Norway to tighten staffing and temp agency laws from April

A controversial amendment to the working law in Norway will make it harder for companies to hire labour from agencies and staffing firms to try and create more full-time positions.

Pictured is a worker cutting wood.
The government will tighten rules on temp agencies from April 1st. Pictured is a construction worker cutting wood. Photo by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash

The new law will come into effect from April 1st, which will see a ban on staff in the construction industry in Oslo and Viken being outsourced by recruitment firms.

Additionally, the new rules find that those who have worked with the same business for more than three years will have the right to a permanent direct job with the employer they are sourced to.

Furthermore, the right for firms to hire from staffing companies when the work is of a temporary nature will be revoked.

Since forming in 2021, the government has prioritised increasing the number of permanent positions in Norway. It and LO, Norway’s largest trade union umbrella, say the practice reduces permanent employment and erodes the rights of workers and the responsibilities of companies.

Up to two percent of the workforce in Norway is employed by a staffing agency. In certain industries, such as construction, the proportion of those employed by agencies is around eight percent.

Companies which rely on the temporary hiring of labour to meet their needs have reacted strongly to the law change, while permanent employees at staffing agencies also risk losing their jobs.

Two staffing firms, one Lithuanian and one Norwegian, have complained to the ESA, which is the EFTA’s monitoring body and ensures that EEA law is complied with, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reports.

They argue that the new law goes against EEA regulations on temporary workers. The ESA has contacted Norway’s Labour Minister and asked for documentation and for the ministry to answer a number of questions.

The ministry will be asked to explain or prove why Norway’s labour market is not working correctly and that permanent employment will increase as a result of the law change. Furthermore, it will be required to prove health and safety will improve and highlight that staffing firms have a negative consequence in Norway.

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How much can you earn from a summer job in Norway?

Summer jobs attract foreign workers to Norway due to the high wages and chance to experience something new.

How much can you earn from a summer job in Norway?

Thanks to its high salaries, robust social safety net, and excellent work-life balance, Norway is widely regarded as a highly desirable country for international workers.

This appeal extends to Norway’s summer job market.

READ MORE: What are Norway’s highest-paying jobs and occupations?

Generally speaking, when it comes to summer job opportunities, international workers often prioritise high wages in industries where the lack of Norwegian language skills won’t be a problem, while young Norwegians typically seek valuable work experience.

As a result, these positions are highly sought after.

Whether you’re looking to earn extra money or gain experience, there are some key things you need to know about Norway’s summer jobs if you’re looking at applying.

Why the difference between seasonal and summer jobs in Norway matters

Many people think summer and seasonal jobs are the same, but there are several differences.

Seasonal jobs in Norway are tied to specific times of the year, like working at a ski resort in the winter or picking fruit in the summer.

Due to their nature, these jobs are limited to specific periods and generally attract more applications and competition from international workers.

On the other hand, summer jobs are typically offered to cover for regular staff on holiday or to handle peak business periods in various industries.

Companies in Norway provide summer contracts in fields such as agriculture, logistics, retail, banking, tourism, restaurants, hotels, and call centres to manage the increased workload.

As a result, while seasonal jobs often see more competition from international workers, summer jobs usually face more local competition, particularly from students and young people, as they are seen as somewhat of a working life tradition in Norway and Scandinavia, and Norwegian employers value them highly when reviewing CVs.

When to start applying for summer jobs

If you’re looking for a summer job in Norway, it’s best to start your search while it’s still winter.

Large Norwegian companies plan summer job schedules early, so recruitment often begins in February and March.

This early start is necessary because many jobs are becoming more complex and require training, usually at the end of May or the beginning of June.

As a recruitment expert pointed out in a recent comment for The Local, being available for the entire summer and attending the required training are both vital to increasing your chances of landing a summer job.

In numbers: Summer job salaries 

The expected salary range can vary depending on factors like sector, location, and employer. However, Statistics Norway’s (SSB) July update on monthly salaries in the country provides some interesting insights into summer job compensation.

The average wage in Norway for a worker in a temporary role, such as a summer job, was 43,310 kroner per month. This amounts to 3,700 euros. This wage was for workers aged 25 and over. This is around 267 kroner per hour or 23 euros per hour. 

Younger workers earned less, though. Those aged between 20 and 24 made 33,360 kroner per month in temporary positions. Meanwhile, workers aged between 15 and 19 made less at 25,830 kroner. 

Comparatively, the average monthly salary in Norway is 53,960 kroner. As temporary positions tend to be in lower-paying industries, the average is lower and isn’t influenced by the highest earners in the same way the average wage is. 

Young people in the (summer) workplace

In 2023, seven out of ten young people in Norway took on summer jobs. That’s about 475,000 young people aged 15 to 24, corresponding to 72 percent of this age group, according to the most recent SSB figures.

From 2021 to 2023, the number of young people in the country aged 15 to 19 working in the summer increased by 16 percent.

This trend is partly due to the favourable job market post-pandemic, with low unemployment and high demand for labour.

READ MORE: Five things you should know about job salaries in Norway

According to Rakel Gading, an adviser at Statistics Norway, this environment has made it easier for young people to enter the Norwegian labour market.

Most young workers in the country find employment in retail, followed by accommodation, catering, and health and social services.

The most common summer job roles include sales positions (such as shop staff and fast food or café workers), nursing and care roles (like nursing staff and health professionals), and personal service jobs (mainly waiters).