Updated 20 March 2023 for new rules applicable from 1 April 2023.

What is a temporary hire?

A temporary hire means that a worker employed by one undertaking does work for another undertaking under the instructions and control of the latter. This represents an exception from the general Norwegian rule that employment in the undertaking one works in and for must be permanent.

Temporary hire is distinguished from contracting, where an undertaking provides a service to a client as the contractor manages the work and has an independent responsibility for risk and results.

What does permanent employment mean?

The employment is not of limited duration.

Are there exceptions from the general rule on permanent employment?

The exceptions are temporary employment and temporary hire, which are legal providing the provisions of the Norwegian Working Environment Act are fulfilled.

What is the difference between temporary employment and temporary hire?

With temporary employment, a worker is employed directly by an undertaking for a limited period or for a specific job.

With temporary hire, the work is done at a different undertaking from the one which employs the worker.

Who can provide temporary hires?

A distinction is made between hiring from a temporary work agency or an undertaking (“production company”) which does not have the provision of temporary hires as its object. Legal provisions differ between these two types.

What is a temporary work agency?

An undertaking which offers personnel for temporary hire and is registered as a temporary work agency in the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority’s register.

When is it legal to hire from a temporary work agency?

  • as a temporary replacement for another worker
  • for work as a trainee
  • for a participant in a labour market scheme under the auspices of the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service (NAV), see section 14.9 (2) of the WEA
  • when an agreement has been entered into with a union of a certain size, see section 14.12 (2) of the WEA
  • temporary hire of health personnel to ensure prudent operation of health and care services, subject to the rules on temporary employment
  • temporary hire of workers with specialist expertise to provide advisory and consultative services for a clearly delineated project, see section 3 a and b of the regulations on hiring from temporary work agencies.

Personnel may not be hired from temporary work agencies for building work on construction sites in Oslo and the Viken and former Vestfold counties, see section 4 of the regulations on hiring from temporary work agencies.

What is meant by a “temporary replacement”

A temporary replacement is a person who in actual fact carries out work normally done by one or more other people. It is not sufficient simply to call an employment status a “temporary replacement”.

What is a temporary hire contract?

The employer and elected union officials in companies covered by a collective agreement on pay and conditions with a trade union which possesses the right of nomination pursuant to the Labour Disputes Act can enter into an agreement on temporary hire of a limited duration if the union officials represent a majority of the employees in the job category concerned. The agreement must be in writing and should specify the scope of the temporary hiring it is intended to permit, so that the legality of the hire cannot be called into question either internally or in the event of an audit.

What pay and conditions does a temporary agency worker have a right to?

An agency worker has the right to receive at least the same pay and working conditions as a permanent employee at the hirer would have received. This is called equal treatment, and ensuring it is the responsibility of the temporary work agency.

Equal treatment applies to the length and location of working hours, overtime, breaks, night work, holidays and pay. The starting point is that the agency worker must also enjoy other collective benefits enjoyed by permanent employees at the hirer.

How is equal treatment ensured?

The hirer must give the temporary work agency information about pay and working conditions in its own business. When requested by union officials, the hirer must provide information on the pay and working conditions agreed between the agency worker and their employer.

In addition, the hirer may become responsible for providing pay, holiday pay and other remuneration if the temporary work agency fails to ensure equal treatment.

When is temporary hire from a “production company” legal?

The person being hired out must be a permanent employee of the hiree, and the hire must fall within the same main areas of activity otherwise pursued by the hiree. The number of employees hired out must also not exceed more than half of the permanent workforce at the hiree.

How are elected union officials to be involved in temporary hires?

When hiring from a temporary work agency, the employer (hirer) must hold discussions once a year with elected union officials on the use of temporary hires and how the requirement for equal treatment is to practised.

When hiring from a production company, the employer (hirer) must discuss the hiring with the union officials before it begins, and the latter can ask the hirer to provide evidence that the hiring is legal. Temporary hires of a certain scope and duration require an agreement with union officials. See section 14-13 of the WEA.

What duties does on an undertaking have when hiring temporary agency workers?

The undertaking is duty-bound to have a system which ensures that no illegal temporary hiring occurs. This requires the undertaking to have routines to prevent, identify and rectify possible breaches of the regulations.

What rights does the employee have if they have been hired illegally?

The PSA has the authority to issue an order if the temporary hire is illegal and must be terminated, but it cannot order that the hire be converted to permanent employment.

The employee can take legal action and ask a court to assess their right to permanent employment.

What if the employee has been legally hired over a long period?

An employee who has been temporarily hired for three years has the right to convert to permanent employment.