The Scandinavian country of Norway enjoys a developed mixed economy and a high standard of living. Its main industries are petroleum and natural gas, hydropower, seafood, maritime, tourism, metals, chemicals, and pulp and paper. As one of the most prosperous countries in the world, Norway offers good salaries and top-notch working conditions for its workforce. As a result, it is very attractive to expatriates who are looking for better work-life.
What is the Norway minimum wage? Norway does not have a statutory minimum wage. Nevertheless, certain sectors in the country have introduced minimum wages through the overall utilization of collective agreements. Such sectors include construction, agriculture, cleaning workers, fish processing enterprises, hospitality, electricians and the maritime construction industry.
It is true that the pay in Norway is, in general, higher in comparison to numerous countries in Europe. That’s especially true when it comes to restaurant workers, cleaning staff and manual labourers. If moving to Norway to work is one of your future plans, you might be wondering, what is the Norway minimum wage? What is Norway’s minimum wage by industry? What is the average salary in Norway? What is the cost of living in Norway?
What is the Norway Minimum Wage?
There is no general minimum wage stated in Norwegian law. But, in spite of that fact, nearly every worker earns a fair living wage.
That’s possible because Norway is greatly unionised and most of the workers across a broad range of sectors are members of a trade union. A majority of trade unions have an affiliation to national federations, which are then typically connected to a primary employee confederation.
Norway has four primary confederations of employees, and the Confederation of Norwegian Trade Unions (also called LO) is the largest of them all. LO has at least 880,000 members, which is very significant when compared to the national population of about 5.4 million people.
The trade unions in the country come to collective agreements on wages and working conditions with organizations. After that, the collective agreements are enforced among all workers, even among those who are not union members.
Collective agreements are one of the ways of preventing foreign workers from having poorer wages and conditions of working than Norwegian locals.
What Is Norway’s Minimum Wage by Industry?
In general, collective agreements have one fixed hourly pay rate for every worker above 18 years of age. Many times, there are different rates to separate skilled from unskilled occupations, for overtime, and for workers below 18 years.
Below I discuss some of the industries in Norway that have minimum wages in collective agreements:
1. Agriculture and Horticulture
Vacation and harvest workers who are below 18 years old must earn a minimum wage of NOK 103.15 ($9.35) per hour. Those who are above 18 have a minimum hourly wage of NOK 123.15 ($11.17) for the first 12 weeks, and the pay increases to NOK 128.65 ($11.66) after that. If a worker has been employed for over six months and is beyond 18 years of age, he or she should receive the same minimum wage as unskilled permanent employees.
For permanently employed workers, the minimum hourly wage is NOK 143.05 ($12.97) for unskilled workers and NOK 112.65 ($10.21) for workers below 18 years. In addition, a NOK 11.75 ($1.07) supplement is paid out to skilled workers.
Skilled workers in the construction industry earn at least NOK 209.70 (19.01) per hour. Unskilled workers without construction work experience earn NOK 188.40 ($17.04) hourly while unskilled workers with a minimum of 1-year experience make NOK 196.50 ($17.78) per hour. Any worker below18 years of age earns a minimum of NOK 126.50 ($11.44) every hour.
3. Cleaning Workers
People working as cleaners have a right to a minimum wage of NOK 187.66 ($16.92) on an hourly basis. Cleaning workers that have not attained the age of 18 earn at least NOK 139.62 ($12.59) an hour. In addition, a minimum pay supplement of NOK 26 ($2.34) per hour applies for work done between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
4. Fishing Processing Enterprises
Skilled workers in this industry earn at least NOK 195.20 ($17.60) per hour while productions make a minimum of NOK 183.70 ($16.56) hourly.
A minimum hourly rate of 80% of the minimum wage applies to workers under 18 who perform duties pursuant to the second section of the collective agreements laws.
Workers above 17 years old who have been working for 12 weeks in the company are compensated according to their wage groups.
At enterprises with shift work, 20% of the lowest wage rate applies to two-shift arrangements and 25% of the rate applies to three-shift plans.
For installation, assembly and upkeep of electrical structures the minimum hourly wage is NOK 217.63 ($19.62) for skilled workers or NOK 189.52 ($17.08) for other workers.
When it comes to shift work, a two-shift arrangement pays 17% of the lowest wage rate while a three-shift plan pays 27.3% of the rate.
6. Catering, Hotel and Restaurant
Workers above 20 years old and those above 18 who have at least four months’ work experience earn a minimum hourly wage of NOK 167.90 ($15.14). For workers aged 16, 17 and 18, the minimum hourly wage is NOK 110.33 ($9.94), NOK 199.83 ($18.02) and NOK 134.09 ($12.09) respectively.
