of workers are covered by a collective agreement.

– A statutory minimum wage would not only mean lower wages for many workers, but it would also undermine the organised working life, says the LO secretary.

Foreign workers are more prone to workplace injuries: Here's what you need to remember if you are in a work accident

If you work within one of these industries, you are entitled to the following:

1. Cleaning companies

Minimum 196,04 Norwegian kroner (NOK) per hour. Under 18 years of age: 146,27 NOK.

Supplement for work between 21.00 and 06.00: 27 NOK per hour.

2. Construction sites

Skilled workers: Minimum 220 NOK per hour. Unskilled without industry experience: 198,30 NOK.

Unskilled workers with a minimum of one year of industry experience: 206,50 NOK. Under 18 years of age: 132,90 NOK.

3. Electricians

Skilled workers performing skilled work: Minimum 225,15 NOK per hour. Others: 196,47 NOK.

Supplement for two-shift work: 38,28 NOK per hour. Three-shift work: 61,47 NOK.

4. Fish processing enterprises

Skilled workers: Minimum 205,55 per hour. Production workers: 193,55 NOK.

Under 18 years of age: Minimum 164,44 NOK per hour. Over 17 years of age who has worked 12 weeks for the company: Same pay as those over 18 years of age.

School students shall keep their salary seniority from one year to the next. Accrued salary seniority also applies when you have reached 18 years of age.

Supplement for two-shift work: Minimum 41,11 NOK per hour. Three-shift work: 51,39 NOK.

You may also be interested in this article: Temporary worker Isaac did not get the pay he was entitled to. This is how he earned 14 kroner more per hour

5. Freight transport by road

Minimum 185,50 NOK per hour.

6. Agriculture and horticulture

Holiday and harvest assistance under 18 years of age: Minimum 109,40 NOK per hour. Over 18 years of age and employed for up to 12 weeks: 129,40 NOK. Over 18 years of age and employed between 12 and 24 weeks: 134,90 NOK. Over 18 years of age and employed for more than 24 weeks: 149,30 NOK.

Permanently employed unskilled: Minimum 149,30 NOK per hour. Under 18 years of age: 118,90 NOK.

All relevant experience or education within horticulture and agriculture, or relevant for the position, shall be included in the salary seniority.

Supplement for skilled workers: Minimum 13 NOK per hour.

Supplement for breeders and farm relief workers on permanent rotas on Saturdays, Sundays, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, 1 May, 17 May and other public holidays: 25 percent per hour.

Apprentices: Minimum 104,51 NOK per hour.

Reimbursement of, for example, travel expenses, board and lodging shall not be counted as salary.

Related article: What is a collective agreement?

7. Hotel, restaurant, and catering

Workers who are 16 years of age: Minimum 114,08 NOK per hour. 17 years: 123,58 NOK. 18 years: 137,84 NOK.

Starting salary for workers over 20 years of age, or workers over 18 years of age with a minimum of four months of work experience: Minimum 175,47 NOK per hour.

Deduction in salary due to accommodation in the company, for single rooms: 582,16 NOK per month. Double room: 378,64 NOK per month.

8. The maritime construction industry

Skilled workers: Minimum 189,39 NOK per hour. Semi-skilled workers: 180,87 NOK. Unskilled workers: 172,44 NOK.

Supplement for skilled workers on work assignments with overnight stays away from home: Minimum 37,88 NOK per hour. Semi-skilled workers: 36,17 NOK. Unskilled workers: 34,49 NOK.

Supplement for second shift in two-shift work (36,5 hours per week): Minimum 20,10 NOK per hour. After 14.00 hours on Saturdays and days before public holidays: 42,96 NOK. From 14.00 hours on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, the Saturdays before Easter Sunday and Whit Sunday: 61,58 NOK. Every hour after 24.00 hours: 30,84 NOK.

Supplement for second shift in three-shift work (35,5 hours per week): Minimum 20,72 NOK per hour. Third shift: 32,57 NOK. After 14.00 hours on Saturdays and days before public holidays: 44,20 NOK. From 14.00 hours on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, the Saturdays before Easter Sunday and Whit Sunday: 63,32 NOK.

Supplement for second shift in continuous three-shift work (33,6 hours per week): Minimum 21,96 NOK per hour. Third shift: 32,57 NOK. After 14.00 hours on Saturdays and days before public holidays: 46,67 NOK. From 14.00 hours on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, the Saturdays before Easter Sunday and Whit Sunday: 66,91 NOK.

Supplement for overtime: Minimum 94,70 NOK per hour. Overtime between 21.00 hours and 06.00 hours, on Sundays and public holidays: 189,39 NOK.

9. Passenger transport by tour bus

Minimum 174,12 NOK per hour.

Working hours

Within the maritime construction industry, working hours have general application. The working hours should be no more than 37,5 hours per week. For shift work: 36,5 hours on average per week in two-shift work, 35,5 hours in three-shift work and 33,6 hours in continuous three-shift work.

Travel and board and lodging expenses

If you are sent on work assignments with overnight stays away from home within the maritime construction industry, your employer must cover travel expenses in Norway. The employer must also provide or cover board and lodging.

For electricians, workers on construction sites and in cleaning work the same rules apply for all travel with overnight stays away from home.

Within passenger transport by tour bus, your employer shall provide or cover board and lodging.

In case of freight transport assignments by road involving planned overnight stays, your employer must pay subsistence allowance in accordance with the rates for tax-free subsistence allowance. One-third of the subsistence allowance rate shall be paid for each eight-hour period commenced. 

Clothes and shoes

Workers within the maritime construction industry, within cleaning and on construction sites, are also entitled to work clothes and shoes that are suitable for the work, the workplace and the season.

Source: New regulations on partial generalization within nine industries

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

17.11.2021
13:43
17.11.2021 15:24

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