Proposed labour law reform would provide more rights for employees and decrease the potential for abuse by employers.

Legislation known as Bill 7086, which makes some changes to the labour law, was given the green light in the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday.  The Bill's amendments will benefit employees and unemployed people, who will get more help in finding their way back to the job market.

Re-employment assistance (aide au réemploi) will undergo significant reforms. The maximum duration of student jobs will be extended. Lastly, more precise criteria will be put in place to determine the conditions of absence due to illness.

In the past, there has been some uncertainty surrounding illness absence. While employees continue to receive a salary, it was never clearly determined whether or not this should include additional amounts for people who usually work night shifts or on weekends for example.

The new legislative text should clear things up, left-wing LSAP MP Taina Bofferding said. For an employee who regularly works on weekends or at night, his or her sick pay will now be calculated using their average salary.

Avoiding potential abuse

The new legislation also aims at minimising potential abuse of re-employment assistance (aide au réemploi) provided as part of Luxembourg's unemployment benefits through the agency that oversees them, known as ADEM. Some employers deliberately pay only minimum wages and leave it to ADEM and ultimately the state to pay the balance.

After four years, when the re-employment assistance runs out, employers exploiting this system then let the employees in question go.

Bofferding described this system as absurd. In future, the state-paid compensation will not exceed 50%.

Student work rights

With the amended law, students will be allowed to work 15 hours per week outside of school holidays instead of the 10 hours that were previously allowed.

A person seeking a job will now be able become self-employed without losing his or her unemployment benefits and the "suitable job" (emploi approprié) concept will be anchored into labour laws.

The project was supported by the centre-right Democratic Party (DP), left-leaning LSAP and the Greens, as well as by opposition parties including the right-of-centre CSV and the conservative ADR. The Left abstained.