Parental leave

This page was last modified on 01-08-2016

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Parental leave is leave taken by parents of a child who is less than 5 years old and who wish 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.

This leave may be taken part time for 1 year or full time for 6 months.

The employer cannot refuse a full-time parental leave. However, the employer may ask to report the beginning of the parental leave if it is a second parental leave (i.e. a parental leave that is not taken immediately after maternity leave or adoption leave).

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Who is concerned

The following are involved in parental leave:

  • the employer, who may, depending on the case, approve or request the postponement of the parental leave;
  • the employee or apprentice who is expecting a child or is the parent of a child under 5;
  • a self-employed worker (or liberal profession) who is expecting a child or is the parent of a child under 5;
  • the staff delegation, who must be informed if the employer has asked for a postponement of the second parental leave.

Prerequisites

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

  • be legally employed in Luxembourg at the time of birth or adoption of the child(ren);
  • have been legally and continuously employed (without interruption exceeding a total of 7 days) with the same employer in Luxembourg during the 12 months prior to the parental leave:
    • either as a self-employed worker for at least 20 hours a week or;
    • as a salaried worker with a 20-hour work week at least within the same company established in Luxembourg ;
  • reside in Luxembourg or in another EU Member State;
  • cease his professional activity (full-time leave) or reduce it by half (part-time leave) for the duration of the parental leave.

Special cases:

  • an employee employed by a business in Luxembourg who is seconded abroad at the time of the birth or adoption also has the right to parental leave;
  • an employee who has changed employer in the 12 months prior to the parental leave but fulfils the other conditions may take parental leave subject to the approval of his new employer;
  • an employer who hires a new employee on parental leave is free to allow or deny the employee the right to complete his parental leave:
    • if the employer accepts, the employee remains on parental leave without interruption;
    • if the employer refuses, the employee must return to work without delay;
  • in the case of a transfer or merger of a business, the transfer without interruption of an employee to another position in Luxembourg is not considered as a change of employer.

How to proceed

Types of parental leave

Each parent who works in Luxembourg has the right to parental leave for each child.

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.

First or second parental leave

An employee may apply for:

  • the first parental leave, which must be taken immediately after maternity or adoption leave;
  • or the second parental leave, which can be taken until the child's fifth 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.

Special cases:

Apprentice
An apprentice can request the first parental leave to be postponed, if he can prove that:

  • as a result of this leave, he must repeat the training for the year in progress;
  • he will not be allowed to sit his exam at the end of the year in progress.

To do so, the apprentice must submit an application to the employer and to Children's Future Fund (Caisse pour l'avenir des enfants - CAE) at least 2 months before the start of the maternity leave.

Failing this, the right to the first parental leave is lost. Only one of the 2 parents may take the second parental leave.

If the CAE approves, both parents can take the second parental leave before the child's fifth birthday.

The employer cannot object to the postponement (except if the application was not submitted in the correct manner and within the legal deadlines).

Employee on a trial period
An employee 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 once the trial period has ended.

Unpaid parental leave
An employee who does not take or does not have the right to the first parental leave and wishes to reserve the second parental leave for the other parent may request unpaid leave for 4 months. The employer must grant this leave and cannot postpone it.

Single-parent family
In the case of single-parent families, separated or divorced parents, the parent who has custody of the child may choose between the first and second parental leave.

Full-time or part-time leave

Whether it is the first or second parental leave, an employee may request:

  • either full-time parental leave for 6 months, during which he stops working completely;
  • or part-time parental leave for 12 months, during which he reduces his professional activity by at least half of the normal working time applicable in the business (i.e. 20 hours for a business in which the normal working time is 40 hours per week), whatever the usual working time was.

Examples:

The normal working time of the business is 40 hours per week.

An employee who wishes to take part-time parental leave must then reduce his working time by at least 40/2=20 hours per week during 1 year:

  • if he initially worked 32 hours per week, he will work 12 hours per week (32-20);
  • if he initially worked 40 hours per week, he will work 20 hours per week (40-20);
  • if he intially worked 20 hours per week, he will stop work completely (20-20 = 0).

The amount of monthly working hours for the employed parent is stipulated in the employment contract. However, in the event the number of monthly working hours changes during the year prior to the parental leave, the average number of working hours will be taken into account for the year concerned. It must be noted that any change in 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 2012 and the concerned parent changes his working time from 70% to 100% on 1 March 2012, the time frame that will be taken into account to calculate the average number of monthly working hours will range from 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012. The result will be used for calculating the parental leave.

First parental leave

Form and application deadlines

The employee submits his application to his employer:

  • on paper;
  • by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt;
  • at the latest 2 months before the start of maternity or adoption leave.

The application must state:

  • that it is 'parental leave directly following maternity or adoption leave (first parental leave)';
  • the type of leave requested:
    • either 'full-time parental leave',
    • or 'part-time parental leave' (in this case, the employee may suggest how he would like to arrange his working time).

