Work, travels in connection with work and working from home

Byggeplass med arbeidere

HalfPoint s. r. o. / Mostphotos

Infection control at work

Working from home is recommended for those who can. Yet many workplaces depend on employees being physically present at work.  Measures for infection control are important in these situations. The three key measures are:

  • Stay at home if you are sick
  • Keep a distance to others
  • Maintain good hand hygiene

Stay at home if you are sick

If you develop symptoms of a coronavirus infection you should stay at home and contact the local health services in order to get tested. If the test result comes back negative, you will be able to return to work provided your general condition is good (you feel well with no fever). This applies even if some symptoms of a respiratory infection still linger. Refer to the flow chart at NIPH for when to return to work.

Keep a distance to others

The workplace should facilitate for a distance between employees of at least one metres at all times. Depending on the area available, considerations should be made as to how many persons can be present.  Flexible working hours should be facilitated in order to reduce contact between people, and efforts should be made to ensure that the same persons are present on the same shifts or teams.

Maintain good hand hygiene and routines for cleaning

Employees should be offered adequate opportunities to maintain good hand hygiene. An alcohol-based disinfectant will also be effective and can serve as an alternative if hand washing with soap is unavailable. Handles, sinks, toilets, and other frequently touched objects should be cleaned frequently. For more information, refer to the guidelines for infection control at workplaces and when working from home (helsedirektoratet.no) (in Norwegian).

Travels in connection with work

Requirement for presenting a negative test result upon entry

When entering Norway as a foreign traveller, you must present documentation of a test for the coronavirus taken within 72 hours prior to entry. If you do not present documentation of a negative test result, you might be refused entry.

Valid test methods are the standard PCR-based analysis or the rapid antigen-based test. The documentation must be issued in Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, English, French or German.

There are some exceptions to the requirement, including:

  • The requirement shall not apply to Norwegian citizens, persons who are resident in Norway or persons in transit.
  • Persons with a confirmed (laboratory tested) COVID-19 infection within the last six months are exempt.
  • The requirement does not apply to persons who regularly travel / commute to Norway from Sweden or Finland in order to work or study. (Separate requirements apply for healthcare professionals.)
  • Personnel in critical public functions related to matters of life and health can be exempted.

For a complete list of exceptions, see the COVID-19 regulations (lovdata.no – in Norwegian).

Travel quarantine

As a general rule, anyone arriving in Norway should stay in quarantine for 10 days after the date of their arrival. Violation of the quarantine duty is a criminal offence. See how to implement your quarantine.

The quarantine should be implemented at a quarantine hotel, in your own home in Norway or at another suitable place of residence with a separate, single room as arranged by your employer. The cost of staying at a quarantine hotel will be NOK 1500 per night per employee for companies.

Exceptions apply to certain employees or contractors during work, pending they follow a specific test regime as described below.

During work refers to the time you spend at work or while travelling between your place of work or assignment and your home or other place of residence. Leisure time refers to the time not spent at work or while travelling for work as defined above. If you are exempt from quarantine dury on the basis of work, you must be in quarantine during leisure time.

If you are exempt from quarantine duty, you should avoid close contact with others than those you live with as far as possible. If you develop symptoms of a coronavirus infection you will have to go into quarantine until your test result comes back negative.

Exceptions for long-haul truck drivers and train personnel

Long-haul truck drivers and train personnel who arrive in Norway from red areas or countries are exempt from travel quarantine when crossing the border into Norway. The exemption applies only during work. The person should be in travel quarantine during leisure time.

Exceptions for certain employees or contractors: Testing at least every seven days

You may be exempt from quarantine if you are:

  • An employee or contractor who frequently arrives in Norway (more than once during a 15-day period) from a red area in Sweden or Finland on your way from where you live to where you work.
  • A student in higher education or a student commuting from a red area in Sweden or Finland into Norway.
  • Flight crew arriving in Norway by aircraft who have been to – and have left the aircraft in - a red area.

You may be exempt from quarantine during work if you follow a specific test regime that involve testing for the coronavirus:

  • at least every seven days

or

  • the first day you arrive Norway followed by every seven days, if eight, nine or ten days have passed since you were tested in Norway.

Your employer or client should arrange for and pay for the testing. For pupils and students, the educational institution or school owner is responsible.

The exception applies only during work. If you have time off in Norway – either between work sessions or prior to leaving the country – you must stay in travel quarantine during this leisure time.

You do not need any special type of documentation, but you must be able to prove that the exception applies to you. For example, your employer may provide you with a written confirmation of your employment in Norway and that you live in Sweden. This can be shown when you cross the border.

Exceptions for employees travelling from the EEA/Switzerland region

You may be exempt from quarantine during work if you are:

  • An employee arriving in Norway from countries or areas in the EEA/Switzerland region with a low level of infection.*

*At present, this only applies to very few areas or countries within the EEA/Switzerland region. Please refer to the map at fhi.no of the relevant countries and areas.

If you have been in a country or area with a particularly high level of infection, you will not be granted an exception to the quarantine duty. You can therefore not start working until your 10-day quarantine duty period is completed.

Before you can enter Norway in order to work, you must present documentation on a negative coronary test taken within 72 hours prior to entry.

To be exempt, you must undergo a test regime that involves that you:

  • provide a negative test result for the coronavirus after arriving in Norway
  • are tested every three days during the entire 10-day quarantine period
  • live in solitude / single room throughout the quarantine period

The employer shall provide for and fund the testing regime.

The single room requirement does not apply if you implement your quarantine duty in your own home.

You are under quarantine duty both during work and leisure time until your first test result comes back negative.

Exceptions for travels in connection with international sports events

The exception applies to:

  • football players and support staff who arrive in Norway to participate in or who are returning from international matches and club tournaments organised by UEFA at a senior level

You are exempt from quarantine during work if:

  • your first test after arriving in Norway comes back negative.

You may be exempt from quarantine also during leisure time if:

  • your second test comes back negative, and
  • the two tests are taken with at least 48 hours in between, and
  • the second test is taken no earlier than day five after arrival.

Opportunity for the entity's management to grant exemptions for personnel in critical public functions

The employer/client is under duty to plan their operations in a way that exceptions from the quarantine rules can be minimized. Exceptions to travel quarantine rules during work can be granted if a test regime cannot be carried out due to time restrictions and when strictly necessary in order to maintain proper operation of critical public functions or meet the basic needs of the population. Exectrions to transmission quarantine rules can ony be granted in cases related to matters of life and health.

These are functions such as:

Exceptions only apply during work. Avoid close contact with other persons as far as possible.

Rules for international leisure travels

If you travel abroad to visit family, you are by definition travelling for pleasure and not for business. If you live and work in Norway and go abroad to visit family, you will therefore not be exempt from quarantine duty.

Read more about international travels.

More information about quarantine, entry and regulations

Working from home

At present the recommendations are that we all – if possible – work from home. For many of us this might lead to a reduced level of physical activity and a reduced level of social contact. It is therefore important that we take action to maintain a certain level of both physical activity and social contact during our workday.

Tips on how to maintain your physical and mental health while working from home:

  • Maintain a daily rhythm that resembles a normal day at work
  • Treat yourself to a daily dose of daylight, fresh air and some light exercise either before or after work - or during your lunch break if it is feasible.
  • Arrange for regular appointments and social "coffee breaks" each day – digital channels allow for both business meetings and less formal social gatherings.

See the webpages of the Norwegian Directorate of Health for points to assess for the use of home offices (in Norwegian).