Counting down the hours until your next holiday? / © Pixabay
We cover the basics of the working year, providing answers to questions like: can I refuse overtime? and can I take leave to care for a loved one?
Following on from our guide to employment contracts, here we set out the details of working hours, holidays and other annual leave allowances.
The standard Luxembourg work week is 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.
If you work more than 6 hours in a day, you are entitled to a rest period, which can be paid or unpaid, and is typically a lunch break.
A nursing mother is entitled to two 45 minute breaks for breastfeeding their child in a workday. Pregnant or breastfeeding women are also exempt from night work (though can opt back in), as required by the government's protection scheme.
Employees may work up to 10 hours per day or 48 hours per week, with the additional hours counting as overtime.
Overtime is compensated in the form of additional rest periods: one and a half hours for each hour of overtime worked. This can take the form of a time savings account, which allow employees to save up their overtime and leave days and use them flexibly for days off.
Where additional rest periods are not possible or employees leave before getting what they're entitled to, the employer must pay overtime at 1.4 times the normal hourly rate. Overtime payments are tax exempt.
Temporary agency workers, pregnant and breastfeeding employees, apprentices and part-time workers have the right to refuse to work overtime. Employees under 18 cannot work overtime, except under very specific circumstances.
Annual leave and other leave entitlements
There is a veritable smorgasbord of leave entitlements for workers in Luxembourg. We provide an overview here, but for the full details we recommend checking the relevant pages on Guichet.lu.
Employees are entitled to 26 days of paid annual leave a year. Some employees, such as those registered disabled, are entitled to an additional six days paid leave.
If you a part-time employee, your leave allowance is calculated pro rata based on the actual hours you work.
You can defer leave until the following year (leave years end 31 March), but must take the accrued leave in that year or it will be lost, unless you've reached a specific agreement with your employer.
Employees are entitled to paid leave on Luxembourg's 11 public holidays. If the public holiday falls on a day you wouldn't normally be working, your employer must provide you with a compensatory day of leave on another day.
If you are required to work that day due to a business need, the employer must pay you additional compensatory pay. These additional payments are exempt from income tax.
If you work in a seasonal business such as the hospitality trade and are required to work public holidays, you are entitled to additional leave at other times of year.
Leave can be taken for a variety of personal reasons (maternity and paternity leave, including where adopting, will be covered in a separate article). These include:
Special leave can be taken for certain specific circumstances, including:
- Three days leave for marriage, or one day for a partnership. You can also take a day off if your child is getting married.
- Three days leave for the death of a partner or close family members (mother, father, children) of you or your spouse. This is extended to five days if a child is under 18. For other relatives such as grandparents and siblings the leave allowance is one day.
Leave to care for a sick child is available for up to 12 days per year per child if they are under four; 18 days if between four and 12; and five days if they are between 13 and 18 (inclusive), but only if they have been hospitalised. If a child of any age has been hospitalised for more than two weeks or has a progressive form of cancer, then leave can be extended up to 52 weeks in any two calendar years.
If a relative or partner is seriously ill or dying, then family hospice leave can be granted for up to five days per year.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, additional leave is available for specific circumstances. This includes leave for family reasons because a child is quarantined or isolated and leave to care for a person with a disability or elderly person where their normal care is unavailable.
Every employee is entitled to up to 80 days of paid training leave during the course of their career, up to 20 of which can be taken in any two year period. You must have been with an employer for at least six months to take paid training leave.
You are also entitled to unpaid training leave of up to two years per employer, provided you have been with the employer for at least two years. This can be taken in chunks of between four weeks and six months.
In addition, if you've been with an employer for at least six months, you can take up to 200 hours of paid linguistic leave in order to learn Luxembourgish.
Other leave entitlements
Determined to max out your leave allowance? Try joining the council and becoming a volunteer firefighter while representing Luxembourg at the Olympics. Leave is also available for a number of other specific reasons:
- Sporting leave. Up to 12 days (extended on a case-by-case basis) to take part in international sporting competitions, when representing Luxembourg.
- Political leave. Elected representatives of communal bodies such as mayors and aldermen can take between five and 40 hours of paid leave per week, depending on their roles. If you're a councillor for your commune, you can take between three and five hours leave per week.
- Social mandate leave. If you are a member of a professional chamber or social security body such as a council of arbitration, you can take up to four hours leave for each meeting or hearing.
- Job search leave. If you are dismissed from your employment, you can take up to six days leave during your notice period to search for new employment.
- Some other very specific circumstances: becoming a volunteer firefighter; representing an accredited NGO for the benefit of developing countries; for youth workers to organise activities; and, for being elected to a national parents' council.
The Employment Development Agency (ADEM) has an overview of employment contracts, holidays, working hours and termination on their website.
For specialised advice on your specific situation, it's worth contacting your trade union, employees' association, or professional chamber.