In principle, the leave is taken according to the employee's wishes, as long as the justified needs and wishes of the other employees in the company are respected.
Any employee, including apprentices, whatever their working schedule (part time, full time, etc.) or type of contract (fixed-term or permanent), is entitled to paid annual leave.
Employees on sick leave or extraordinary leave, maternity leave, adoption leave, leave for family reasons, family hospice leave for nursing a dying or seriously ill person, individual training leave, linguistic leave, training leave for staff representatives, political leave, leave for social mandates, sporting leave, special leave to do voluntary emergency service, cultural leave, development cooperation leave, leave for youth workers, job search leave, benefit from annual paid leave.
An employee on full-time parental leave does not accumulate annual leave during this period.
Except if approved by the employer, the new employee must, in principle, work for an uninterrupted period of 3 months before being granted the right to take the holiday accumulated since the start of his work contract.
The employee is prohibited from carrying out paid activity during his leave; failure to respect this condition will result in him losing his leave allowance.
The employee may not give up the leave which he is entitled to, even in return for compensatory pay, except if the working relationship is terminated.
Duration of annual leave
The legal duration of annual leave is set to 25 working days per year.
A week's leave represents 5 working days at the most, even if the salaried worker's working hours are spread over more than 5 days per week.
The salaried worker is entitled to leave at the rate of one 12th per full month's work, i.e. 2.083 days per month:
- as from the first year of employment;
- or in the event of the contract coming to an end during the year.
Fractions of a month of work exceeding 15 days is considered to be a full month.
A collective agreement or an individual agreement between the employer and the employee may include additional days of leave for the employee.
Certain categories of workers automatically benefit from additional holidays:
- 6 working days per year (costs are borne by the State) for disabled workers, disabled war veterans and victims of occupational accidents;
- 3 working days per year for workers in the mining industry;
- 1 day of additional leave for each period of 8 weeks, successive or not, during which the employee or apprentice has not been able to benefit from a continuous rest period of 44 hours per week.
Planning the leave
Annual leave must be approved at least one month in advance upon request from the employee.
The employee may, in principle, plan his leave as he wishes.
Nevertheless, the employer may object:
- due to operational requirements, or;
- due to the justified wishes of other employees (e.g.: in certain businesses, priority is given to employees with children).
However, the employer cannot impose individual leave dates without the employee's approval nor force him to take unpaid leave.
- apprentices must take their annual leave during the holidays of their educational establishment;
- employees in the agricultural and viticultural sector may not request leave between 1 June and 31 October;
- employees in the Horeca sector can be refused to take their leave between 15 June and 15 September;
- employees working in credit institutions and investment companies have to take 10 consecutive days of leave per year;
- an employer may refuse to grant holidays to an employee who has unjustified absences that amount to more than 10 % of the normal working time for the part of the year already elapsed.
Employers who repeatedly refuse to grant leave without due cause are considered to be at fault and the employee's resignation with immediate effect may be justified.
In the event that the business closes for annual leave, the period of the collective leave must be set in agreement with the staff delegation or, failing this, the employees concerned.
The employer must inform the employees of the period set for collective leave during the first quarter of the year at the latest.
There are 3 types of collective agreements which are recognised as a general obligation and which impose collective summer and/or winter leave for:
- the construction and civil engineering sector;
- sanitary fitters, heating and air conditioning fitters and refrigeration fitters;
If the duration of the collective leave is longer than the employee's entitlement to paid annual leave, the surplus days of collective leave is offered to the employee in the form of legal holidays.
Deferring leave to the following year
The employer must in principle grant leave and the employee must take it in full during the year in question.
However, annual leave may be deferred:
- until 31 December of the following year, on the employee's request, if it consists of leave accumulated during the first year of work for the employer that could not be taken in full;
- until 31 March of the following year:
- until after the date of the return to work if the employee has not been able to take annual leave due to sick leave (illness, sick leave due to an accident at work or occupational illness).
The employer is free to implement a more flexible deferral system for annual leave (e.g.: deferral of an unlimited number of days of leave not taken from one year to the next, implementation of a time savings account, etc.).
If the employer specifically indicates on the salary slip the amount of leave that can be deferred from one year to another, the deferral of the amount of leave indicated is automatically accepted from year to year for an unlimited period of time. On the other hand, where no deferral is indicated on the salary slip and if the employer grants an individual deferral of leave until 31 March of the following year, this does not mean that the deferral is then systematically accepted from one year to another.
However, to maintain the health and safety of employees at work, it is recommended not to defer leave for a period of more than 18 months.
An employer must continue to pay the employee during the period of paid annual leave.
Leave allowance represents the employee's average salary, including overtime and fringe benefits:
- during the 3 months prior to the leave;
- or the past 12 months for employees whose pay is subject to significant variations (salary paid as a percentage of sales, depending on turnover, etc.).
Non-regular payments (bonuses, performance-related bonuses, etc.) are not taken into account.
The leave allowance must take into account salary increases which occurred during the 3 (or 12) reference months or during the leave, due to:
For a full-time employment contract, the hourly salary is obtained by dividing the monthly salary by the standard rate of 173 hours.
During the leave, the employee is not allowed to carry out any paid work, on pain of losing his leave allowance (salary) for that period of time.
In order to be reimbursed for the 6 additional days of paid leave for disabled war veterans, victims of accidents at work and disabled employees, the employer must contact the department for disabled workers at the National Employment Administration (Service des Travailleurs handicapés de l’ADEM).
Sickness during leave
If the employee gets sick during his leave, he must inform his employer and submit a medical certificate:
- within 3 working days if the employee is in Luxembourg;
- as soon as possible if he is abroad.
The number of days covered by the medical certificate are then no longer considered as annual leave. Nevertheless, if the employee is no longer on sick leave, he must return to work on the date initially agreed with the employer. The employee and the employer can then agree on a new period of leave for the employee.
Doctor appointments during working hours
In principle, the law does not grant special leave or extra hours for appointments with a doctor during working hours except for pregnant women who are exempt from work for their antenatal check-ups as provided by law.
With the exception of pregnant women, employees must request authorisation from their employer to schedule doctor's appointments during working hours.
The employer is not under the obligation to grant time off for doctor's appointments and he can request the employee to schedule these appointments outside of working hours.
Some collective agreements provide for special leave or exemption from work for doctor's visits.
Legal holiday and end of the working relationship
During the period of leave, the employee is not protected against dismissal.
If the working relationship is terminated before the employee has taken all of his leave, the employer must pay him an indemnity corresponding to the days of leave not taken.
Where an employee has resigned or has been dismissed with notice, the employer cannot request from the employee to use up his remaining leave, if any, during the notice period. At the same time, the employer does not have to grant leave during the notice period.
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