Parental leave

This page was last modified on 31-05-2017

Parental leave allows parents with a child at an early age to take a break from their professional career or to reduce their working time in order to fully devote themselves to the education of their child at an important moment in their life all the while having the guarantee to recover their work position at the end of the leave.

The parent can request:

  • either the "first parental leave", which must be taken immediately after the maternity or adoption leave;
  • or the "second parental leave", which must be taken before the child's 6th birthday (the 12th birthday for adopted children).

Parental leave is only granted once for the same child.

If one of the parents renounces his/her right to parental leave, it can not be transferred to his/her spouse in order that he/she may take two parental leaves.

During parental leave, the parent is entitled to an allowance which replaces the salary and is granted by the Children's Future Fund (Caisse pour l’avenir des enfants - CAE).

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Carry out your procedure:

Who is concerned

Every parent is entitled to parental leave for each child following birth or adoption of one or more children as long as the child has not reached the age of 6 years (12 years in the case of an adoption).

The following are concerned by parental leave:

  • the employer, who may, depending on the case, approve or request the postponement of the parental leave;
  • the worker, apprentice or self-employed (non-salaried) worker;
  • the staff delegation who must be informed in the case of a request for postponement of the second parental leave.

If one of the parents renounces his/her right to parental leave, it may not be transferred to his/her spouse in order that he/she may take two parental leaves.

Prerequisites

In order to be granted the right to take parental leave, the (future) parent must:

  • have been affiliated to the Luxembourg social security at the time the child(ren) is born or adopted for at least 12 continuous months prior to the parental leave; the 12-month period may not be interrupted for a maximum period of more than 7 days;
  • if the parent is a salaried worker: have one or more employment contracts totaling at least 10 hours of employed work per week;
  • if the parent is a salaried worker or an apprentice: have a contract during the full period of the parental leave;
  • cease the professional activity (in the case of full-time parental leave) or reduce the working time (in the case of part-time parental leave) during the full period of parental leave;
  • raise the child(ren) at home and mainly use the time to take care of their education during the parental leave.

Special cases:

  • an employer who hires a new employee currently on parental leave is free to allow or deny the employee the right to remain on parental leave until the end date:
    • if the employer accepts, the employee remains on parental leave without interruption;
    • if the employer refuses, the employee must start the new work relationship at once;
  • in the case of a cessation, merger or transfer of a business, the immediate transfer of an employee to another position is not considered to be a change of employer.

How to proceed

Types of parental leave

First or second parental leave

The salaried worker or apprentice can request:

  • the "first parental leave", which must be taken immediately after the maternity or adoption leave;
  • or the "second parental leave", which must be taken:
    • in the case of child birth, before the child's 6th birthday;
    • in the case of an adoption, within a 6-year period after the adoption leave or, if no adoption leave was taken, from the date of the adoption order but before the child's 12th birthday.

One of the 2 parents must take the first parental leave immediately after the maternity or adoption leave. Failing this, the right to take the first leave is lost and only one parent may take the second parental leave.

If the maternity or adoption leave is not granted or not taken, the parental leave which could be due must be taken from the first day of the 3rd week after the childbirth or, in the case of an adoption, from the date of the adoption order.
Special cases:

Salaried worker during the trial period

A salaried worker whose trial period ends after the maternity or adoption leave can only request the second parental leave. Furthermore, the right to parental leave only becomes effective and the leave may only be applied for after the trial period has ended.

Parental leave without compensation

A worker who does not take or is not entitled to the first parental leave and who wishes to leave the second parental leave to the other parent can request unpaid leave of 4 months. The employer must grant this leave and cannot postpone it.

Single parent families

In the case of a single parent family, separated or divorced, the parent with child custody can choose between the first or the second parental leave. Moreover, the parent does not lose the right to the first parental leave if it is not taken immediately after the maternity or adoption leave.

Full-time, part-time or split leave

Whether it is the first or second parental leave, the parent can request full-time parental leave of 4 or 6 months per child.

Parents who do not wish to take full-time parental leave can, with the employer's approval, apply for parental leave under the following conditions:

  • if the employee's working hours are equal to the standard working hours in the business or establishment:
    • a part-time leave of 8 or 12 months during which the employee reduces by half the hours usually worked before the parental leave;
    • a split parental leave during which the employee can reduce the working time by 20 % per week over a period of 20 months;
    • or a parental leave split into 4 periods of one month during a maximum period of 20 months;
  • if the employee's working hours are equal to or higher than half of the standard working hours in the business or establishment:
    • a part-time parental leave of 8 or 12 months during which the employee reduces by half the hours usually worked before the parental leave.

