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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

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

Factsheet for measure NO-2020-12/1079 Updated – measures in Norway

New state sector agreement to facilitate working time planning

Avtale mellom de sentrale partene i staten med bakgrunn i koronapandemien 2020

Country Norway , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 16 March 2020 – 15 September 2020
Context COVID-19
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
Measure added 09 September 2020 (updated 14 September 2020)

Background information

On 16 March 2020, the state employer and the central organisations in the state sector (Unio, LO Stat, Akademikerne and YS Stat) made an agreement on reduction of rest period, extension of overtime and amendment to the flexitime agreement. The purpose of the agreement was mainly to help reduce the use of resources in connection with working time planning in the state agencies, and reduce insecurity for the employees, as long as the extraordinary situation related to the coronavirus was ongoing.

Content of measure

On 16 March, the state employer and the central organisations in the state sector (Unio, LO Stat, Akademikerne and YS Stat) made an agreement on reduction of rest period, extension of overtime and amendment to the flexitime agreement.

  • The parties agreed that the minimum rest period between two shifts should be reduced from 11 to 8 hours in agencies which service is essential to society.
  • In such agencies, 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.

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. To make it possible for state employees to work from home and to manage a difficult situation when schools were closed and children had to stay home, the parties to the state sector agreement agreed to postpone the regulation of core time in the flexitime agreement under the current circumstances. The parties agreed that the content of the agreement cannot be invoked or otherwise used in later processes between the parties when the situation is back to normal.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

30 April 2020

The agreement was made valid through 30 April 2020, but has been prolonged until and including 31 May 2020, with the exception of the clause on the abolition of core time in the flexitime agreement, which applies until and including 15 September 2020.

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 state employer and the central organisations in the state sector (Unio, LO Stat, Akademikerne and YS Stat), to facilitate crisis management. By taking such action, the social partners wanted to keep regulation of working time in a collective agreement and avoid provisional legislation.

Views and reactions

The social partners are supportive of regulation through collective agreements and quickly reached an agreement.



Eurofound (2020), New state sector agreement to facilitate working time planning, measure NO-2020-12/1079 (measures in Norway), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

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