Employer's approval

The employer can neither refuse (except if the application was not submitted in accordance with legal conventions and deadlines) nor postpone the first parental leave

However, he can refuse to grant part-time 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 parental leave allowance submitted by his employee.

The employee must then forward the application to the CAE.

Remuneration

During the parental leave, the employee receives a fixed allowance paid by the CAE. It is not linked the employee's income or length of service prior to the parental leave.

The fixed allowance amounts to:

  • gross monthly amount of EUR 1,778.31 for a fulltime parental leave;
  • gross monthly amount of EUR 889.31 for a part-time parental leave;

Registration

During the full-time parental leave, the employer must:

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

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

Second parental leave

Form and application deadlines

The employee submits his application to his employer:

  • on paper;
  • by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt;
  • at the latest 6 months before the date where he wishes to start his parental leave. 

In addition, at least half of the second parental leave must be used up before the child reaches the age of 5.

The employee must therefore send the application as early as possible, given that the employer may postpone the beginning of the start of the second parental leave.

For example:

The following should be considered when applying for full-time parental leave in a business with more than 15 employees:

  • the employer may postpone the start of the parental leave by 2 months (provided the conditions of postponement are met);
  • the parental leave must legally start at the latest 3 months before the child's fifth birthday (half of the leave must have been used up by that date).

As the employer has the right to postpone the leave by 2 months, the application for parental leave should indicate a start date 5 months prior to the child's fifth birthday.

The employee must submit his application 6 months before the start date of his parental leave, in other words at least 11 months before the date of the child's fifth birthday.

The application must state:

  • that it is a 'parental leave to be taken before the fifth birthday of the child (second parental leave)';
  • the type of leave requested:
    • either 'full-time parental leave',
    • or 'part-time parental leave' (in this case, the employee may suggest how he would like to arrange his working time).

Employer's approval

The employer cannot refuse the second parental leave.

He may however:

  • refuse part-time parental leave. In this case, the employee must take full-time leave or renounce his 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 application.

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

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 can impact business operations as a result of simultaneous applications by several employees;
    • if it is impossible to arrange a replacement for the employee during the 6-month notice period following his application, due to the specific nature of his work or a reduced workforce in the field of activity of the business;
    • if the employee is part of senior management and effectively participates in the management of the business.
  • for 6 months maximum if the business employs less than 15 employees;
  • until the end of the season in the case of a seasonal activity if the requested period of leave is 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), problems at school or a behavioural disorder (attested by a certificate delivered by the competent school administration) requires the presence of the parents or;
  • 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 disagreement between employers where 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;
  • and propose a new start date for the parental leave which cannot be later than 2 months (or 6 months for businesses with less than 15 employees) after the initial leave date requested;
  • 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 accepted.

If an agreement is reached on the new 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.

Remuneration and registration of the employee

During the parental leave, the employee receives a fixed allowance paid by the CAE. The allowance is not linked to the employee's income and his length of service before the parental leave.

During the part-time parental leave, the employer must:

  • submit a new entry declaration 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 he works in the business.

When the employee returns to work following his parental leave, the employer will submit a new entry declaration in order to notify the change in the number of working hours.

Procedures for 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 may 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 leave or maternity leave, provided the parental leave is taken subsequently 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 following his 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 between the employee and employer at the latest one month before the start of the parental leave via an additional clause to the employment contract. However, the employee may at any time decide not to abide by this clause without this having negative consequences for him.

Protection against dismissal

For the duration of his parental leave, the employee is protected against any form of dismissal with notice. This protection is valid from:

  • 2 months and 1 day before the start of maternity leave / adoption leave, if it is the first parental leave;
  • 6 months and 1 day before 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. Terminating the employment contract will therefore result in the end of the parental leave and the employee must pay back any allowance already received during the parental leave.

Leave

The employer must:

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

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

End of the parental leave

When a parent on parental leave terminates the employment contract

If an employee hands in his notice or if the employment contract is terminated by common agreement by both parties before the parental leave has ended, the termination of the employment contract leads to the termination of the parental leave.

Monthly allowances already paid must be fully reimbursed by the employee.

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

Returning to work before the end of parental leave

The employee may keep the allowance if he, 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 prove the necessary change of employer for economic reasons.

However, any allowances paid by the CNPF until then can be kept by the employee.

Returning to work after parental leave

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

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

The employee who returns to his initial activity after parental leave is entitled 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 upon his own needs and the needs of the employee. If the employer rejects the request he must justify his decision.

If the employer does not fulfill thes obligations, the employee may file for compensation, the amount of which is determined by the labour tribunal.

Resignation of the employee after parental leave

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

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

At the end of parental leave, the employee must therefore return to work and only after returning to work can he resign. Failing this, he must reimburse the CAE all of the allowances received.

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

Special cases:
  • new maternity leave or adoption leave during the parental leave: the parental leave is suspended and the remaining amount of leave to be taken is added 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 it; 
  • death of the child or refusal of the adoption application during parental leave: the parent must return to work at the latest 1 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 he is unable to offer him employment corresponding to his qualifications and salary level, the parental leave is extended but cannot exceed its initial term.

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