Your rights – a quick overview over your basic rights

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO A CONTRACT AND ITS FULFILLMENT.

A contract is a basic document in which the agreement between you and your employer is firmly established. With a signed, written contract, you are better protected legally. Without one, you become vulnerable to numerous abuses. Contact us to find out how you can get a contract with your employer.

 

KNOW YOUR MINIMUM WAGE AND USE YOUR RIGHT TO NEGOTIATE IT HIGHER.

Each trade in Iceland has its own legally protected minimum wage. Your starting wage is even higher when taking into account your age, level of education, and job-related training. You might be getting paid a wage that is actually below the legal limit. Contact us to find out how much you should be getting paid.

 

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BELONG TO A UNION.

Almost all people working documented are in a union (85%) and union dues are deducted from wages automatically. Negotiated collective agreements (“kjarasamningar”) with minimum standards for wages and leave and so on apply even if you’re not a member. Don’t know if you’re in a union, or which one you might belong to? Contact us.

 

DON’T BE FOOLED BY JAFNAÐARKAUP.

Jafnaðarkaup, or jafnaðarlaun, is supposed to be an average of the morning, evening and weekend wages to “balance out” the resulting wages of every worker. But it often“balances out” your pay to sub-minimum wage, especially when you are working a lot of evening and weekend shifts, which is illegal. Contact us to find out how much you should be getting paid.

 

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SICK DAYS.

You have the right to a certain number of paid sick days per month, according to the agreement between your union and your employer. This starts out at 2 sick days per month worked, and they add up over time. Your employer is required by law to pay for them, as well as a note from a doctor  (læknisvottorð) if your employer requires one. Contact us to find out how many sick days you have and how they work.

 

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO PAID HOLIDAYS.

The bare minimum vacation time you should be getting is 2 days per month worked, with an allowance of at least 10.17% of your year’s wages. Contact us to find out how many vacation days you should have and how they work.

CAN’T GET A BREAK AT WORK? YOU’RE ENTITLED TO THEM

No matter how busy your job may be, you are still legally entitled to rest, both on the job and off. Every 24 hour period, you are entitled to at least 11 hours of rest. On the job, you are entitled to take breaks and eat. Contact us to find out what you’re guaranteed by law.

 

“VOLUNTEERING JOBS” IN EXCHANGE FOR FOOD AND A ROOM? YOU SHOULDN’T.

Working in exchange for food, a room, and maybe some spending money severely limits your freedom, and leaves you vulnerable to being overworked and greatly underpaid. Often these jobs amount to little more than indentured servitude. Don’t be fooled. Contact us to find out what your legally established terms of employment should be.

 

WORKING FOR CASH? DON’T DO IT.

As convenient as being paid in cash may seem, it’s not just illegal – you could end up losing money. Cash wages – or “working black” as it is often called – means your employer is not deducting taxes from your wages. You could end up paying an enormous sum of money in taxes, with no proof of how much you actually earned, leaving you paying the price for your employer’s crime. Don’t be fooled by cash wages. Contact us to find out what and how you should be paid.

 

IS YOUR BOSS SEXUALLY HARRASSING YOU? THEN HE’S BREAKING THE LAW

On-the-job sexual harrassment – whether unwanted flirting, objectifying remarks, indecent proposals or inappropriate touching – is against the law in Iceland. Neither your co-workers nor your boss nor your customers have the right to treat you this way. You have rights, and you can be protected. Contact us to find out how.

 

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO STRIKE.

Every worker has the right to strike together with the members of their trade union. A boss cannot replace nor fire a worker who is on strike. Both unions and employers’ associations are authorized to declare a work stoppage to demand better conditions. In Iceland, a strike is mainly used as a bargaining tool by trade unions when negotiating a new collective agreement. The unions can call a strike after at least 20% of their members have voted on it by secret ballot and the majority of them support it. The proposal of strike has to clearly state the aim of the strike and when it begins, and the strike has to be announced beforehand.