Icelandic Króna (ISK)
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Iceland is known for its fantastic work-life balance which is reflected in high productivity levels at work and outstanding employee performance. The country’s workforce is said to be young, dynamic, well-educated and multilingual.
In fact, most people in Iceland do not only have a very good command of English but do also have advanced knowledge of at least one other European language. A remote employee in Iceland will thus be a great asset to your global team, both in terms of communication and skill set.
When hiring an employee in Iceland for a period exceeding one month who is supposed to conduct more than eight hours of work per week, it is mandatory to either put a written employment contract in place or to provide the employee with a written statement outlining the basic terms of employment including:
Identification of both parties
Date of commencement (and employment duration for temporary contracts)
Job description, duties and responsibilities
Basic salary as well as other compensation or benefits and payment details
Total number of holidays
Notice periods for employment termination
Information on pension funds
Reference to applicable collective agreements
Icelandic labour law distinguishes between fixed-term employment contracts and permanent employment contracts. There are no legal clauses requesting contracts to be Icelandic.
Probation periods usually last three months.
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A standard working week in Iceland is 40 hours divided into five eight-hour days with the following regulations on breaks and rest periods:
at least 15 minutes of break after six consecutive hours of work – but most companies have lunch breaks ranging from half an hour up to one hour plus additional coffee breaks of up to 35 minutes
at least eleven consecutive hours of rest each day
at least one day off per week
According to Icelandic labour law, any work performed in addition to an employee’s standard eight-hour working day – or on top of the standard 40-hour week – counts as overtime and needs to be remunerated accordingly. The official hourly overtime pay rate is 1.0385% of an employee’s monthly wages. Special regulations apply for shift workers. Weekly working time should not exceed 48 hours, overtime included.
Employees in Iceland get paid on either a weekly or monthly basis. In some sectors, bi-weekly payments are common.
Iceland does not have a national minimum wage that applies to all sectors. Instead, minimum remuneration is negotiated for each industry separately under collective agreements.
Sick leave in Iceland is subject to collective agreements which results in employees from different industries enjoying different sick leave entitlements. However, all employees must receive at least two days of fully paid sick leave for each month of work during their first year.
Starting with the second year of service, sick leave entitlements increase as follows:
after one year: one month of fully paid sick leave
after three years: one month of fully paid sick leave + one month of sick leave paid at day rates
after five years: one month of fully paid sick leave + two months of sick leave paid at day rates
Employees who have worked for the same employer for more than twelve weeks during the current year are entitled to an annual bonus which is usually paid in December.
Learn about tax reporting, compensation laws, registration requirements and more in our free Payroll Guide for Iceland.
Employees and employers in Iceland are subject to the following tax and social security contribution rates (last review February 2023):
20% corporate tax rate
24% VAT (standard rate)
up to 46.25%
Monthly income tax brackets and rates (including municipal tax rate of 14.45%):
Up to ISK 409,986 - 31.45%
ISK 409,987 to 1,151,012 - 37.95%
Over ISK 1,151,012 - 46.25%
6.35% national insurance contribution
11.5% mandatory pension fund
0.1% Icelandic Rehabilitation Fund (VIRK)
Voluntary 2% contribution to pension fund
up to 8%
4% to public pension fund
4% to a private pension fund (optional)
Please note that the social security contributions indicated above do not necessarily reflect the actual employment costs. These may differ depending on the employment contract and due to other factors (e.g. 13th and 14th salary, health insurance allowances, accrual for severance pay, etc.).
Employees are entitled to at least 24 days of paid leave per year which can be taken between 2 May and 15 September of each year. A special holiday bonus which should be at least 10.17% of the employee’s total wages is to be paid out between 1 May and 15 August.
In addition, Iceland observes 16 public holidays – including Easter and Whit Sunday. Employees who are required to work on these days must be paid at an hourly rate equaling 1.375% of their usual monthly salary.
Mothers and fathers in Iceland respectively have the right to 6 months of maternity / paternity leave following a child’s birth. During this time, parents receive maternity / paternity benefits from the Icelandic Government amounting to 80% of their normal wages (up to a maximum of ISK 600,000 per month).
6 weeks are transferable to the other parent. The leave can be taken until the child is 24 months old. For the mother, the leave an begin up to 1 month before the expected date of birth.
In addition, parents are entitled to 13 weeks of unpaid parental leave which can be taken at any time until the child turns eight.
Furthermore, parents are permitted to request up to ten additional days off each year to look after their sick children – limited to children under the age of 13. In case of serious illness or injury of a child or spouse, up to three months of leave can be granted.
In addition to employment termination by default – i.e. in case of a fixed-term contract – resignation and mutual agreement, the employment agreement may be terminated due to the following reasons (non-exhaustive list):
redundancy or other economic reasons
summary dismissal due to gross misconduct
breach of employment contract by either party
employee’s long-term illness
Statutory notice periods in Iceland are set as follows:
Lenght of Service
In practice, however, notice periods vary between one week and six months – depending on the individual employment contract or applying collective agreements – with three months being quite common. No notice must be given in case of dismissal for gross misconduct or when resigning because of intolerable working conditions. There are no legal provisions for severance pay in Iceland.
This country guide is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The content of this guide contains general information, and although we update this guide regularly, it may not reflect current legal developments. Lano Software GmbH disclaims any liability for any actions you take or refrain from taking based on the content contained in this country guide.
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