3.1 Permanent employment as a general rule

Permanent employment is the general rule under Norwegian law, and the use of temporary employment should be kept to a minimum. There is no reason why there should be more temporary employees in the research and knowledge sector than in working life in general, where the proportion over time has been below 9%. As a rule, new appointments should occur after announcement, to ensure observance of the qualifications principle. Permanent employment and job security are of great importance for the individual, for the academic quality and for the working environment at the enterprises.

One of the goals of the Act Relating to State Employees (2017) was to limit the use of temporary employment in the state sector. Following the new act, employees in externally funded positions did not get stronger employment protection. With increasing external funding, the work to better the employment protection for this group will be important this period. At the same time, efforts must be made for more long-term and predictable research funding.

The use of temporary employment is still a major issue in the research and knowledge sector, and a significant obstacle to good recruitment. This is especially true in the university and college sector, which is still the worst in this area. Studies show that job insecurity is the main reason why young researchers, and especially women, do not want to recommend other young people a research career.

NAR strives to ensure that:

  • Restrictions are imposed on temporary employment under both the Working Environment Act and the State Employees Act.
  • The right to use fixed-term employment under the Universities and University Colleges Act is limited.
  • The use of temporary employment in the education and research sector is reduced down to the level in working life in general.
  • External funding does not weaken workers’ rights.
  • Two years of employment as a research fellow/PhD candidate are included in calculation of the service period.
  • Employers at all levels follow the intentions of the legislation.

3.2 Working hours

Several surveys show that NAR's members must use their free time to get their work done, and that there is generally too much cross-pressure between requirements and expectations related to research and teaching and other tasks.

The provisions on working hours in the Working Environment Act and collective agreements are under pressure. Employers want their employees to be more flexible with regard to what is defined as normal working hours. For instance, employers try to enter into collective agreements on average calculation of working hours without sufficient compensation and rest periods for deviating working time arrangements.

For groups of employees whose working hours are controlled by work plans, it is essential that the work plans are realistic so that the tasks assigned can be carried out within normal working hours. The factors that form the basis for calculating the time spent on the various tasks must be subject to co-determination so that the employer cannot unilaterally make changes to the factors. In several cases, administrative cuts are camouflaged by the fact that scientific staff receives more tasks.

NAR will strive to ensure that:

  • The duties of employees can be completed in the course of ordinary working hours, in order to make it possible to combine full-time work, family and leisure in all phases of life.
  • Work plans must be realistic, the workload factors in the work plans should be negotiated, and the work plans should form the basis for assessment and compensation of additional work and overtime work.
  • Additional work shall be compensated with pay and / or time off according to statutory and contractual agreements.
  • Increased workload as a result of extraordinary events is compensated for everyone, including employees in particularly independent positions.

3.3 Maintaining and developing co-determination

The Norwegian model of tripartite cooperation, both locally and centrally, has contributed to ensuring Norway's increased productivity, economic growth, and good welfare development. Local co-determination constitutes the basis for tripartite cooperation and the Norwegian model.

Surveys indicate that working life is moving in a more authoritarian direction, that many employees experience less influence over their own work situation, and that employers do not respect the co-determination arrangements of the Basic Agreement. Downsizing, restructuring and changes in work processes are occurring more frequently than before. This increases the need for a real dialogue between the individual employee, union representatives, safety representatives and the employer. NAR will maintain and further develop established and contractual rights to co-determination.

Transparency is fundamental to the opportunity to exercise co-determination and participation. Openness and transparency in public enterprise is an important tool for employees and citizens to have the opportunity to investigate that everything is going well, that equal treatment takes place, that resources are managed correctly, and not least so that leaders and politicians can be held accountable.

