As the long summer break approaches, it is more than time to plan your next vacation. But do you know your rights regarding your annual paid leave? Here is some useful information to avoid unpleasant surprise.
Luxembourg is one of the top European countries with most paid vacation days. The legal duration of annual leave is set to a minimum of 25 working days per year. In comparison, the majority of workers in Belgium, France and Germany are entitled to at least 20, 25 and 24 working days’ leave per year. Moreover, a collective or an individual agreement between the employer and the employee may include additional days of leave for the employee. Certain categories of workers are automatically granted additional holidays: 6 working days per year for war invalids, victims of accident at work and disabled workers and 3 working days per year for manual workers and technical engineers in the mining industry. Employee or apprentice who has not been able to benefit from a continuous rest period of 44 hours per week is given one day of additional leave for each period of 8 weeks, successive or not.
Last year, there was a debate in Parliament on a petition which proposed a 6th week of holidays for the 41% of the private sector employees who don’t fall under a collective work contract. The petition has gathered over 10,000 signatures but did not meet government support.
Any employee, including apprentice, whatever their working schedule (part time, full time, etc.) or type of contract (fixed-term or permanent), is entitled to paid annual leave. An employee working part time (including part time parental leave) benefits from annual leave calculated in proportion to his/her weekly working schedule. To be eligible, you must first have worked for an unbroken period of 3 months for the same employer. You are prohibited from carrying out paid activity during your leave. If you do not respect this condition, you will lose your leave allowance. You may not give up the leave which you are entitled on, even in return for compensatory pay, except if the working relationship is terminated.
In principle, you can choose your holidays but you must tell your employer one month in advance. Your employer may refuse your holidays planning due to operational requirements or justified wishes of other employees. In many businesses, priority is given to employees with children.
You have to take your holidays completely during the current year. There are some exceptions. On your request, you may defer your annual leave until 31 December of the following year if it consists of leave accumulated during your first year of work that could not be taken in full. Any outstanding annual leave may be carried forward until 31 March of the following year if that outstanding annual leave was due to either business purposes or to the genuine needs of other employees or if you still have days of annual leave when going on maternity leave, adoption leave or parental leave.
If the company closes for annual holiday, the period of the collective leave must be fixed by mutual agreement with your employer who must notify it to the employees not later than during the first quarter of the reference year. There are three types of collective agreements which are recognised as a general obligation and impose collective summer and/or winter leave: one for the construction and civil engineering sector; one for sanitary fitters, heating and air conditioning fitters and refrigeration fitters and one for roofers-renderers.
In this case, you must inform your employer and submit a medical certificate within 3 working days if you are in Luxembourg or as soon as possible if you are abroad. The number of days covered by the medical certificate are no longer considered as annual leave. If you are no longer ill, you must return to work to the date initially scheduled with your employer and agree with him a new period of leave.
It is important to know that you are not protected against dismissal during your annual leave. If the working relationship is terminated before you have taken all your annual leave days, your employer must pay you an indemnity corresponding to the days of leave not taken. When you have resigned or have been dismissed with notice, your employer cannot request from you to use up the remaining leave, if any, during the notice period. Similarly, your employer does not have to grant you leave during the notice period. On the contrary, if you have taken all your annual leave days before you left the company, your employer is entitled to recover the overpaid holiday allowance.
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