If the employee's standard working hours represent less than half of the normal working hours in the business or establishment, the employee can apply for full-time parental leave. The same applies if the employee has several employers.

It must be noted that once the parental leave has begun, it is no longer possible to change the type of leave selected.

Apprentices and salaried workers with several employers are only entitled to full-time parental leave for a duration of 4 or 6 months per child. This rule also applies to persons who are registered as both a salaried worker and as a self-employed at the same time.

Self-employed workers can chose any one of the possibilities of parental leave.

The monthly duration of work of a salaried parent is indicated in the employment contract in force on the date where the application for parental leave is submitted to the employer. However, if the monthly duration of work changes during the 12 months prior to the parental leave, the average working hours for the year concerned are taken into account for the calculation of the leave. It must be noted that any changes in the number of working hours requested after the application for parental leave has been submitted cannot be taken into account for the calculation of parental leave.

Example: if a request for parental leave is submitted on 1 August 2017 and the concerned parent changes his working time from 70% to 100% on 1 March 2017, the time frame that will be taken into account to calculate the average number of monthly working hours will range from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017. The result will be used for calculating the amount of parental leave.

If the salaried worker choses parental leave in the form of reduced working hours by 20% per week or in the form of split leave during 4 periods of 1 month, the worker must define and sign a parental leave plan agreed on with the employer.

The parental leave plan determines the effective periods of parental leave and must be finalised within 4 weeks from the submission of the application for parental leave. Only flexible arrangements of work hours or months will then be possible on common agreement between the worker and the employer.

If the employer refuses to grant parental leave under these circumstances, he must inform the worker by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt within 2 weeks of the application for parental leave. The employer then has to invite the worker to an interview within 2 weeks of the notification of refusal.

The interview's objective is to provide the reasons for the refusal and to offer, in writing, an alternative form to the parental leave or a different parental leave plan from the one submitted by the parent.

If no agreement is reached and no parental leave plan is signed within 2 weeks of the interview, the salaried worker is entitled to the full-time parental leave of his choice, i.e. 4 or 6 months full-time.

First parental leave

Form and application deadlines

The salaried worker or apprentice submits the request to his/her employer:

The application must mention and include:

  • that it is a "parental leave directly following the maternity or adoption leave (first parental leave)";
  • the type of leave requested:
    • either full-time parental leave;
    • or parental leave split into separate blocks of leave over time (in this case, the employee can suggest working time arrangements);
    • or part-time parental leave (in this case, the employee can suggest working time arrangements).

The employer's approval

Employers can neither refuse (unless the application was not submitted in accordance with legal conventions and deadlines) nor postpone the first parental leave.

However, they can refuse to grant part-time or split leave. In this case, the employee must take full-time leave or renounce his leave.

If an agreement is reached on the terms of the leave, the employer completes and signs the application for the parental leave allowance submitted by his employee.

The employee must then forward the application to the CAE.

Second parental leave

Form and application deadlines

The employee submits the request to his/her employer:

  • on paper;
  • by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt;
  • at the latest 4 months before the start date of parental leave.

Note that the employee must send the application as early as possible, given the possibility that the employer can postpone the start date of the second parental leave.

The application must mention and include:

  • that it is a "parental leave to be taken before the 6th/12th birthday of the child (for the second parental leave)';
  • the type of leave requested:
    • either full-time parental leave;
    • or parental leave split over time (in this case, the employee can suggest working time arrangements);
    • or part-time parental leave (in this case, the employee can suggest working time arrangements).

The employer's approval

Employers cannot refuse the second parental leave.

They can, however:

  • refuse to grant part-time or split leave. In this case, the employee must either take full-time leave or renounce the leave ;
  • and/or request that it be postponed under certain circumstances.

The employer must submit his decision to the employee:

  • by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt;
  • at the latest 4 weeks after the employee's request.

If the employer does not submit his decision within the 4-week deadline, the second parental leave is automatically granted.

If an agreement is reached on the terms of the leave, the employer completes and signs the application for parental leave allowance submitted by his employee.

The employee must then forward the application to the CAE.

