The rumour mill is in overdrive at the "L'enfant Roi" nursery group. Former and current staff members have made serious accusations against the management.

At the end of January, a public petition on the website made waves within the company, which runs 12 private Montessori crèches in Luxembourg. It generated 882 signatures and 156 comments.

In the comments section of the petition, individuals claiming to have worked for "L'enfant Roi" have shared their stories of outstanding wages, unjustified dismissals, chronic staff shortages, and even pressure on pregnant nursery workers.

Some have gone so far as to accuse the nursery of operating without any adherence to the Montessori method, citing overburdened staff and poor conditions as evidence. Shockingly, some accounts have even mentioned cases of burnout and modern slavery.

While verifying the authenticity of these claims is challenging, took it upon themselves to seek out individuals who could share their experiences with the company. After posting a call for witnesses on social media, the editorial office was inundated with phone calls and emails.

While many spoke with, only two women were willing to provide documents as evidence. For this article, their names have been changed, but their identities are known. Here is their story.

"It's a fatigue you can't sleep off in 10 hours".

'L'enfant Roi' group operates 12 Montessori crèches, with 1,093 children attending and 330 staff employed.

Lucienne Schmit*, who worked in the group from 2017 to 2021, first as an educator and then later as principal, alleged that the group's children were systematically placed in groups that were too large.

According to Schmit, the management tried to circumvent the regulations by including unused rooms in the calculations. In order to conceal this, photos and names of the children would disappear from their lockers so that the situation would not be noticed by parents.

Rosalie Weber*, who worked for the group for under a year, added that groups of 16 children under the age of two were common. This is in direct contradiction to the approved maximum of 12 children in a group.


© Domingos Oliveira / RTL

The women also mentioned the pressure they faced at work, citing chronic staff shortages and overwork as contributing factors.

"It's not that the children are doing badly, but we can't look after them properly which they are not being looked after as they should," said Weber.

She provided the example of lunch break: after the break, the nappies of 16 children have to be changed, for which only 30 minutes are allotted, i.e. only two minutes per child.

Weber also said that the pressure was so high that colleagues would ask each other if they had cried after work rather than what they had done.
The pressure had a big impact on their private lives - after a day at work they hardly had any energy left for hobbies or housework.

"We are often so exhausted, and you don't get rid of this tiredness with ten hours of sleep," said Weber.

Schmit revealed that there had been a lot of sick leave due to overwork and fatigue, and that management would punish absenteeism. Schmit herself had leave days cancelled due to sick leave. She also told that her resignation had been met with weeks of delayed wages.

Documents presented to our colleagues show that the vaguely defined term "absenteeism" was included in no less than seven of the 14 criteria for educator appraisals, affecting bonuses. However, in the current version of director general Guillaume Godard's evaluation criteria, the term "absenteeism" has disappeared.

The allegations of mistreatment extend to pay discrimination, with the two women alleging that cross-border workers were paid less than their Luxembourgish counterparts with the same qualifications.

Schmit said that Luxembourgers were paid 200 euros more net salary, allegedly justified by the argument that they needed to attract Luxembourgers to entrust the group with their children. The women suggested that management benefited from cross-border workers who were unfamiliar with Luxembourg labour laws.

"I know that some kindergartens have a very high turnover," Weber, who terminated her contract herself, told us. Over time, the pressure had become too much. "Since I started working there, there were always online job ads, but at the same time a new nursery is opening in Howald. I thought it would be better if we focused on the existing crèches and so that they have enough staff."

"Witch hunt" after petition?

"When I read the girls' statements, I cried", Schmit recounted the moment she read her former work colleagues' comments under the petition. Since the petition, however, little has changed in the company, according to Weber, who still works there. The situation of the employees is still the same.

On the other hand a kind of "witch hunt" had started - everyone tried to find out who started the petition. "Some people were threatened and told to start looking for a new job", Weber recalled. The only positive signal so far: a staff committee has been set up in which each nursery has a representative.

Regarding the allegations of wage deductions and unpaid bonuses, when contacted by, the Labour and Mines Inspectorate (ITM) stated that it does not comment on individual cases.

Regarding the allegations against the group "L'enfant Roi", in particular wage deductions and unpaid bonuses, the Labour and Mines Inspectorate (ITM) stated in response to a question from our colleagues that it does not comment on individual cases.

Director general rejects accusations

Godard, director general of "L'enfant Roi", commented on the accusations that arose from's statements on the petition. He did not know where the petition had come from and could not make any assumptions, he explained. However, he said, the management was ready to subject itself to scrutiny.

After the petition was published, they had convened a meeting with the staff representatives of the various departments to discuss the problems. He said a number of suggestions had come out and they continue to work on them. He also said that this format would be maintained and renewed. He had "no knowledge" of a "witch hunt" that had taken place after the petition was published.


© Domingos Oliveira / RTL

According to Godard, there was and is no shortage of staff. He said they had never been understaffed and, with a supervision ratio of about 1:4, were above the ministry's minimum standards. If there was a shortage due to illness, they had many options to replace staff, including rotating teams, he told us. He added they complied in all regards with legal requirements.
The director general also confirmed that they do not have any greater problem with absenteeism than any other companies in the industry. He did admit that absenteeism had in the past been used as part of staff evaluations.

Concerning discrimination against cross-border workers, Godard explained that the market set the rules of the game. The rules state that all three official languages must be spoken in a nursery, and as far as Luxembourgers are concerned, they must be able to keep up with the wage level of the state nurseries, he said.

Incidentally, Godard will appear in court next Thursday in relation to his roles at "L'enfant Roi S.À.R.L." and  "Groupe L'Enfant Roi S.A.". He is accused of misuse of company assets and black labour, which is work that is not reported to authorities for tax or social security purposes.

Ministry takes allegations "very seriously".

In response to's enquiry, the Ministry of Education stated that there had been no complaints on this issue before the petition was published. However, the ministry say they take the situation very seriously and have contacted the management.

The ministry has the power to carry out unannounced inspections at any time to check whether conditions for approval are being met. If deficiencies are found during the inspection, the ministry may order that these deficiencies be remedied by bringing the facility into compliance. In the worst case, the facility may also have its licence withdrawn. The responsible department follows up on all complaints sent to the complaints office.

Ministry staff have visited "L'enfant Roi" in recent weeks to check compliance, according to both Godard and our anonymous witness statements.

While Godard emphasised that these visits were unannounced, Weber and Schmit claimed staff were specifically prepared for the occasion. "We often asked ourselves: Who do they know in the ministry that always gives advance warning?", said Schmit.