Sickness benefit (sykepenger) to self-employed persons and freelancers

You are entitled to sickness benefit (sykepenger) from the 17th day of absence. For the first 16 calendar days, you can receive sickness benefit if you have taken out insurance.

Particularly during the corona pandemic

Usually you receive sickness benefit from day 17. For sickness leave caused by the coronavirus, you will now receive sickness benefit from day 4.

Until 1 June, you could use self-certification for sickness leave caused by the coronavirus. From now on, you must have a sick note from a doctor from the fourth day you are either sick, suspected of being infected or ordered to be in quarantine. You will still be entitled to sickness benefit from the fourth day when the sickness leave is due to the coronavirus.

Travel advice

NAV can refuse sickness benefits if you do not follow the travel advice and are imposed quarantine on return to Norway. However, this does not apply if you have a commuter job and you have to spend your free periods abroad because you have no place to stay in Norway.

Who can receive sickness benefit?

  • You are a member of the National Insurance Scheme (Folketrygden).
  • You are younger than 70 years.
  • The reason you cannot work is your own illness or injury.
  • You have been working for at least four weeks immediately before you became ill.
  • Your sickness leave is causing you to lose at least 20 percent of your income. The income you lose must be pensionable income, which means income you receive as wages and pay tax on.
  • Your income equals at least fifty per cent of the basic amount in the National Insurance Scheme (1/2 G, Grunnbeløpet).
  • As a freelancer, you must have regular income from assignments.
  • If you receive foster care allowance, you are considered a freelancer. 
  • If you receive carer support (omsorgsstønad) you will be considered a freelancer. You are considered an employee only if you have an agreement with the municipality that indicates a working relationship.

You are not entitled to sickness benefit for the first 16 calendar days calculated from the day you fell ill, unless you have taken out insurance. The 16 days are counted from the date you see a doctor or when NAV is notified (self-certificate, egenmelding) by you that you cannot work due to illness or injury. You can submit your self-certificate to NAV by using Write to us or by calling.

To receive sickness benefit, you must have a sick note from a doctor, chiropractor or manual therapist. Chiropractors or manual therapists can authorise sick note for you for up to 12 weeks if the reason you cannot work is musculoskeletal ailments.

The sick note can usually be issued no earlier than from the date of your appointment with the health professional. If you do not get an appointment on the same day, the day you spoke to the health professional on the phone can be accepted as the start of the sick leave. This assumes that the phone call is followed up by an appointment a few days after the phone call.

If travel is the problem

Can you work, but have trouble travelling to and from your workplace? If so, you may be entitled to travel allowance instead of sickness benefit from the 17th day after you were put on sick leave.

Activities while you are on sick leave

In order to be entitled to sickness benefit, you must attempt work-related activities as early as possible. The main rule is that you have a duty to carry out such activities within eight weeks.

The doctor shall always consider whether there are compelling medical reasons why you must be away from work, both in connection with the first sick leave and later. If you can perform any of your usual tasks, you are to have partial sick note.

In the event of a short-term sick leave, we assess the activity requirement against your job. If your sick leave is long-term, we will also consider whether it is possible for you to work in other jobs.

You can work in combination with sick leave, depending on what the illness or injury allows. You can also return to work before your sick leave is over. You do not need to ask your doctor or NAV first. When you submit your application for sickness benefit, you only fill out when you have started working again.

You will be followed up by NAV when you are on sick leave.

How much are you entitled to?

As a self-employed person or freelancer, you are entitled to sickness benefit from the 17th day of absence.

  • For self-employed persons, sickness benefit accounts for 80 per cent of the sickness benefit basis.
  • For freelancers, sickness benefit amounts to 100 per cent of the sickness benefit basis.

Self-employed persons and freelancers are not entitled to holiday pay from the sickness benefits.

You can take out  insurance to cover much of your income loss.


The calculation is usually based on the average of the pensionable annual income for the last 3 years for which you have received a tax settlement notice, unless there has been a permanent change.