Postponement by the employer

The employer can request that the leave is postponed:

  • for a maximum of 2 months:
    • if it is likely to cause a disruption of business operations as a result of simultaneous requests from several employees;
    • if it is impossible to arrange a replacement for the employee during the 4-month notice period prior to the leave, due to the specific nature of the employee's tasks or a labour shortage in the company's sector of activity;
    • if the employee forms part of senior management and effectively participates in the management of the business;
  • for 6 months maximum if the business has less than 15 employees;
  • until the end of the season in the case of a seasonal activity if the requested period of leave will take place during a period of high seasonal activity.

It is not possible to postpone the leave if:

  • the state of health of the child (attested by a medical certificate) or problems at school or a behavioral disorder (attested by a certificate delivered by the competent school authorities) requires the presence of the parents;
  • the employer has already approved the leave;
  • the employee has not received a reply to his request for leave within 4 weeks of the application;
  • in the event of a disagreement between employers if the employee works for several employers.

If the second parental leave is postponed, the employer must provide the employee with his decision:

  • by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt;
  • at the latest 4 weeks after the employee's application;
  • by proposing a new start date for the parental leave;
  • and indicate the reason for the postponement.

The employer must also inform the staff delegation.

If the employer does not submit his decision within the 4-week deadline, the second parental leave is automatically granted.

If an agreement is reached on the new terms of the leave, the employer completes and signs the application for the parental leave allowance submitted by his employee or apprentice.

If the postponement cannot be agreed on, the case may be referred to the labour tribunal.

Only then can the salaried worker or the apprentice submit the application to the Children's Future Fund (Caisse pour l'avenir des enfants - CAE).

Remuneration and registration of the employee

During paid parental leave, the parent is entitled to a monthly parental leave allowance which replaces the salary and is granted by the Children's Future Fund (Caisse pour l’avenir des enfants - CAE).

During the full-time parental leave, employers must:

  • deregister the employee from the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre commun de la sécurité sociale - CCSS);
  • stop paying the concerned employee's salary;
  • stop providing meal tickets and any other benefits in kind to which the employee was entitled to before the leave.

During the part-time or split parental leave, employers must:

  • submit a new declaration of entry to the CCSS in order to notify the change in the number of working hours;
  • continue to pay the employee in proportion to the number of hours worked.

When an employee returns to work after the parental leave, the employer will submit a new declaration of entry to the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre Commun de la Sécurité Sociale - CCSS).

Childbirths or multiple adoptions

In the event of multiple childbirths (e.g. twins) or multiple adoptions, the parental leave is fully granted for each child. Parents have to submit an application for parental leave for each child and can chose a different parental leave scheme for each child.

New childbirth or adoption during the parental leave

Parental leave is interrupted in the event of a new maternity or adoption leave. In this case, the maternity/adoption leave replaces the parental leave and the remaining duration of the parental leave is carried over to the new maternity or adoption leave.

If the parent wishes to take parental leave for the new child, subsequent to the maternity or adoption leave, this new parental leave is then carried over, as of right, to the end of the remaining amount of the initial parental leave added to the maternity or adoption leave and must be taken immediately after said maternity/adoption leave.

Implementation of the parental leave

Replacing an employee on parental leave

An employer may replace an employee on parental leave with a new employee hired on a fixed-term employment contract.

The new employee can be employed:

  • either in the same position as the absent employee;
  • or in another position than that of the employee on parental leave, depending on the restructuring carried out in the business due to the absence of the employee on parental leave.

In any case, the contract of the replacement employee:

  • must start, at the earliest, 3 months before the start of the parental or maternity leave, provided the parental leave is taken subsequent to the maternity leave;
  • ends, at the latest, 3 months after the end of the parental leave of the employee being replaced.

Measures to facilitate the reinsertion of the employee returning from parental leave

In order to facilitate the reinsertion of the employee and ensure his employability after the parental leave, the employee may:

  • benefit from continuous vocational training offered by the employer during the parental leave;
  • take part in meetings or events organised during the parental leave.

These measures may be agreed on between the employee and employer at the latest one month prior to the start of the parental leave by adding an additional clause to the employment contract. However, the employee may at any time put an end to this clause without having to fear negative consequences.

Protection against dismissal

From the last day of the deadline for the notice period of parental leave and throughout the full period of parental leave, a salaried worker is protected against any type of dismissal with notice. This protection is valid from:

  • 2 months and 1 day prior to the start of the maternity/adoption leave, if it is the first parental leave;
  • 4 months and 1 day prior to the start of parental leave, if it is the second parental leave.

