Social elections

This page was last modified on 10-03-2016

Social elections take place every 5 years. On this occasion, the salaried workers vote to elect:

  • the members of the staff delegation in their company;
  • and the members of the Chamber of Employees at national level.

In 2013, the social elections took place on 13 November.

Employers do not intervene in the election for the members of the Chamber of Employees, which is organised exclusively by postal voting.

However, employers must organise and oversee the elections of staff representatives in order to set up a single staff delegation for all staff, by means of a single ballot. To that purpose, the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines (ITM) can provide employers with the appropriate forms for social elections.

It should be noted that the law of 23 July 2015 on the reform of the social dialogue in companies has amended several provisions of the labour law regarding social elections. The new rules below apply to social elections which take place after 1 January 2016.

Who is concerned

The following are involved in the election of staff representatives:

  • the employer, who must organise and oversee the election. Nevertheless, employers are allowed to fully delegate these tasks to an in-house salaried worker;
  • the salaried worker, who participates in the election for staff representatives either as a voter and/or candidate in the election.

Prerequisites

Employers are under the obligation to have staff representatives elected if they have employed at least 15 salaried workers under an employment contract during 12 months prior to the first day of the posting of the announcement of elections.

Duration and deadlines

In principle, the election to set up or renew the staff representatives is planned between 15 October and 15 November every 5 years. The exact date is set by ministerial regulation published in the Mémorial.

For example, in 2013, the date was 13 November. A business that employed at least 15 salaried workers on 1 October 2013 was required to organise social elections. In principle, the next social elections will take place in November 2018.

Outside of this period, a full renewal of the members of the staff delegation will take place in following cases:

  • if the regular staff representatives on a list:
    • no longer represent the required minimum number of members needed;
    • and there are no substitute staff representatives to fill the vacant position(s).

      It should be noted that in this case there is no obligation to replace the members but it is a possibility made available by the Minister of Labour after consulting with the trade unions who are representative on a national or sector level and who have elected regular members in the staff delegation concerned.

  • when the number of salaried workers in a business reaches the minimum required (15 salaried workers) to set up a staff delegation;
  • when the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines requires the employer to set up a staff delegation in the event where the employer has not complied with the legal obligation to organise social election within the mandatory deadline.

In the 2 first cases, the mandate of the newly appointed or renewed staff delegation will in principle expire at the social elections in 2018. Exceptionally, if the mandate would last less than a year before the social elections in 2018, said mandate would be extended until the next social elections in 2023.

How to proceed

Preparing the elections

Number of staff

The minimum staff required to organise elections is 15.

The number of staff is calculated by determining the number of salaried workers in the business during the 12 months preceding the first day of the posting of the announcement of elections, namely by also taking into account:

  • the business managers and directors, as long as they are registered as salaried workers with the Joint Social Security Centre;
  • the part-time workers whose weekly work schedule is 16 hours at least. If this is not the case, the number of staff is calculated by dividing the total number of work hours indicated in their employment contracts by the legal or statutory working time;
  • salaried workers on fixed-term employment contracts and the interim staff in proportion to their presence in the business during the 12 months preceding the first day of the posting of the announcement of elections.

However, the following workers are excluded from this calculation:

  • salaried workers under a fixed-term employment contract (CDD) and interim staff who are replacing an absent worker or a worker whose employment contract has been suspended;
  • apprentices.

A change in the number of salaried workers has no impact on the existence of the staff delegation who continues to carry out its tasks until the end of the mandate.

Number of regular and substitute representatives to elect

The number of staff representatives to elect depends on the total number of staff in the business.

The election of staff representatives in businesses with 15 to 100 salaried workers is taking place by a relative majority vote.

The election of staff representatives in businesses with more than 100 salaried workers is held through the system of proportional representation.

Number of staff

Number of regular representatives to elect

Number of substitute representatives to elect

15-25

1

1

26-50

2

2

51-75

3

3

76-100

4

4

101-200

5

5

201-300

6

6

301-400

7

7

401-500

8

8

501-600

9

9

601-700

10

10

701-800

11

11

801-900

12

12

901-1,000

13

13

1,001-1,100

14

14

1,101-1,500

15

15

1,501-1,900

16

16

1,901-2,300

17

17

2,301-2,700

18

18

etc.

etc.

etc.

