Employment relationships and conditions in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg are regulated in considerable detail by legislation, mainly in the form of the Labour Code (Code du Travail/Arbeitsgesetzbuch). The Code contains almost all statutory provisions related to individual and collective employment matters and is continuously added to and amended as new laws and regulations are adopted. Case law interprets the Labour Code.

The Social Security Code (Code de la Sécurité Sociale/Gesetzbuch der Sozialen Sicherheit) deals with matters such as benefits for employees on sickness, maternity or parental leave. The Criminal Code (Code Pénal/Strafgesetzbuch) is relevant to aspects of discrimination in employment.

Other important sources of employment law are collective agreements (which cover around half of private sector employees) and individual employment contracts. Collective agreements may derogate from the Labour Code’s rules in some areas — notably working time and rest breaks/periods — though only if their provisions are as least as favourable for employees as the statutory rules. Where a collective agreement applies to an employment relationship, any provision in the employment contract that is contrary to the collective agreement is null and void, except where the provision is more advantageous to the employee.

This article deals only with the private sector.

Temporary COVID-19 crisis measures (as at 20 April 2020)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Luxembourg government has taken a number of temporary measures affecting some of the issues covered in this topic. For example:

  • an employer must not dismiss an employee during the first 26 weeks of sick leave; the application of this rule has been suspended, so that absences during the pandemic do not count towards the 26-week limit

  • employers in essential sectors may cancel annual leave already granted and refuse to grant leave requests

  • in essential sectors, the normal maximum limits on employees’ working hours may be exceeded, up to 12 hours per day and 60 hours per week (see Normal, Overtime and Maximum Hours)

  • working parents may take leave for family reasons to care for children while schools and nurseries are closed

  • in companies that have ceased operations on government orders, or have temporarily laid off staff because of the crisis, employees serving probationary periods have had these periods frozen until the businesses reopen or the employees return to work.

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