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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case NO-2020-12/1073 – measures in Norway

Hospitals: New collective agreement expands access to overtime

Avtale om utvidede rammer for overtidsarbeid i sykehus i forbindelse med koronavirusepidemien

Country Norway , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 15 March 2020 – 13 September 2020
Type Bipartite collective agreements
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Change of work arrangements (working time, rota schemes)
Author Aasmund Arup Seip, FAFO and Eurofound
Case created 08 September 2020 (updated 27 January 2021)

Background information

To facilitate the adaption to crisis management during the COVID-19 crisis, the Employers’ Association Spekter and the central organisations in the hospital sector (Unio, LO Stat, Akademikerne and YS Stat ) on 15 March made an agreement on working time. The measures were introduced to make it possible on short notice to increase staffing in hospitals and other associated institutions, and, for infection control reasons, to reduce the number of shifts and unnecessary movement of staff between different wards.

Content of measure

On 15 March, the Employers’ Association Spekter and the central organisations in the hospital sector (Unio, LO Stat, Akademikerne and YS Stat) made an agreement on working time. The agreement was made pursuant to section 10-12 (4) in the Working Environment Act that gives larger trade unions right to enter into a collective agreement that deviates from the law's working hours provisions.

The collective agreement expanded the limits to overtime (from 10 to 20 hours per 7 days), and gave the employer the opportunity to averaging working hours. The limit of total working hours in any 24-hour period were raised from 10 to 16 hours. According to the agreement, employers are obliged to discuss the use of overtime with shop stewards before overtime work under the agreement is implemented. The agreement states that overtime cannot be imposed pursuant to the agreement when the extraordinary situation associated with coronavirus no longer exists. The validity period of the agreement was originally 26 weeks, and the agreement could be terminated with two month's notice from each of the parties.

Use of measure

No information to date.


  • Health and safety
  • Working time flexibility

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Workers in care facilities
Workers in essential services
Companies providing essential services
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Social partners jointly
Trade unions
Employers' organisations
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


The collective agreement on working time during the COVID-19 pandemic was negotiated by the parties, the Employers’ Association Spekter and the central organisations in the hospital sector (Unio, LO Stat, Akademikerne and YS Stat), on initiative from the state and the social partners jointly, to facilitate crisis management. By taking such action, the social partners wanted to keep regulation of working time in a collective agreement and avoid state intervention.

Views and reactions

The social partners are supportive of regulation through collective agreements and reached an agreement in short time.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      Q - Human Health And Social Work Activities Q86 Human health activities
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Health associate professionals
      Health professionals



Eurofound (2020), Hospitals: New collective agreement expands access to overtime, case NO-2020-12/1073 (measures in Norway), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.