NAR will strive to ensure that:

  • The Basic Agreement's intentions of equal parties and co-determination are followed.
  • Staff co-determination according to collective agreements is evaluated and strengthened at every level.
  • Adequate resources are allocated to the work of union representatives.
  • Joint training in the agreement framework for the parties locally is carried out regularly.
  • Reorganisation agreements should be drawn up for all reorganisation processes.
  • The regulations that refer to reorganisation and downsizing are strengthened, and co-determination and genuine influence are ensured for union representatives during reorganisation processes.
  • All enterprises practice the greatest possible transparency about their own activities and

3.4 Union representatives

Local union representatives in the workplace are a prerequisite for the Norwegian model of co-determination and social dialogue to work in practice. The importance of the role as union representative must be recognized and it is important to facilitate good recruitment to the position.

Recruitment to positions as union representative is fundamental for NAR to be able to fulfil its role in the social dialogue at the workplaces. Recruitment of new union representatives is therefore a task that employers should also facilitate.

NAR will strive to ensure that:

  • Union representative work is safeguarded, valued, and prioritized by the management in the exercise of official duties.
  • Schemes are established which make it attractive for knowledge workers and especially scientific staff to assume office as local union representatives.
  • Funds are set aside for training of union representatives in all bargaining areas.
  • The work as a union representative is made visible in the individual's position and working hours.
  • Elected union representatives are ensured through agreements to have the necessary time and resources for professional update after their term.
  • The position as union representative is emphasized in the individual's further career.

3.5 Academic freedom as a fundamental premise

Intellectual freedom is a fundamental prerequisite for all truth-seeking business and for all artistic creation, and it is important for safeguarding and strengthening democracy. Academic freedom must therefore be a normative right for anyone involved in research.

Confidence in research depends on the researchers being free and without ties, and that research results are continuously the subject of critical testing by other researchers. There is a special responsibility on universities and colleges to ensure this, which requires that the research institutions are autonomous, that the researchers are given the opportunity to choose their topic and method, to publish research results, and that research and teaching take place according to established ethical and professional standards.

Several impulses and trends are putting academic freedom under renewed pressure: the increasing emphasis on utility values, strategic specialisation and external funding, the disappearance of collegiate bodies, the growing number of scientific personnel employed in temporary positions, changes in public administration’s use of research and several cases involving distrust in and misuse of research. The undermining of academic freedom not only compromises the quality of research, but also weakens informed and critical societal debate and confidence in research-based knowledge.

NAR will strive to ensure that:

  • Parliament, the government, and the political parties respect the independence of research, and strive for an enlightened, knowledge-based public debate.
  • The legally-mandated academic freedom is observed in practice in the higher education sector.
  • Research institutes, health trusts and the archive, library and museum sector incorporate the principle of academic freedom in their regulations and planning documents.
  • All research projects are based on contracts that safeguard the academic freedom of researchers and their right and duty to publish their findings.
  • Academia is a place with freedom of expression, where discussions take place within the framework of a good and open debate climate for students and staff.
  • The researchers' right to choose their publication channel is safeguarded.

3.6 Immaterial rights

NAR strives to protect members’ intellectual property rights to works created in the employment relationship. With the transition to open research and increasing digitalisation come new issues related to licensing in the sharing of data and scientific publication, as well as rights to and reuse of teaching materials. Clear rules are needed to ensure that employees’ works are not misused or exploited in such a way that infringes on the originator's rights. The transition to digital teaching materials has highlighted the need for national schemes that safeguard employees' rights in connection with the reuse of digital teaching materials.

There is a growing expectation for institutions in the research and knowledge sector to contribute to innovation and renewal. This highlights the need to safeguard employees’ rights in innovation processes. Contact with business and industry must be safeguarded in such a way that research remains independent and in line with current competition concerns in society in general.

NAR will strive to ensure that:

  • Enterprises have an IPR policy that protects the intellectual property rights of academic staff, also in professional cooperation between several institutions.
  • Good conveyance clauses are established in contracts of employment that do not oblige
    employees to transfer intellectual property rights to a greater extent than is necessary for the employment contracts to achieve their purposes.
  • All digital teaching, both in terms of teaching materials and online lectures is based on time- and project-specific agreements on the transfer of rights.
  • Employees' rights related to the reuse of digital teaching materials are clarified at the national level, and a scheme is established for compensation for such reuse.
  • Employees' intellectual property rights in connection with innovation activities, patenting and entrepreneurship are safeguarded.
  • The objective of open research and open education presupposes facilitation of knowledge
    sharing that safeguards the rights and professional integrity of knowledge workers.
  • The right to publish is not hindered by a lack of funding.
  • Necessary training is provided to employees in connection with the transition to open research, within the framework of existing agreements and working hours.