Electoral lists

Employers are required to:

  • draw up the list of salaried workers in alphabetical order who are eligible for active and/or passive voting rights. The following must be indicated on the electoral lists:
    • the surnames and first names of all the salaried workers in the company;
    • and the indication 'yes' and 'no' in the respective columns for active and passive voting rights.
  • submit the electoral lists at the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines (ITM) 3 weeks before election day.

The same day, employers must inform their workers by publicly posting a notice stating that any objection against the electoral lists must be submitted within 3 days from the submission of said lists.

Active electorate

In order to be an eligible voter, the salaried worker must:

  • be at least 16 years old on the day of the election;
  • have been employed by the business for at least 6 months on the day of the election;
  • be associated with the business by an employment contract or an apprenticeship contract.
Passive electorate

In order to be eligible for staff representation, the salaried worker must:

  • be at least 18 years old on the day of the election;
  • have been employed by the business without interruption during the 12 months preceding the first day of the posting of the announcement of elections;
  • be a Luxembourg national or authorised to work in Luxembourg.

Workers with several simultaneous part-time jobs with several employers are only eligible in the company in which they have the largest number of working hours.

In the event of equal working hours in two different companies, they are eligible in the company in which they have the most seniority.

If the company in which the salaried worker is eligible is not legally required to set up a staff delegation, the salaried worker then becomes eligible in the company that organises elections.

However, to be eligible, the salaried worker must not be:

  • a 4th degree or closer relative of the employer;
  • the managing director, business manager or head of HR in the business concerned.
Interim staff or contracted staff

Interim and contracted staff are not allowed to vote nor can they be elected in the company where they carry out their mission.

However, these workers are allowed to:

  • consult the staff representatives in the company where they carry out their mission;
  • access their own personnel file.

Election system

The election system depends on the number of salaried workers in the business.

Businesses with more than 100 salaried workers => system of proportional representation

For businesses with more than 100 salaried workers, the presentation of the candidates takes the form of lists of candidates.

Each electoral list shall include:

  • a designated representative;
  • a list of the candidates in alphabetical order (surname, first name and profession);
  • a name for the list;
  • a reference to the trade union or electoral group that they represent.

The election system does not allow:

  • a salaried worker to be on more than one electoral list, whether as a candidate or staff representative.
  • an electoral list to contain more candidates than the number of seats to be assigned (regular and substitute seats).
Businesses with up to 100 salaried workers => system of relative majority

In businesses with less than 100 salaried workers, the presentation of the candidates takes the form of individual candidacies.

Whatever system is used, each list or each individual candidacy must be accompanied by a declaration signed by the candidate(s) attesting that they accept the candidacy.

Call for candidacies

Posting the election notice

Employers are required to inform their salaried workers of the election by means of a posted notice at the latest one month prior to the election. To that purpose, employers can:

  • either use the company notice board used to display communications to salaried workers;
  • share the information through the business's intranet;
  • or send an email to all the staff concerned.

The election notice must include the following information:

  • the place and date of the election;
  • the start and end time of the vote;
  • the number of regular and substitute staff representatives to elect;
  • the place and date when the salaried workers will be informed of the names of the candidates;
  • the conditions for the active/passive electorate;
  • the election system (relative majority system or proportional representation).
A copy of the election notice must be submitted to the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines (ITM) on the same day.

Candidacies

Employers must receive the lists of candidates or the individual candidacies from the representative concerned in person at 18.00 at the latest on the 15th calendar day prior to the opening of the votes or by registered mail 2 days before that deadline at the latest. Beyond this deadline, candidacies are no longer accepted.

N.B.: Each list of candidates must designate a representative. The representative is responsible for submitting the list to the employer or the employer's authorised representative.

After the deadline for submitting candidacies, several situations are possible:

Number of candidates > number of representatives needed => elections take place

If the number of candidates exceeds the number of regular and substitute representatives to elect, the employer organises the election of staff representatives.

The employer is required to post the list of valid candidacies on the notice board during the 3 last working days before election day.

