Working at HiOA
The first few days in a new country can be quite confusing and intimidating. Not only do you have to get used to a completely new working environment, you also have to attend to a series of practical matters. However, things are not as bad as they may seem. Your contact person in Oslo and Akershus University College is here to help you.
Your contact person at HiOA
Your contact person's (Norwegian: fadder) job is to facilitate your integration into the department you will be working in. It is usually either your manager, one of your colleagues or someone from HR. You may need practical assistance with your initial dealings with the Norwegian authorities, housing and visa needs, and you will get tips and advice to make the move from your country of origin to Norway as smooth as possible.
The name of HiOA’s programme for new staff is HiOA START. Each semester, HiOA organises a full introduction day. An invitation to this introduction day will be enclosed with the employment contract.
A typical ‘first day at work’ begins with the contact person welcoming the new employee and introducing him/her to immediate colleagues. On the same day, the new employee is given an office if required, a computer, a personal E-mail account, a card that gives access to the facilities etc. Please note that some HiOA buildings require that you swipe your entrance card in the lift.
The newcomer and the contact person check to ensure that everything is in order (e.g. that the IT password is valid). Finally, the new employee is briefed on security issues, such as fire emergencies.
During the following days, the immediate superior informs the newcomer about his/her duties and responsibilities, as well as the training needed to reach his/her full potential. At the same time, the contact person sees to it that the new employee is introduced to even more people by participating in work meetings and lunch breaks.
The newcomer also receives detailed information about his/her exact monthly salary, working hours, how much is withheld for income tax and other charges, and when and how he/she receives payment etc.
As an employee at HiOA, there are certain rights and responsibilities that you should be aware of. The most important ones are described in brief here. Further information is available by contacting the Human Resources unit in your department or your manager.
In general, all new employees are hired for a trial period of six months. A mutual period of notice of three weeks applies during this period. During the trial period, it is the duty of the superior officer to advise, supervise and evaluate the work carried out by the appointees. After the trial period is completed, you will have an evaluation talk with your manager.
Working hours and salaries
The working hours are divided in wintertime and summertime. 30 minute lunch time is included in the working hours. In wintertime the normal working hours are 7,75 hours per day (38,75 hours per week) going from 15th of September until 14th of May.
In summertime the normal working hours are 7 hours per day(35 hours per week) starting from May 15th to September 14th. Employees in technical and administrative positions, except maintenance and cleaning staff, have flexible working hours.
Flexible working hours mean that employees can organise their time within the standard working hours of 37.5 hours per week. The core working hours are from 9:00 to 15:00.
Salaries and advance payment
The monthly salary is paid on the 12th of each month.
Employees are entitled to five weeks' holiday , i.e. 25 workdays. Employees over 60 are entitled to one extra week’s holiday. The employer decides when holidays can be taken, but the employee's wishes will be given due consideration.
Extra days off for employees over 62
Employees over the age of 62 can apply for up to ten days off per year. Employees in part-time jobs are given a corresponding amount of time off. A written agreement to this effect is made between the employee and his/her superior officer.
Insurance, pension and loans
As an employee at HiOA, there are certain rights and responsibilities that you should be aware of. The most important ones are described in brief here. Further information is available by contacting the HR unit in your department or your manager.
Membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
As an employee of the university, you automatically become a member of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund (SPK) if you work at least 14 hours per week. As a member you pay a premium of two per cent of your basic salary.
Tenured members of the Public Service Pension Fund(SPK) and members employed temporarily for at least one year working a minimum of 14 hours per week, and retired employees may apply for loans to buy, build or refurbish property, as well as in connection with the administration of an estate or refinancing. See SPKs website
State employees have life insurance cover. This means benefits will be paid in case of death during or outside working hours. Further information about the Public Service Pension Fund (SPK) can be found at www.spk.no
Travel insurance and indemnities
In addition to life insurance and insurance to cover injuries or illness related to work, there are a number of special agreements that contain provisions for insurance or indemnity cover while travelling for the institution. As insurance provider, the government provides insurance to cover damaged and lost luggage and accidents on business trips.
