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Norwegian public holidays: How to maximise your annual leave in 2022

If you're already dreaming about time off work in 2022, it's worth knowing how to make the most of the Norwegian holiday calendar.
If you're already dreaming about time off work in 2022, it's worth knowing how to make the most of the Norwegian holiday calendar. Photo by S Migaj on Unsplash
Gearing up to start the new year by planning your next holiday? We're here to make sure you make the most out of the Norwegian holiday calendar in 2022.

Ferieloven

Family and work-life balance isn’t just an idea here in Norway. It’s practiced. And there are laws set in place to make it easier to do so. The Holiday Act, or ferieloven, is intended to ensure that employees receive an annual holiday.

Holiday pay, which is a part of this legislation, protects employees from losing out on salary during holiday periods. Wage earners are entitled to four weeks and one day of paid holiday each calendar year. While four weeks and one day is the law, it is common for most companies to have a five-week arrangement in place.

Note that your boss must approve your days off, so it’s a good idea to let them know of your vacation plans as soon as possible so they can prepare for your leave.

With holiday pay secured, and your time off approved, you can consider attaching some of the national public holidays to the beginning or end of your paid leave, to maximise your free time.

What are the national public holidays in Norway?

There are 12 days in the calendar year that are considered ‘red days’ or national public holidays. Red days are when most shops, public offices, and many attractions are closed. But before you start making plans, check with your employer. Depending on where you work, these are not guaranteed days off.

Below is a list of the red days in 2022.

Source: Public Holiday Global

Is 2022 a good year or a bad year?

Some public holidays such as Easter are always linked to certain weekdays, while others float around and land on different days of the week. This is why your colleagues in Norway might currently be discussing if 2022 is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ year in terms of the amount of ‘free’ days you get off.

If you look at the weekdays on which the public holidays fall next year, you’ll quickly see that 2022 is, unfortunately, a bad year with 5 of the 12 public holidays landing on a Saturday or Sunday. Most Norwegians cross their fingers hoping for public holidays to land in the middle of the working week so they can take as few holiday days as possible and attach them to a national public holiday to squeeze out a longer vacation.

If Christmas is typically the time you like to get away for an extended period of time, then next year is definitely not your year. The 2022 Christmas period is especially bad, with Boxing Day the only public holiday that does not fall on a weekend.

Don’t forget about the schools

If you have children in kindergarten or primary school, take note of the school’s pre-planned planleggingsdager or “planning days”.

On these days, parents are by law allowed to take days free from work to care for their children as the school is closed. But they should let their work supervisors know as soon as possible and it usually counts as a personal leave day.

Many schools choose to have their planleggingsdager on the tail end of public holiday weekends or holidays and many parents plan or extend their holidays around these days as they have to be away from work anyway.

In addition to keeping track of schools’ planning days, it also helps to factor in when week-long winter and autumn breaks or vinterferie and høstferie are placed, even if you don’t have school-age children. This is because traffic tends to be heavier, and the prices of travel tickets and accommodations increase around those weeks.

Use your avspasering

Depending on the company you work for, overtime hours are generally collected and exchanged for extra time off instead of overtime pay.

Avspasering (the equivalent of ‘time in lieu’) can usually be used to extend an already planned holiday or for an unscheduled day off. Find out how your company adds overtime and whether it’s up to you to keep track of your hours. And remember to factor in your overtime hours when planning your holidays.

Plan ahead to ensure you get the holiday you want

Daydreaming about your upcoming trip may be the best part of having your holidays planned far in advance, but it’s also necessary in some cases. We’re not the only ones doing our homework and looking ahead to schedule the best time of year to take time off work: hotels and travel companies are well aware of the peak times of year as well and tend to increase their prices on popular travel days.

To ensure you get on your desired flight time, and get the room with the best view, book your holiday as far in advance as possible, especially if it is during a popular week or weekend.

Remember to actually relax

The popular saying “I need a holiday from my holiday” rings true for a reason. The reality of travel, and the pressure to experience as much in as little time as possible often leaves many of us exhausted and far from re-energized to get back to work. So don’t forget to really relax. It’s your holiday. As the pandemic rages on, it may be the best excuse to plan a relaxing “staycation”, or a few weekend jaunts not far from home in 2022.

READ ALSO: Fellesferie: Everything you need to know about Norway’s collective holiday period


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