3.7 Diversity and equal opportunities

Diversity implies a width of perspectives, innovation, and expertise, provides better task solving and contributes to the enterprises being better equipped for future challenges. No one shall experience discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion and belief, functional ability, sexual orientation, gender identity or age.

The research and knowledge sector is still characterised by gender imbalance, in several disciplines and in academic executive positions. The reasons why women are less likely than men to reach the top in an academic career are complex. Surveys show that women, on average, use their free time to work to a lesser extent than men, and that they are overrepresented when it comes to temporary employment in teaching and research positions. Therefore, measures to reduce the use of temporary employment and to facilitate that tasks can be solved within normal working hours are important from a gender equality perspective.

NAR will strive to ensure that:

  • The knowledge base on diversity and equality beyond gender is strengthened.
  • Unequal treatment is uncovered.
  • Employees and students are not discriminated against.
  • The institutions have strategies for recruiting people with disabilities and ethnic minorities among both students and staff.
  • There is gender balance in all positions.
  • The authorities and the institutions set target figures to increase the share of women in
    executive positions in research and academia.
  • Institutions have strategies for recruitment of the underrepresented gender among both
    students and staff.
  • Institutions have strategies for dealing with harassment and sexual harassment.


3.8 Personnel and life stage policy

A good life stage policy involves employees being given working conditions that enable them to use their work capacity and resources in the best possible way throughout their careers.

All employees should experience good and safe working conditions as well as good physical and mental working environment. It is important to create a working environment with respect for diversity and where preventive attitude work is conducted. Employees who experience unwanted attention and unacceptable behaviour should know how to report such incidents.

NAR will follow the development of digitization and robotics and the consequences for the employees in the knowledge and research sector. Furthermore, the association will follow up the development of workplace organisation in new constructions and upgrading of building stock, with emphasis on what creates inspiration and good working conditions for the individual employee. More and more people work from home and the employer's responsibility to ensure a good working environment at the home office thus becomes more important.

NAR will strive to ensure that:

  • As far as possible, employees are given a chance to adapt their responsibilities to their life situation.
  • Good mentoring schemes and systems for the transfer of competence and networks are
    established by all institutions.
  • The intentions and goals of creating an inclusive working life are realized.
  • All enterprises have an open, positive, and safe climate with regard to freedom of expression.
  • The enterprises have good whistleblowing routines and practice the rules on whistleblowing in line with the intention in the legislation.
  • Employees in research and knowledge institutions are ensured satisfactory and suitable workplaces adapted to the work tasks.
  • Design of new buildings and upgrading of building stock must take place through active user participation in the planning.
  • The employer takes care of the health, environment and safety of employees who work from home and offers the necessary equipment to the employee.

3.9 Follow-up of the Sustainable Development Goals

In the autumn of 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted an agenda for sustainable development with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 sub goals to be met by 2030. The sustainable development goals reflect the three dimensions of sustainable development: climate and environment, economy, and social conditions. The sustainable development goals are comprehensive and mutually dependent on each other and must be seen in context. All countries have committed themselves to working to achieve the sustainability goals.

Research-based knowledge is important for achieving all the sustainable development goals. Achieving the sustainable development goals through the work of promoting research, education, gender equality and a decent working life is part of NAR's core activity. This includes working to ensure that research-based knowledge is used, strengthening academic freedom and trust in research, integrating sustainable development goals in teaching at all levels where relevant.

NAR will strive to ensure that:

  • Sustainability work takes place within the framework of social dialogue and with the
    participation of employees.
  • Responsibilities imposed on institutions and companies are manageable and specific.