However, the employee is not protected against dismissal with immediate effect for serious misconduct. Termination of an employment contract will therefore result in the end of the parental leave and the employee must pay back any allowances already received during the parental leave.

Annual leave and length of service

Employers are required to:

  • take into account the duration of parental leave when calculating the employee's length of service and the associated benefits;
  • defer, in full and within the legal deadlines, the annual leave not yet taken at the beginning of the full-time parental leave until the employee returns to work.

In contrast, an employee will not obtain any new annual leave during full-time parental leave, as opposed to part-time parental leave (leave granted in proportion to the weekly working time) and to maternity or adoption leave.

End of the parental leave

Returning to work

At the end of the parental leave, the employee has to return to his work position or to a similar position (in terms of pay and qualifications).

When the employee returns to work after the parental leave, the employer will submit a new declaration of entry to the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre Commun de la Sécurité Sociale - CCSS).

The employee who returns to his initial work position after the parental leave has the right to a meeting with his employer. The aim of this meeting is to give the employee the opportunity to ask for a different work schedule and/or work rhythm for a specific period of time which cannot exceed one year starting from the day set for his return to work.

The employer examines the request and bases his decision depending on the business's needs and the needs of the employee. If the employer denies the request, he must justify the decision.

If the employer does not meet these requirements, the employee can file for compensation with the labour tribunal who will determine the amount of damages, where applicable.

Returning to work before the end of the parental leave

The employee can keep any allowances already received if he/she, as a result of a change of employer for economic reasons, is obliged to return to work before the end of the parental leave.

In this case, the employee must first inform the CAE and provide proof of the necessity to change employer for economic reasons.

The right to leave ends on the day of return to work but any allowances paid by then can be kept by the employee.

Resignation of the employee after the parental leave

At the end of the parental leave, the employee is obliged to return to work.

If he wishes to resign after the end of the parental leave, he must do so in accordance with the procedures and deadlines that apply in the case of a resignation.

At the end of the parental leave, employees must therefore return to work and only after returning to work can they resign.

Failure to return to work without providing the employer with a serious and justified reason, or without tendering their resignation after the parental leave has ended, may constitute a reason for dismissal with immediate effect for serious misconduct.

Resignation of the worker before the parental leave has ended

If an employee tenders his resignation or if the employment contract is terminated by common agreement between both parties before the parental leave has ended, the termination of the employment contract leads to the termination of the parental leave. The employee must then reimburse the CAE all of the allowances received.

However, if the employee changes employer during the parental leave, the leave may be continued without interruption, provided the new employer has agreed to it.

Death of the child or rejection of the adoption application

The parent must return to work at the latest one month after the death of the child or the refusal of the adoption application.

If the employer has hired a person to replace the parent benefiting from parental leave and is unable to offer the returning parent an employment corresponding to his/her qualifications and initial salary level, the parental leave is extended but cannot exceed its initial term.

Change of employer during parental leave

If a parent changes employer during their parental leave, the leave may be continued without interruption provided that:

  • the new employer agrees to the continued parental leave taken by the employee;
  • the new employment contract contains the same number of working hours as the initial contract entitling the applicant to parental leave.

In this case, the parent must send the following to the Children's Future Fund (Caisse pour l'avenir des enfants):

  • a statement by the new employer attesting that the employee can continue the parental leave;
  • a copy of the new employment contract.

If the employee decides to return to work with the new employer before the end of the parental leave, the allowances already paid by the date of return to work can be kept by the employee.

Disputes and appeals

Disputes can be taken to:

  • the labour tribunal in the event of a dispute between an employer and the salaried worker (e.g. in the event of a disagreement on the postponement of the parental leave).
  • the Conseil arbitral de la sécurité sociale (or the Conseil supérieur de la sécurité sociale for appeals) in the event of a dispute between the CAE and the person applying for the allowance.

Transitional regime

Applications submitted to the Children's Future Fund (Caisse pour l'avenir des enfants - CAE) before 1 December 2016 for parental leave beginning after this date can be cancelled on request and the parents can submit a new application with the employer's approval in order to benefit from the new conditions.

But parental leave which has begun before 1 December 2016 can under no circumstance benefit from the new conditions.

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