Additionally, an agreed deduction from gross income applies when lodging is given by the enterprise. The monthly deduction is NOK 555.73 ($50.11) for a single room and NOK 361.45 ($32.59) for a double room.
7. Maritime Construction Industry
For production, assembly and installation duties, the minimum hourly wage is NOK 178.55 ($16.10) for skilled workers, NOK 170.53 ($15.38) for semi-skilled workers and NOK 162.60 ($14.66) for unskilled workers.
A supplement of NOK 35.71 ($3.22) for skilled workers, NOK 34.11 ($3.07) for semi-skilled workers and NOK 32.52 ($2.93) for unskilled workers applies when work requires an overnight stay away from home. The supplement does not apply to workers who are hired at the work site.
8. Freight Transport by Road
Workers dealing with freight transport by road using vehicles that exceed an overall weight of over 3.5 tonnes have a minimum wage of NOK 175.95 ($15.86) per hour. The rate is not applicable to the transportation of personal goods.
9. Passenger Transport by Tour Bus
The lowest wage per hour for employees of companies carrying out passenger transport by tour bus is NOK 158.37 ($14.28). However, the minimum wage does not apply to people participating in labour market schemes.
Minimum Pay in Other Sectors
Not all sectors apply collective agreements. In such cases, salary negotiations are done between the employers and employees.
Numerous companies publish pay scales or follow industry standards, so job applicants should research on what to expect before going for an interview.
The Labour Inspection Authority in the country ensures that the regulations on wages and working conditions are adhered to. Any violation can result in fines. Moreover, the Labour Inspection Authority checks the compliance of companies with the vacation entitlement and holiday pay rules.
What is the Average Salary in Norway?
The average yearly salary in Norway is NOK 1,480,000 per year, NOK 123,000 per month or NOK 710 per hour. Here are sample popular jobs in the country and their accompanying annual salaries:
- Accountant: NOK 997,000 ($89,971.27)
- Bookkeeper: NOK 730,000 ($65,798.49)
- Corporate Treasurer: NOK 2,640,000 ($237,878.55)
- Financial Analyst: NOK 1,430,000 ($128,868)
- Administrative Assistant: NOK 723,000 ($65,154.95)
- Internal Auditor: NOK 1,540,000 ($138,780.95)
- Receptionist: NOK 830,000 ($74,829.90)
- Graphic Designer: NOK 988,000 ($89,074.62)
- Architect: NOK 1,270,000 ($114,511.46)
- Mechanic: NOK 762,000 ($68,706.87)
- Bank Branch Manager : NOK 2,010,000 ($181,234.66)
- Teacher: NOK 1,070,000 ($96,478.16)
- Translator : NOK 1,290,000 ($116,406.38)
- Project Manager : NOK 1,760,000 ($158,818.00)
- Nanny: NOK 872,000 ($78,687.10)
- Engineer: NOK 1,240,000 ($111,870.32)
- Chief Executive Officer: NOK 3,270, 000 ($295,012.86)
- Chef : NOK 1,210,000 ($109,163.78)
- Waiter/Waitress: NOK 867,000 ($78,379.97)Dentist: NOK 3,550,000 ($320,932.96)
What is the Cost of Living in Norway?
Getting set up in the Nordic country of Norway is a costly endeavour. However, the high cost of living is offset by the high salaries paid to workers.
The average cost of living mostly depends on individual lifestyle and where a person chooses to live.
Oslo, Stavanger, Trondheim and Bergen are the most expensive cities in the country.
The monthly living costs without rent in Oslo are around NOK 38,136 for a four-person family and about NOK 10,545 for a single person.
In Stavanger, the cost is approximately NOK 38,460 for a four-person family and around NOK 10,546 for a single person.
On the other hand, cities like Hedmark, Ostfold, Telemark and Oppland are more affordable.
Food is generally expensive in Norway because much of it is imported. Here are sample prices:
- 1 litre regular milk: NOK 18.59 ($1.63)
- 500g loaf of white bread: NOK 27.83 ($2.44)
- 1 kg white rice: NOK 27.34 ($2.40)
- 12 regular eggs: NOK 38.30 ($3.36)
- 1kg local cheese: NOK 109.97 ($9.66)
- 1kg beef round: NOK 261.46 ($22.96)
- 1kg bananas: NOK 24.19 ($2.12)
- Mid-range wine bottle: NOK 150.00 ($13.17)
- 0.5 litre bottle of imported beer: NOK 38.85 ($3.41)
In addition, the Norwegian service sector is expensive. That’s because the waiters/waitresses are paid high salaries compared to other nations. Rental prices and utility costs are also quite high.
However, public healthcare in the country is free for anyone aged 16 and below, pregnant women and nursing mothers. Everyone else pays an annual deductible.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.