The list posted must state on the same sheet, in large characters and in alphabetical order:

  • the surnames, first names and professions of the candidates on all the valid lists which were registered in the case of an election through the system of proportional representation;
  • the surnames, first names and professions of all the valid candidates in the case of an election through the system of relative majority;
  • the instructions for voters.
Number of candidates = Number of representatives needed => everyone is elected

All candidates are declared elected by the employer without any further formality provided that:

  • the number of regular and substitute representatives to elect exactly matches the number of candidates;
  • and that they are in agreement with regard to the names for the regular staff representatives and the order of replacement with substitute staff representatives.

In this case, the employer draws up the final voting report.

If the candidates do not reach an agreement, the employer organises the election (normal procedure).

Number of candidates < number of representatives needed => all are elected + additional deadline

If the number of candidates is lower than the number of regular and substitute representatives to elect and if the candidates agree on the names of the regular and substitute staff representatives including on the order of replacement of regular representatives by substitute representatives, then all candidates are elected by default.

In the absence of candidates, the employer must:

  • draw up the voting report;
  • send a copy of the report to the director of the ITM on the election day at the latest.

The director of the ITM will conduct an inquiry in the company concerned.

Upon recommendation from the director of the ITM, the Minister of Labour and Employment appoints the regular and substitute representatives among the eligible salaried workers in the company within 2 months from election day.

The list of valid candidacies will be displayed on the notice board during the 3 last working days before election day (except in the case of postal voting where the Minister may grant a longer deadline).

Holding elections

Voting papers

The voting papers, produced by the employer, have to:

  • be similar to the note with the valid candidacies, but of a smaller size, and not include the instructions to voters;
  • state the number of regular and substitute representatives to elect;
  • be identical (in terms of paper, format and print);
  • be folded in 4 at a right angle and stamped, before the vote, on the back with a seal provided by the employer.

It should be noted that if the election is held with the system of proportional representation, each list must have a tick box at the top to be used for the voting. Two other tick boxes must be placed after the surname and first name of each candidate.

If the election is held with the majority system, only one tick box is placed after the surname and first name of each candidate.

Voting office

On election day, employers must set up an electoral office consisting of:

  • a chairman, whose duties are fulfilled by the employer;
  • 2 assessors, appointed among the voters by the outgoing staff delegation, or, where no delegation exists, by the employer, or in the event of an objection, by the director of the ITM.

Employers must not allow any other person to be present, on pain of nullity of the electoral process.

The chairman must ensure that the electoral office is equipped with the following items:

  • voting booth(s) (failing that, an area with sufficient privacy where the voter can cast his vote, but which cannot be outside the electoral office);
  • a ballot box large enough to contain all the voting papers;
  • several clearly displayed copies of the instructions to voters;
  • pens and/or pencils;
  • a table and chairs for the chairman and the 2 assessors;
  • 2 checklists with all the names of the salaried workers who are eligible to vote;
  • envelopes with the voting papers. The envelopes must indicate the number of voting papers they contain;
  • the voting papers;
  • empty envelopes which may be used afterwards for unused voting papers, blank, void and valid voting papers;
  • the counting forms where the votes will be registered;
  • a blank election report, to be completed on election day.

Vote

On election day, the chairman and the 2 assessors must be present at least 30 minutes before the opening of the electoral office. In order to prepare the elections, they must:

  • count the voting papers and record the number in the report;
  • check that all the voting papers are stamped on the outside. If this is not the case, the voting paper concerned must be destroyed. The number of destroyed voting papers must be stated in the report;
  • ensure, before closing the ballot box, that it is empty;
  • display the copies with the instructions for the voters.

The voting procedure is as follows:

  • at the time indicated on the posting, the chairman opens the electoral office;
  • the voter must state his name and be able to present, if need be, a valid ID with a photo;
  • The 2 assessors verify that the voter is listed on the electoral lists and check him off the checklist. Any person not on the electoral list is not allowed to vote;
  • the voter who is admitted to vote receives, from the chairman, a voting paper folded in 4 at right angles and stamped on the back and is then invited to go into an empty voting booth;
  • after casting his vote, the voter shows the chairman his voting paper neatly folded in 4, with the stamp on the outside, and puts it in the ballot box.

