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What are my rights?

Faroese Workers Union is committed to pursuing the interests of our Trade Union members. The work we do is aimed at bridging the gap between workers’ rights and their employers’ expectations. We ensure our partners are empowered by creating opportunities for individuals to join forces and lend their voice in the decision-making process.
As a member of the Faroese Workers Union, you will benefit from the negotiations that the Faroese Workers’ Union has with the employers. We have a general agreement and several special agreements for various aspects of work.
A number of rights concerning wage, work hours, age wage addition, other sorts of wage additions, overtime, insurance, pension, trade union representatives and free time are established in the agreement. All workers must also be given employment papers that specify the circumstances surrounding the employment.   
The work hours are normally between 8am and 5pm, and the lunch break is one hour. Double wage is earned, if you have to work through the lunch break. In the work hours, you also have the right to one coffee break in the morning and one after lunch. The employer must make sure that the working conditions are suitable, and workers have the right to elect both a security representative as well as a trade union representative.

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When do I have the right to a formal contract of employment?

When you get a new job, which lasts for longer than one month and which carries with it an average of more than eight hours a week, the employer must give you a contract of employment.

The contract of employment must state:

  • Name and address of the employer and the worker

  • The date when the employment takes effect and the duration of the employment, if not unlimited

  • Place of employment

  • Working hours

  • Seniority

  • Applicable agreement

  • Name of the union

  • Wage, additions, including pension, insurance and similar

  • The date when the wage is paid

  • The worker’s right regarding holiday

  • Terms of notice

  • Other possible agreements concerning the employment

According to law, the employer is obligated to give you a contract of employment containing the above information. However, many people never receive a contract of employment. If you are working but have not received a contract of employment, you can ask your employer to give you a contract of employment. You should do this regardless of whether you have been with the employer for a long time or not.

Should you encounter problems in obtaining a contract of employment, you can approach the trade union representative on the work place, who can talk to the management on your behalf. You can also always talk to your local union branch.

An employer who does not provide his or her workers with a contract of employment can be judged to pay up to 13 week’s pay, and 20 weeks if the breach of the worker’s rights is particularly severe.

What is holiday pay and days off?

Normal working hours are 40 hours a week ands must be eight hours a day from Monday to and including Friday, and daily working hours must be between 8 am and 5 pm.

  • From 5 pm to 9 pm: 35%

  • From 9 pm to 8 am: 60%

  • Saturdays all day: 65%

  • Sunday and holidays all day: 100%

Please note that overtime on Saturday is from midnight, and the overtime on Sunday is 100% until midnight. If the work continues after midnight, then the overtime continues until normal time starts again.

If the work starts in the summer half of the year (the summer half of the year is from 1 May to 31 October) before 4 am and in the winter half of the year before 5 am, then there is no reduction in the wage until there is a possibility to sleep (sleeping is being off the work place for no less than 6 hours).

Example: If the work begins e.g. at 9 pm and lasts until 3 am and starts again at 8 am to 5 pm, then overtime 2 must be given for the entire second day, because the agreement states that you must be off work for at least six hours.

1 May, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are full holidays. Flag day, Easter Eve, Whitsun and 1 November are half holidays. On half holidays work stops at noon. Urgent work that is done on 1 May, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and after noon on these days is remunerated with double normal wage for the duration of the holiday.

In addition to these days off and 5 week’s summer holiday, workers also have the right to 5 days off without pay, which can be arranged together with the employer.


What are my rights when working in shifts?

Work can be conducted in shifts. Work must be organised in two shifts, which must be eight hours each. The shifts must be conducted using teams as similar in size as possible and the teams must change shifts each week.
This means that working in shifts is accepted in average fish factories and salmon factories. This entails both factories where salmon is gutted and where salmon is cut into fillets. Each shift must be eight hours and if work is performed for a longer or shorter period of time, then the terms of the agreement, which define the length of shifts, are broken.
The next team on a shift will receive an addition of 11% of the basic wage in addition to seniority.
If someone works longer than one shift, then that person must receive overtime wage. After the first shift this is 35%, and after the second shift this is 60%, if it is after midnight.
If the work in shifts is shorter than three consecutive days, then this is considered normal work and the wage shall be accordingly, including overtime and wage for night work.
This means that if there isn’t work for more than e.g. two days and on day three there is only enough for one shift then this is not deemed to be shift work, and the remuneration must be through regular wage and overtime. Sundays and holidays do not interrupt the three-day rule, which means that shift work may begin on Friday and then continue on Monday and Tuesday.
A 24-hour notice must be given before the start of the shift work. If there is no prior notice, then 1st overtime must be paid for the day for each employee on the shift. This is to make sure that companies not announce shift work without warning.
If the shift is disrupted for some reason (technical or because of the lack of materials) leading to less than a day’s work when the work begins, the employer must pay for both shifts all day.

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