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Can I take time off work in Norway if my child is sick?

Balancing work and childcare can be a tricky situation, but it can be made even more difficult when your kid is sick. What are your legal rights when this happens in Norway?

Sick child
As of 2022, all workers in Norway are entitled to 20 care days per year if they have one or two children under the age of 12. Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

In Norway, as an employed or self-employed parent, you have the right to stay at home with your sick child and take time off work for a set number of days in a year, which are other referred to as “care days” of “days when you care for sick children” (called omsorgsdager or sykt barn-dager in Norwegian).

Did your child catch a cold? Does your child need to go to the doctor? Don’t fear – care days enable you to ensure your child gets the attention and care they need during stressful periods.

In this article, we will cover the rules that apply to most cases, as well as frequently asked questions on the issue.

Care days for sick children under the age of 12

First of all, know that individual factors influence the exact number of care days you have the right to, such as the number of children you have, your cohabitation or partnership situation, and whether your child suffers from chronic illnesses.

According to the state digital platform Altinn, as of 2022, all workers in Norway are entitled to 20 care days per year if they have one or two children under the age of 12. Workers with more than two children have the right to use 30 care days a year.

Furthermore, single parents and parents of chronically ill children in Norway can get even more care days.

The number of care days, in this case, is added up for each calendar year and not for an ongoing twelve-month period, as is the case when the employee is sick.

The employer only has to pay for the first ten care days in a calendar year – they can claim reimbursement from the NAV from the eleventh day.

You can find more details on care days on the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration’s (NAV) website here.

When to use care days

The care days can be used for several different purposes, including parents staying at home with their sick children, taking children to medical examinations or treatments, or when the child’s caregiver is ill.

Note that you cannot use your care days to stay with a child during holiday breaks or accompany your child to the dentist if the visit is unrelated to illness.

To have the right to care days that you can spend with sick children, you must first work for at least four weeks at your current employer.

When it comes to self-employed workers, they have the right to financial support from the NAV from the eleventh day that they spend at home with their sick children.

However, they need to provide the NAV with a medical certificate that confirms the child is sick.

Using multiple consecutive care days at a time

Norwegian employees have the right to spend multiple consecutive days with their children when they get sick.

However, they must present their employers with a self-prepared document describing the situation for the first couple of days.

In such cases, you will need to provide a self-prepared certificate for up to three consecutive days at a time. From the fourth day, your employer has the right to ask for an official sick leave certificate.

Employers can also allow employees to take hours off or “half-days” within work days to care for their children if they’re sick. In such instances, these hours and “half-days” are later calculated and added up into days.

Special situations

Employees in Norway may be entitled to more care days if they meet specific requirements or are in extraordinary situations.

For example, you can apply for more care days to the NAV if you take care of the child on your own, if your underage child suffers from a chronic disease, or if your child is underage and disabled.

You can also ask for more care days in the period up to and including December 31, 2022, in cases where the child must be kept at home due to special infection-prevention considerations (mostly related to the COVID-19 pandemic).

This also applies when the other parent of the child cannot take care of the child for six months or longer.

For more information, consult the relevant part of the Norwegian Working Environment Act.

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Unemployment in Norway expected to rise this year and next

A period of record-low unemployment may be about to end, and a rise in jobseekers in Norway is expected in the coming months, according to recent figures and analysis.

Unemployment in Norway expected to rise this year and next

Unemployment in Norway rose slightly in February, up 0.1 percent from January, the latest figures from Statistics Norway show.

In February, there were 105,000 unemployed people in Norway, an increase of 10,000 compared to the year before. The unemployment rate in Norway is currently 3.6 percent.

Additionally, the number of available jobs in Norway shrunk by 4,500. Still, Statistics Norway writes in its report that unemployment is still well below the 15-year average.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), which records its own unemployment figures, expects the number of those without a job to rise.

“The fact that costs are increasing is and will continue to be noticeable to both companies and most people. We, therefore, expect that the demand for labour will decrease somewhat and that unemployment will continue to increase somewhat,” Director of Employment and Welfare at NAV Hans Christian Holte said.

The good news is that while unemployment will rise, it will be quite moderate. NAV’s own unemployment rate is currently at 1.8 percent. Over the next year, it expects the number of those completely out of work to increase to 2.1 percent.

“Although unemployment will increase somewhat, there will still be low unemployment in Norway this year and until next year. We, therefore, expect that the Norwegian economy and the labour market will recover well through the encounter with high inflation and increased interest rates,” Holte said.

NAV said that those who work in industries where employment is affected by the economic cycle, like construction, IT and engineering, would see the most significant increases in unemployment.