Mandatory employee benefits in Norway (mandatory social security scheme) covers every employee and provides universal disability insurance, unemployment benefits, and health insurance for all citizens and residents. However, Norwegian employees are used to a high standard of living and quality benefits as part of a typical career. Even with an excellent social security system, employee benefits are essential in Norway as they help recruit and retain employees and shape an employer’s brand.
Mandatory insured employee benefits in Norway
Workers’ compensation is mandatory by law. The insurance covers injuries and illnesses that occur during working hours and that are related to work. There is no employer’s tax on the workers’ compensation premium, but companies receive a tax deduction for the insurance premium.
Norwegian employers are legally required to finance pension accumulation for their employees. However, the extent and design of a pension plan can vary greatly. The plan only satisfies the minimum legal requirements at its most basic level. In a more comprehensive form, it is a highly valued employee benefit that contributes to increased motivation and loyalty.
Supplementary insured employee benefits in Norway
Leisure accident insurance applies if an accident or injury occurs in leisure time. The insurance applies worldwide and has few exceptions. Coverage and choice of insurance sums are flexible. Leisure accident insurance is a relatively inexpensive insurance.
Most illnesses are caused by factors other than work. These include cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, MS, and musculoskeletal disorders. Sickness insurance is an excellent solution to receive compensation should an illness occur.
Group life insurance provides compensation for death regardless of cause or family situation. The payment does not enter the estate and is usually paid to a spouse or partner. However, the compensation can also be designated to, for example, children. Payment can also be distributed to different people. Spouses, partners, and children should not pay inheritance tax on the tax-free compensation. Group life insurance is a flexible product and can be built up in many ways, and Howden Norway provides advice on various compensation models and assists with related calculations.
Only some working people die before the age of 70, and therefore group life insurance is a relatively inexpensive product.
Many people who are affected by a severe illness face financial challenges. With this insurance, agreed compensation is paid out quickly. Therefore, the payment can be used for experiences or treatment while the course of the illness is in an early stage. Examples of illnesses entitled to compensation are cancer, heart attack and certain heart surgeries, stroke and brain tumors, multiple sclerosis (MS), organ transplantation, and kidney failure.
About 650,000 employees in Norway now have health insurance through their employers. Many employees value health insurance because it provides quick access to assessment, diagnosis, and treatment in the private healthcare sector. Many employers purchase insurance to increase the likelihood of injured or sick employees returning to work as soon as possible.
The health insurance product is constantly evolving, and the current trend is for companies to reduce the number of available physical treatments without referrals. It is becoming common to include psychologists and addiction treatment in insurance. Online medical services that can assist with referrals, sick leave, and prescription renewals without the need to visit a doctor’s office are also becoming more common.
We closely monitor developments in the health insurance market and advise employers to choose the right coverage for their employees.
Travel insurance covers individual employees on business trips and is valid worldwide. The insurance can be covered per employee or as a declaration agreement where the number of annual travel days is agreed upon. Many companies extend business travel insurance to cover employee and their family during their free time. It is also possible to include an accident insurance policy that provides a one-time compensation in case of medical disability or death. Additionally, it is possible to take out travel insurance that includes a medical component for expatriate employees. We find the travel insurance that best suits an employer’s business needs, considering both price and product range.
If an employee becomes disabled and is eligible for a disability pension from the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme (folketrygden), they can receive up to 66% of their previous income as benefits. The maximum benefits an employee can receive depends on their last salary and is calculated based on a maximum pensionable income of 6 times the National Insurance basic amount (folketrygdens grunnbeløp). For those with an above-average income, the loss of income will be dramatic, and a disability pension can help reduce this loss and provide financial stability.
Common employee perks
Flexible work arrangements
The opportunity to work from home, and flexible working hours, is getting more popular. Working from a home office is usually limited to 1-2 days a week. Work outside the domestic home office must be done within tax and labor law regulations.
Gym membership discounts
Larger companies often offer on-site gym facilities or negotiate discounted employee training fees with fitness centers.
Canteen arrangements with subsidized foods are a standard perk. NOK 300-500 is an average amount.
Most employers pay for mobile phones. Some set monthly allowances from NOK 500 –1 000. Some employers also pay for broadband.
Some employers offer cabins in the mountains and/or holiday houses at the seaside to employees (rented or owned by the employer at the employee’s disposal).
Extended maternity/paternity leave
The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) will pay parental benefits to the employer, who will then pay employees in regular pay slips. Benefits from NAV are limited to 6G, which in 2022 was around NOK 668 000.
In many industries, companies top up the maternity leave pay to fill the gap between 6G and actual salary.
This information about employee benefits in Norway is provided by Howden Norway, Asinta’s employee benefits consulting Partner in the country.