Employment law

Employment law agreements

The legal basis for any employment relationship is an agreement. Pursuant to the Norwegian Working Environment Act, employers are also required to ensure that employees have written employment contracts, which must be updated in the event of any changes. Nevertheless, there are many unique characteristics of employment relationships that distinguish them from other contractual relationships. One such unique characteristic is the fact that employment relationships are regulated by law to a far greater extent than other contractual relationships. Another characteristic is the fact that most employment contracts are not time-limited and often have a long duration, perhaps spanning decades. This means that written employment contracts need to be supplemented, interpreted and appended to a much greater extent than other agreements.

The legal basis for any employment relationship is an agreement.

In working life, however, there are also a number of other agreements that are entered into in addition to the employment contract. These may include non-disclosure agreements, remote working agreements, non-competition agreements following the termination of the employment, incentive agreements (e.g. bonus schemes) or pensions. Some of these agreements are governed by law while others are not, and some are entered into with the employer company while others are entered into with e.g. a parent company or another company within the same group as the employer company. There are great variations and the issues that arise can be varied.

Many employers also enter into other agreements that have similarities with employment contracts but that are not employment contracts. These could include contractor agreements (e.g. temporary employees) or the purchase of services in which labour and the performance of work are central elements. These agreements also give rise to many employment law questions, including whether the agreements are lawful and whether the individuals to which the agreements apply are entitled to become permanent employees or have actually been permanent employees all along.

In addition to agreements relating to or between individual employees, there are also collective agreements, i.e. wage agreements. Virtually the entire public sector and large parts of the private sector are bound by wage agreements. Collective contract law is a unique discipline that is subject to separate rules for the interpretation, application and resolution of disputes arising in relation to wage agreements.

Homble Solheim has extensive experience of drawing up, negotiating and interpreting agreements, as well as of dispute resolution in relation to working life agreements.