The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service administer a large proportion of the most important welfare benefits and social security schemes in Norwegian society. For example, these may be unemployment benefits, sickness benefit, work assessment allowance, disability pension, and retirement pension on reaching pensionable age.

In addition to administering important economic welfare schemes, the Service is to make a contribution to the efficient operation of the labour market. This means that the Service is required by law to provide jobseekers with advice and help, whether they are already unemployed or are merely seeking to change employment. In this context, the Service also provides assistance to employers looking for new staff.

You will find below a short description of the most important statutes that form the basis for the Service’s activities.  There is unfortunately, no official translation of these statutes in English.

The Labour and Welfare Administration Act (Lov om arbeids- og velferdsforvaltningen)

The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service is a new service that was set up on 1 June 2006 when the Directorate of Labour and Welfare took over responsibility for the previous Labour Market Administration and the National Insurance Service. The Labour and Welfare Administration Act concern the purpose of the new Service, its organisational provisions, and its interaction with the individual local authority. The Act lays down important principles of confidentiality, consumer involvement, and its duty to provide information and guidance to the individual user. 

The National Insurance Act (Folketrygdloven)

The National Insurance Act is one of the most important statutes that provides for the central national insurance and welfare schemes in Norway. Within the National Insurance Act, you will find the terms of national insurance membership that are essential to your rights under the Act. You will also find provisions for unemployment benefits, sickness benefits, and benefits related to the course of life and family situations, retirement pension and rules for processing cases.

The Labour Market Act (Arbeidsmarkedsloven)

The aim of the Act is to facilitate an inclusive working life through a well-functioning labour market with high levels of occupational employment and low unemployment. Among other things, the Act imposes duties on employers in connection with job vacancies that the employer seeks to fill, and rules governing mass redundancies and lay-offs. The Act stipulates what basic services and rights you have as a user at your NAV local services office. In addition, the Act regulates employment agencies and hiring of labour. 

The Social Welfare Act (Sosialtjenesteloven)

This Act governs the responsibilities of each local authority in respect of a number of social welfare services provided to the municipality’s inhabitants, like for example, practical help for those with assistance needs, places in institutions and so on. The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service works alongside local authorities on the local offices. It is a condition that local authorities will administer financial assistance benefits at these local offices. This means that applications for financial social welfare must be directed to the local NAV office.