Have permanent changes taken place in the work situation or the business? Or have you recently become self-employed? If so, submit the following to NAV:

  • overview of paid advance tax
  • tax return that has not yet been posted
  • statement from the accountant or auditor if it contains information about pensionable annual income


The calculation is based on the average freelance income reported to the a-ordning scheme for the last three calendar months before you became ill. The rules for calculating sickness benefit are the same as for  arbeidstakere.

The sickness benefit basis is limited upwards to 6 times the basic amount (G).

In the event of partial sick leave you are entitled to sickness benefit for the part you are sick. Sickness benefit can be graded from 100 per cent down to 20 per cent.

If the sick leave is due to an occupational injury

If your sick leave is due to an occupational injury, you may have other rights in addition - if you have taken out voluntary occupational injury insurance. In this case, your sick leave must be entirely due to the occupational injury, and the occupational injury must be approved by NAV.

Read more about occupational injury and illness

When you have several jobs

If you are on sick leave from several jobs, you must have a sick note for each of them. The sickness benefit basis is calculated on the basis of your total income.

If you receive foster care allowance eller carer support in combination with other income, it counts as additional jobs.

If you have income both as a freelancer and as an employee, sickness benefit is paid according to the rules for employees. If you are both a freelancer and self-employed person, sickness benefit is calculated according to a combination of the rules for employees and self-employed persons.

If your client asks to receive the sick note

Since you are not registered in the NAV State Register of Employers and Employees, you will not be able to send the sick note digitally to anyone other than NAV. If the client nevertheless requests the sick note, ask your doctor for a paper copy. You may then give part C to your client.

You can still use the digital sick note and application for sickness benefit with NAV. You will then simply discard Part B and Part D while you keep Part C. Because your diagnosis does not appear in Part C, it is important that you only submit this part.

How long are you entitled to sickness benefit?

You can receive sickness benefit for a maximum of 52 weeks. The time limit is the same whether you are fully or partially on sick leave.

  • Periods 3 years back in time are summed up if there are less than 26 weeks between any of the periods.
  • If you have used all the 52 weeks, 26 weeks must pass without sickness benefit or work assessment allowance in order for you to receive sickness benefit again. (There are some exceptions.)

There are separate rules for those who are between 67 and 70 years of age.

If you are still ill and cannot work when your sickness benefit ends, you may be entitled to other benefits such as work assessment allowance (arbeidsavklaringspenger) or disability benefit (uføretrygd).

How to apply

You apply for sickness benefit once your sick leave period is over. Please state in the application if you have worked some, if you returned earlier than expected, if you have been abroad, in education, etc.

You will receive a message from NAV when the digital application is ready to be completed. You log in and submit your application from

If the sick leave lasts more than 31 days, it will automatically be split up, and you can submit an application for sickness benefit earlier.

Some applicants have to use the paper

In these cases, you must use part D of the paper sick note to apply for sickness benefit:

  • Your sick note concerns travel allowance
  • You do not have BankID or other ID at the highest security level 
  • You have a strictly confidential address in the Population Register

You complete Part D and send it in the post. Find the correct address.

Have you received the sick note at a hospital?

Most hospitals still write the sick note on paper, but these are made digital after they have been sent to NAV from the hospital. After a few days, you will find the paper sick report on in digital version, so you do not need to use the papers you have received, nor to apply for sickness benefit.

You must submit income information

NAV cannot process your application until you have sent us income information. You can send the information from the form guide or by post. Find the correct address.


You can read about processing times to see when you normally will have the money in your account. You can also check payments by logging in to Ditt NAV (Your NAV).

Duty to report changes

Are there changes in your income or job situation? This may affect the amount you are paid from NAV. You must immediately notify NAV in such cases.

Sickness benefit when you are travelling

If you are considering travelling while on sick leave, there are a few things you need to check in advance. If your trip prevents you from fulfilling the duties you have while you are on sick leave, you will not be allowed to keep your sickness benefit. Read about what you need to do before you travel.