Labour Law and Safety at Work

Through the EEA Agreement Norway is part of an integrated European labour market. The rules cover free movement of workers, mutual recognition of diplomas, social security, health and safety at work, labour law and equal treatment of women and men. The European Employment Strategy is not part of the EEA Agreement. However, the Norwegian Government intends to participate in the exchange of ideas and practices on employment policies. The social partners in Norway take part in this work through their European organisations.

The freedom of movement of workers entails the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the EEA States. As regards employment, remuneration and other working conditions, Article 68 of the EEA Agreement obliges the EEA States to introduce, in the field of labour law, the measures necessary to ensure the good functioning of the EEA Agreement.

During the past few years, several new directives have been adopted, and existing directives have been amended within this area that are of significant importance to Norway, e.g. on information and consultation of workers and workers’ involvement in the European company. 

For further information, please contact the website of DG Employment, social affairs and equal opportunities.

Health and Safety at Work
The parties to the EEA Agreement have agreed on the need to promote better working conditions and improved standards at work, particularly by encouraging improvements in health and safety aspects. Minimum requirements are, and will be, implemented gradually. However, such requirements shall not prevent any state from maintaining or introducing more stringent measures for the protection of working conditions as long as they are compatible with other provisions of the EEA Agreement. Directives with importance to Norway have recently been adopted in this area, e.g. on establishing minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from electromagnetic fields and waves. In addition comes a political agreement on a directive on optical radiation.

The social partners have recently negotiated an agreement on work related stress, and are now negotiating on a framework on gender equality at the work place. Consultations with the social partners are currently going on in the fields of the European Works Councils and on musculoskeletal disorders. Norway participates in EU’s Advisory Committee on Health and Safety and in the Bilbao Agency. For further information, please contact the website of DG Employment, social affairs and equal opportunities. The cooperation with EU in this field is the responsibility of The Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Contact point at the Mission of Norway, Mona Næss, [email protected]
Contact point at the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion, Ragnhild Nordaas, [email protected]

European Employment and Labour Market Strategy
Since 1998 the EU Member States have implemented national action plans in accordance with the Employment Guidelines, which were adopted on the basis of the Title on Employment in the Treaty of Amsterdam.

The European Commission has drawn up a draft Joint Employment Report, which examines how the respective Member States are progressing towards the objectives set at EU and national levels. The evaluation is based on statistics and indicators as well as on the information provided by the Member States themselves in their implementation reports. The conclusions of this examination are instrumental for identifying difficulties in the process of implementing new Employment Guidelines for the following year. T

he Lisbon Summit in March 2000 led to a shift in focus regarding the continuation of the European Employment Strategy. The subject of the Summit was “Economic Reform, Employment and Social Cohesion: towards the knowledge economy”. The new strategy implies a broader perspective, integrating employment into all policy areas (“mainstreaming”), preferably by soft law. The model reflects high expectations placed on European and national social partners. They are urged to agree on and implement a process for modernising the contractual framework of working life. The Social Policy Agenda 2000-2005, which was adopted at the Nice Summit, emphasises quality as a driving force for a performing economy, more and better jobs and an inclusive society.

Norway participate in Community Incentive Measures in the field of Employment.

On Mai 1st 2004, the European Union was enlarged with ten Member States. As Norway is associated with EU through the European Economic Area (EEA), the enlargement also has implications for Norway. The Norwegian labour marked is since the enlargement opened up for the new EU Member States, though working-permits are required for workers from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia. Despite these restrictions, the workers from the new member states are given considerably wider access to the Norwegian labour market than before. There are no limitations regarding particular skills or competence, but the monitoring of the labour marked is strengthened to avoid social dumping and the exploitation of foreign workers. Another requirement is full-time work. The cooperation with the EU in this field is the responsibility of the Norwegian Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs. For further information, please contact the website of DG Employment, social affairs and equal opportunities.

Contact point at the Mission of Norway:  Mona Næss, [email protected]
Contact point at the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs: [email protected]

Equal Opportunities
Experience at Community level has shown that promoting gender equality in practice calls for a combination of measures and, in particular, of legislation and practical action designed to reinforce each other. After the Beijing Conference in 1995 the Council asked for an annual report on the follow-up of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. Development of EU indicators and benchmarks for monitoring the implementation of the 12 areas of the Beijing Platform are given priority. The Council has decided to continue developing indicators and benchmarking during future presidencies. As a follow up, the Council has adopted conclusions on quantitative indicators aimed at measuring the representation of women and men in economic decision-making centres, but also on sexual harassment at the workplace.

The European Council has adopted a directive on equality between women and men in goods and services, and has also endorsed a general approach on a draft directive on the implementation of equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast version). The recast directive aims to merge seven existing directives on equal treatment in the field of employment into one single coherent instrument. Both will be EEA relevant. 

Norway participates in the current, and fifth action programme relating to the Community framework strategy on gender equality, and also in the Daphne Programme.

In January 2003 the EFTA Court in the case E-01/02 declared that Norway had failed to fulfil its obligations under articles 7 and 70 of the EEA Agreement and articles 2(1), 2(4) and 3(1) of the directive 76/207/EEC on equal treatment for men and women by permitting the reservation of a number of academic posts exclusively for women.

For further information on equal opportunities, please contact the website of DG Employment, social affairs and equal opportunities. The cooperation with EU in this field is the responsibility of the Norwegian Ministry for Children and Family Affairs

Contact point at the Mission of Norway: Petter Sørlien, [email protected] 
Contact point at the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs: [email protected]





Share on your network   |   print