Businesses which need to carry out certain tasks on a recurring basis, at the same time every year, depending on the seasons or collective ways of life (holiday periods, tourism, etc.) can resort to seasonal contracts.
A seasonal contract is a special form of fixed-term contract subject to specific rules.
A seasonal contract is not meant to cover a periodic increase in the normal activity of a business, but to cover specific tasks that are not performed throughout the rest of the year.
Seasonal employment contracts can only be concluded for activities which are seasonal in nature, i.e. activities such as:
- harvesting (incl. grape harvesting, etc.);
- packaging of harvested products;
- leisure and holiday instructor and coordinator;
- holiday tour guide and tourist guide;
- surveillance and maintenance of public open air swimming pools and camp sites;
- positions held in retail stores, hotels and restaurants that are only open at a certain period of the year;
- positions held in retail stores, hotels and restaurants that have a regular and foreseeable seasonal-related increase in activity during the year;
- positions held in companies active in aviation and the transportation of people that have a regular and foreseeable seasonal-related increase in activity during the year.
Furthermore, before recruiting an employee and drawing up an employment contract, employers must first submit a declaration of vacant position to the Employment Administration (Agence pour le développement de l'emploi - ADEM).
This declaration will enable ADEM to check whether there are any jobseekers who have employment priority.
Medical examination prior to recruitment
Seasonal workers who do not work in hazardous jobs only have to provide a certificate of vocational aptitude issued by their family doctor in their country of origin or by a general practitioner authorised to work in Luxembourg.
Those who work in hazardous jobs are required to undergo a mandatory medical examination with the occupational health practitioner from the occupational health service where the employer is registered.
Over a period of 12 successive months, a seasonal contract cannot be concluded for a duration exceeding 10 months including renewals.
The seasonal employment contract does not necessarily need to have a precise end date.
It can have a conditional end date but in this case a minimum duration must be specified. The contract ends when the purpose for which it was concluded is achieved.
Mandatory information and trial period
Apart from certain specific provisions concerning the duration, a seasonal employment contract must be drawn up according to the same rules as any fixed-term contract with regard to mandatory information and trial period.
Working conditions of seasonal workers
Seasonal workers have the same rights as other salaried workers.
There are special provisions concerning working hours and paid leave within the hotel and catering industry (HORECA sector - hotels, restaurants and cafes).
Workers employed by seasonal businesses that work on statutory public holidays can be compensated for each public holiday worked:
- by granting 2 paid rest days within a period of 6 months;
- by granting 2 days of paid leave which is added to the ordinary leave;
- by granting a half day of paid rest every week over the entire year if the worker has worked every statutory public holiday in the year.
These rest days must be granted in addition to the compulsory uninterrupted weekly rest time of 44 hours per week.
End date of the seasonal contract
The seasonal contract automatically ends on the end date or when the purpose for which it was concluded is achieved.
The employer is therefore not required to inform the employee in advance of the end of the working relationship or to give notice. However, both parties can decide otherwise, provided that the decisions are favourable to the employee.
When a seasonal contract comes to an end, the employer and the seasonal worker have 3 options:
- not continuing their working relationship beyond the end date;
- continuing the working relationship with a permanent employment contract;
- continuing their working relationship with a fixed-term employment contract (CDD).
Continuing the working relationship with a permanent contract
When the worker continues to work beyond the end date indicated in his fixed-term employment contract, the working relationship continues under a permanent employment contract and 2 possible scenarios become available:
- the employer and the salaried worker continue their working relationship under the same conditions and obligations as initially stipulated in the seasonal contract;
- the employer and the salaried worker negotiate the terms and conditions of a new contract, which takes over immediately from the seasonal contract.
In either case, the new permanent employment contract may not contain a trial period.
The employee's length of service must be taken into account as from the start date of his first seasonal employment contract.
Continuing the working relationship with a fixed-term employment contract
Renewal of the seasonal contract
Even if the seasonal contract is renewed from one season to another, the contract remains a fixed-term contract.
The employer can therefore conclude seasonal contracts for an unlimited number of seasons with the same salaried worker.
However, if the seasonal contract includes a renewal clause for the following season and the working relationship between the same employer and salaried worker continues for more than 2 seasons, the working relationship is deemed to be a permanent relationship.
If the employer does not wish to use a salaried worker for a 4th season after 3 successive seasons, despite a renewal clause, the employer must dismiss the employee.
Succession of seasonal contracts
In the case of a seasonal contract, the employer does not have to respect the waiting period required for fixed-term contracts, even if the seasonal worker is a temporary worker. The employer can therefore directly offer the salaried worker a new seasonal contract when the initial seasonal contract has come to an end, all the while respecting the legal provisions relating to the duration and renewal of seasonal contracts.
Example: an employer offers a seasonal contract to a worker as from 1 May for a period of 4 months. The contract is scheduled to end on 31 August. At the end of the contract, the employer renews the contract for another 2 months. On 31 October, the employer renews the contract again for another 2 months.
Even if the seasonal employment contract has been renewed twice already, the employer is not required to respect a waiting period. On 31 December, the employer offers to renew the contract for another 2 months.
When the contract terminates at the end of February, the employer can no longer extend the seasonal contract to March and April because it has already continued for a total of 10 months from the period covering 1 May to 30 April the following year.
Termination of a seasonal contract
Termination of a seasonal contract is governed by the sames provisions as the termination of a fixed-term contract.
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