Employment law in Luxembourg: “linguistic leave” to learn Luxembourgish?

Philharmonie Luxembourg on Kirchberg plateau, where employees can take "cultural leave"Photo: Christian Mueller / Shutterstock
Philharmonie Luxembourg on Kirchberg plateau, where employees can take "cultural leave". Photo: Christian Mueller / Shutterstock

Luxembourg offers its employees some of the more interesting and diverse leave opportunities in Europe. Employees are able to take paid leave to carry out various types of voluntary, cultural, sporting and training activities.

In a preview of XpertHR’s guide to Luxembourg, Fiona Cuming provides eight highlights of employment law in this small, but important, country.

Luxembourg may be pint-sized, but it hits above its weight in the global economy. It has a robust banking sector and is the home of the European Investment Bank. It is the base for many internet start-ups and the regional headquarters of Skype and Amazon. And, of course, the permanent seat of the European Court of Justice.

1. Linguistic leave

French, German and Luxembourgish are all official languages of Luxembourg. Employees with at least six months’ service with their employer are able to take linguistic leave to attend language courses, up to a maximum of 200 hours during their career.

2. Sporting leave

Employees who are elite sportspeople, or essential sport support staff, are allowed to take paid sporting leave to train for, and attend, major sporting competitions. Generally, this amounts to around 12 days per year.

3. Cultural leave

Employees who are creative artists or involved in a cultural organisation have a right to receive paid leave to take part in approved cultural and artistic events. Employees can take 20 days’ leave in any two-year period, and a maximum of 60 days throughout their career.

4. Holidays

Employees are entitled to 25 working days of holiday per year. Disabled employees, and employees who have suffered occupational injuries, receive an additional six days each year, with that period paid by the public authorities.

In theory, employees must take their entire holiday entitlement in one single block. However, in practice, they can take their holiday in shorter periods if their employer is agreeable, or is required to meet the employer’s operational needs.

5. Hours of work

Generally, employees’ normal working time must not exceed eight hours per day and 40 hours per week. Collective agreements may provide for working time below these limits.

6. Pay

Employees’ pay is automatically increased in line with inflation, under a statutory system of pay indexation. Under this system, known as the sliding scale, whenever the official consumer prices index increases by 2.5%, the gross total pay of all employees must be increased by the same percentage.

7. Informing and consulting

Employers are obliged to inform and consult employee representatives on a range of matters. All businesses with 15 or more employees are required to set up an employee delegation made up of delegates elected by the employees.

8. Foreign nationals

Foreign nationals from the EU member states, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are not subject to any special rules. However, if EEA or Swiss employees intend to stay in Luxembourg for more than three months, they must declare their arrival and obtain a registration certificate from the local authorities in the area they are living.

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