When a trip is paid by credit card, the cardholder is also covered by travel insurance. HiOA has adopted credit cards as a means of payment for travel expenses. The annual credit card fee is paid for employees who travel at least 24 hours a year. More information on insurance and card agreements can be found on the HiOA employee site.
HiOA is an inclusive employment institution and works actively to reduce absence due to illness through prevention and follow-up.
Absence due to illness must be reported to the immediate superior as soon as possible together with information about the possible length of absence.
One to eight calendar days’ absence is registered by the employee in a sick leave form. If the absence exceeds eight days (including weekends), a medical/doctor´s certificate must be submitted to the immediate superior. You must have been employed for at least two months to be entitled to use the self-certification arrangement.
Deadlines for resignation or dismissal
- during the trial period: three weeks
- if the length of service is one year or less: one month
- if the length of service is one year or more: three months
Employees and students at HiOA will be registered as users of the data system and given a username and a password. It is the users' responsibility to protect usernames and passwords in order to avoid unauthorised use. Information on IT security is available in English at the employee website.
HiOA offers Cultural Understanding courses for all of its staff to help provide a better understanding of the Norwegian work culture. What are the cultural differences and how can we use and learn from them, language challenges and how to work in multicultural teams at HiOA. Courses are free for staff.
The dress code at work varies with the place of work. If you have a job that requires you to meet clients or officials, it will be more formal. Working in Academia in Norway is generally informal. Women are not required to wear a skirt and everyone can wear jeans to work. Wearing a full suit and tie is only for special occasions, though this is worn on a daily basis in certain industries such as finance.
Recommended blogpost on work culture in Norway.
A HiOA-blog about living and working in Norway seen from the perspective of an international employee.
Oslo and Akershus University College in collaboration with the University of Oslo offers Norwegian language courses at affordable prices. The courses cover all competence levels. If you already know a little Norwegian, a placement test is held in order to determine your level.
Foreign faculty members must learn Norwegian within two years of taking up employment at HiOA. However, an increasing number of courses at HiOA are taught in English.
Welfare and Activities
As a member of the Oslo and Akershus University College’s staff, you can (and are encouraged to) participate in a wide range of activities that take place both at the organisation’s facilities and at other locations. There are weekly invitations to various cultural events giving you the opportunity to:
- Familiarise yourself with Norway’s history and society through theatrical performances, concerts and other events
- Get to know your colleagues, exchange views and learn about the history of Oslo and Akershus University College and its everyday life
- HiOA International Network on Facebook. This is a closed group where events and information relevant to the international community is posted at regular intervals.
- You can rent a cabin or plan a trip outdoors in Nordmarka both in the summer and winter with the help of The Norwegian Trekking Association.
Cultural activities at HiOA
Note that some events are free, while others will charge you a small fee.
HiOA sports activity offers
HiOA has its own sports activities club for staff called ‘HiOABIL’. Contact the club by mail.
It offers classes in yoga, bozo, spinning, Zumba, aerobics, badminton, Ping-Pong, football, indoor bandy, thai Chi, tennis, orientation sport as well as running teams that participate in major marathons during spring, summer and autumn. In addition, you can participate in football and tennis leagues where you can defend HiOAs honour. The fee is only NOK 100 a year. To join, you have to deposit the annual NOK 100 fee into bank account number 05305481221 stating your name and department. You will then receive an email with confirmation and information about all the activities you can take part in.
All HiOA employees working in a 50 % position or more can add one hour per week for exercise in conjunction with work during working hours, as long as it is outside of core working hours. In addition, HiOABIL holds an event to promote physical activity every winter and spring that is open to all staff.
Your employment at HiOA entitles you to good discounts on membership of a number of gyms. Tom Syvertsen for information about the latest discounts.