Minimum Wage In Norway Explained (Why There’s No General Minimum Salary)

You often hear that Norway is one of the best countries to work in, and there are thousand of foreign workers who move here to make a lot more money than they would be able to in their own country. Many of these workers get paid a minimum wage, but what can you expect to get paid if you move to Norway to get a job?

There is no general minimum wage in Norway, and any employer are free to offer any wage they want. However, 9 different industry sectors have a minimum wage, and most industries have a minimum wage governed by their trade union.

Norwegian bank notes
Norwegian bank notes. Photo by Nils S. Aasheim/Norges Bank / CC BY-ND 2.0.

So there’s no general minimum wage in Norway, with a few exceptions (that we will get back to). In theory, any employer are free to offer whatever salary they want when presenting you with a job offer contract, and you are free to accept or deny it as you want.

In reality, you are pretty much guaranteed to get at least 140 NOK per hour in any industry. If you get paid less, there’s a good reason to call Arbeidstilsynet to learn about your rights when working in Norway.

Read more: How to find work in Norway without speaking Norwegian.

Why are the average incomes high when there’s no minimum wage?

The average salary in Norway is around 45,839 NOK ($4,600 USD) per month, even without a minimum salary. It is common for most employers to offer decent salaries, and it’s usually pretty easy for the workers to find a new job offer if they feel like they don’t get paid enough.

Norway is also very unionized, and most people are encouraged to join a trade union. Most big trade unions have made agreements with the different companies in the industry that regulates the minimum salaries.

So make sure to join a trade union after getting set up with your new job in Norway, and you are almost guaranteed to have access to a prearranged deal about your wages.

Norske sedler
Norwegian bank notes. Photo by Nils S. Aasheim/Norges Bank / CC BY-ND 2.0.

The 9 industries with government-regulated minimum wage (2022 wages)

The Norwegian government has decided that 9 different industry sectors should have a minimum wage that is regulated in the law. The reason why these nine sectors where chosen is because they are popular with foreign workers who often don’t understand how to get what they are paid.

This lead to many employers taking advantage of foreign workers, so they Norwegian government implemented a minimum wage for these nine industries to make sure that they all get paid enough.

Below are the nine industries and their associated minimum wage:

IndustryMinimum wage in NOK per hourMinimum wage in $USD (approximate) per hour
Cleaning companies196.04 NOK$19
Electricians225.15 NOK$23
Agriculture and horticulture129.40 NOK for seasonal / 149.30 NOK for permanent workers$13 / $15
Hotels, restaurants and catering137.84 NOK$14
Maritime construction172.44 NOK$17
Regular construction sites206.50 NOK$20
Fish processing enterprises193.55 NOK$19
Passenger transport by tour bus172.12 NOK$17
Freight transport185.50 NOK$19

The table uses the absolute minimum wage you can get paid in Norway, which means that you are 18 years old and have no skills or work experience. You will quickly be granted a higher minimum wage if you have a few years of work experience, or have formal education in the sector you are working in.

Strawberry workers
Foreign strawberry pickers from low-income countries are common in Norway. Photo published with permission.

No minimum wages does still not allow for slave labor

Despite the fact that Norway does not have minimum wages, the working laws require all employers to treat their workers nicely, and pay them a real salary. If workers get paid way less than the standard, this is cause to charge the employer or company with slavery charges, which does actually happen every once in a while.

There are plenty of examples of foreign workers who have gotten paid as little as 30 NOK ($3 USD) per hour, which is less than 10 % of an average hourly wage in Norway. These companies get in serious trouble even though there’s not law stating exactly the minimum wage by itself.

If you yourself, or if you know someone that has a wage that could be considered human exploitation, please make contact with Arbeidstilsynet to get help. They will guide and potentially shut down the businesses that don’t pay a regular, livable wage to their employees.

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