Parental benefit

Parental benefit is intended to ensure parents an income in connection with the birth or adoption of a child.

Information about new rules for parental benefit from July 1, 2018.

Who is entitled to parental benefit?

You are eligible for parental benefit if you have been gainfully employed and have had a pensionable income for at least 6of the 10 months prior to the start of the parental benefit period. All the days that you have been working, are included. Idle days are also included, provided that the working period has lasted at least four weeks, and that there are no more than 14 idle days between each day of work. If you have been working in another EEA-country, this period may be added to your earning period in Norway. However, your last employment must be/have been in Norway when you start your parental benefit period.

If you have an agreement with Your employer to follow scheduled shifts, the days you are not working will also be included, even if you work less than every 14. days.

Your annual income must exceed at least half of the National Insurance basic amount (G). Periods when you have received any of the following are considered equivalent to work:

  • sickness benefit
  • parental benefit
  • pregnancy benefit
  • care benefit in connection with a child's or child's caregiver's illness
  • attendance and training allowance
  • unemployment benefit
  • work assessment allowance
  • Cash benefits for care (Omsorgsstønad - text in Norwegian)

Other circumstances may also be equivalent to gainful employment. These include:

  • payments from employer in connection with further or continuing education
  • stand-off severance pay
  • military or civilian initial service or mandatory civil defence service
  • pay from employer after termination of employment

If you aren't entitled to parental benefit, you may be entitled to lump-sum grant.

The parental benefit period is split in three parts: maternal quota, paternal quota (also called paternity leave) and a shared period. The father is only entitled to the paternal quota if the mother has accumulated parental benefit rights. If the mother has not accumulated such rights, the father may have accumulated independent parental benefit rights.

If you want to use parental benefit at the same  time, there are certain restrictions. Read more about concurrent claims.

How much will you receive?

If you are employed, the parental benefit basis is normally calculated on the basis of your income at the start of the leave.

Employees are also entitled to holiday pay based on their parental benefit. It's only the first 12 or 15 weeks (depending your degree of coverage) of the total Parental benefit period that entitles you to holiday pay from NAV (text in norwegian).

If you are self-employed or a freelance worker, your parental benefit is normally calculated on the basis of your average pensionable income stated in the Tax assessment you have received  the last three years.

Parental benefit is paid in accordance with a daily rate. One parental benefit week is equivalent to five benefit days. This means you will not be paid parental benefit for Saturdays and Sundays.

NAV does not cover the part of your income exceeding six times the National Insurance basic amount.

How long can you claim parental benefit?

When you apply for parental benefit, you must choose between 100 percent or 80 percent degree of coverage The total benefit period for parental benefit in the case of a birth, is 49 weeks at 100 percent coverage, and 59 weeks at 80 percent coverage. The parents must choose the same degree of coverage.

3 of the weeks (15 Business Days) in the Parental benefit period are reserved for the mother and must be used prior to the due date. These weeks can not be used after the child is born. If the delivery takes place for example one week before due date, you'll not get this week back later in the parental benefit period.

If the delivery takes place after the due date, these days will be subtracted from the shared period.

The mother may start the parental benefit period up to 12 weeks before due date. In these cases, time that exceeds 3 weeks, will be withdrawn from the shared period. 

At adoption, the Parental benefit period starts when you assume care of the child. The total benefit period for parental benefit for adoption, is thus 46 weeks at 100 percent coverage, and 56 weeks at 80 percent coverage.

The total parental benefit paid will be greater if you choose 100 percent coverage. Some families choose to draw parental benefits at 100 percent coverage, and then follow up with unpaid leave. If you take unpaid leave for more than 14 days, this may affect your rights to sickness benefit and attendance allowance.

In the event of multiple births or adopting several children at the same time, the parental benefit period is extended by five weeks per additional child if you have chosen 100 percent coverage. If you have chosen 80 percent coverage, the period is extended by seven weeks per additional child.

Distribution of leave

The maternal and paternal quotas are 10 weeks each.

The first 6 weeks after birth are reserved for the mother, and come out of the maternal quota.

The shared period is the remainder of the parental benefit period after the 3 weeks prior to the due date and the 10 weeks with paternal quota and the 10 weeks with maternal quota is subtracted. The shared period is therefore 26 or 36 weeks long, depending on whether you've chosen 100 percent og 80 percent degree of coverage. If the delivery takes place after the due date, these days will be subtracted from the shared period. The rest of the shared period can be distributed between you as you choose.

The mother may choose to start drawing parental benefits up to 12 weeks before her due date. In these cases, this will be subtracted from the shared period.

If the father wishes to use some of the weeks in the shared period for his leave, there are certain conditions the mother has to meet in terms occupational activity. If the father wishes to postpone his paternal quota, he must submit an application to that effect. In order to prevent loss of benefit days, NAV must have received this application no later than the final day of the shared period.

You do not have to complete the entire period of parental benefit in one continuous time frame. For example, you may postpone your period of parental benefit if you become ill or injured and need someone to help you take care of your child, or if you wish to work full-time. This is called graded parental benefit.

You are not entitled to parental benefit after the child has turned three or more than three years have passed since you assumed care for the child. If you still have unclaimed benefit days at this time, you will waive your rights to these benefit days.

If you have another child before the parental benefit period for the first child has been fully used, you lose the right to claim benefit for any remaining weeks for the first child. However, you are entitled to a full period of parental benefit for the second child. The new benefit period starts three weeks before the due date.

If the mother has sole parental responsibility for the child, she may apply to have the paternal quota transferred to her. Families may also agree that the father uses parts of the parental benefit period, including the paternal quota.

Co-mothers have the same rights as fathers.

Conditions in the case of adoption

The child must be under the age of 15 for you to be eligible for parental benefit.

Normally, parental benefit is not paid in cases involving adoption of a spouse's child from another relationship, except if you adopt the child during the parental benefit period.

How do you apply for parental benefit?

You must submit an application for parental benefit - maternal quota,  paternal quota and the shared period. In order to receive parental benefit in time and prevent you from waiving your rights, you must apply at the right time.

You can apply for parental benefit/postponement electronically at the self-service option “Ditt NAV”.

Your employer can claim a refund from the National Insurance Scheme if he or she pays you your full wage during your parental leave. To do this, your employer must tick the relevant box on the income and tax information form, stating that he or she wants the parental benefit paid to them. However, as the employee, you must still submit a separate application for parental benefit in order for your employer to get a refund.

If you have any questions, you can contact NAV at tel.: 55 55 33 33.

Coming from or going abroad

If you are moving abroad and are receiving parental benefit from NAV, you must check whether you can still receive your parental benefit.

If you have worked in another EEA member state, this period may be added to your qualification period in Norway for entitlement to parental benefit. However, your last place of employment before you start your parental benefit period must have been in Norway.

Report changes

If your income or family and/or work situation changes, or you are planning a stay abroad, this may significantly affect the amount of benefits paid by NAV. That is why you must report any changes to NAV immediately.

If you want to postpone, grade or change the parental benefit period, you have to make an application. 


For information about payment dates, see Payment dates, holiday pay and tax withholding.

You can also check your payments using the Utbetalingsoversikt service. 

Most of the main information about your entitlements and duties is available here in English. There are also links to other more detailed information; however, some of this information is only available in Norwegian.