The ballot box must remain closed from the beginning to the end of the electoral process. It may only be opened after the electoral office has definitively closed.

In order to ensure that the elections are held properly, the employer cannot require the members of the voting office to continue to carry out their normal work during the vote.

Essential voting rules

Each voter has as many votes as there are regular and substitute representatives to elect.

If the election is held with the system of proportional representation, the voter can cast 2 votes to each candidate until he has used up all his votes.

A voter who ticks the box at the top of an electoral list selects this list in its entirety and thereby allocates one vote to each candidate on the list.

If the election is held with the system of simple majority, the voter may allocate one vote to each of the candidates until he has used up all the votes.

Election result

Counting the votes

At the scheduled closing time for the vote, the electoral office is closed and locked.

As a first step, the assessors:

  • count:
    • the number of voters (checklist);
    • the unused voting papers;
    • the destroyed voting papers;
  • place the unused voting papers in a sealed envelope and indicate their number.
    The envelope must be closed and sealed before the ballot box is opened;
  • register all this information in the voting report.

In a second step, the chairman:

  • opens the ballot box;
  • mixes the voting papers and counts them without unfolding them;
  • writes down the number of voting papers that were in the box in the voting report (this number must be identical to the number of voters counted by the assessors on the checklists);
  • begins to count the votes by sorting the uncontested or valid voting papers into 3 categories:
    • the voting papers with votes for a complete list only;
    • the voting papers with the votes for a list with individual candidates;
    • the voting papers with votes for individual candidates only.
  • write down the number of votes that are valid, blank or void in the election report.

Finally, the assessors:

  • count, for each category, the number of votes per list and/or the number of votes per individual candidate;
  • write this information on the counting forms;
  • carry out a second count:
    • for each candidate: the number of votes for each candidate is the sum of the individual votes obtained plus the number of votes for the entire list (the voter who ticks the box for a list chooses this list in its entirety and thereby casts one vote for each of the candidates on this list). This breakdown helps to rank the candidates on each of the lists.
    • for each list: the total number of votes obtained by the candidates on this list. This breakdown helps to calculate the number of seats for the list.
  • note this information in the report.

After the seats have been assigned, the chairman and the 2 assessors:

Assigning the seats

System of proportional representation

In order to determine the distribution of seats, the sum of the valid votes for all the lists is divided by the number of the regular representatives to elect, increased by 1. The "electoral number (eN)" is the next consecutive whole number after the result obtained with this calculation.

eN = sum of valid votes for all the lists / (number of active representatives to elect + 1)

Each list will be allocated as many seats for regular and substitute representatives as the number of times the electoral figure is contained in the number of votes obtained by the list concerned.

A list that has not obtained at least 5 % of the valid votes cast will not be taken into consideration for the distribution of seats.

So in order to calculate the number of seats (NS) for a given list, the total number of votes cast for said list is divided by the electoral number (eN).

NS = number of votes for a list / eN

On each list, the respective seats for the regular and substitute representatives are allocated to the candidates who received the largest number of votes.

System of simple majority

In elections held with the system of simple majority, the elected regular and substitute representatives are those who received the highest number of votes.

Posting the names of the representatives

The employer must post the names of the elected regular and substitute representatives in the company during the 3 days following the vote.

Should an elected candidate refuse to serve his mandate, he must inform the chairman of the electoral office at the latest on the 6th day after the posting of the election results. The candidate is then replaced by the next person on the list who received the next highest number of votes. With regard to the number of substitute representatives, the non-elected candidate who received the next highest number of votes is added to the list of substitutes.

In this case, the employer:

  • must inform the salaried workers by posting a new notice during the 3 consecutive days after the refusal of the candidate to serve his mandate;
  • drafts a new report;
  • sends a copy of the new report to the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines with a copy of the resignation of the elected candidate.

Setting up the new delegation

Constituent meeting

The salaried worker with the highest number of votes calls the constituent meeting within one month following the elections.

During the meeting, the staff delegation appoints, among his regular members, in a secret ballot and in accordance with the rules of the relative majority:

  • a president;
  • a vice-president;
  • a secretary.

In the case of a tied vote, the oldest person is elected.

During the constituent meeting, the staff delegation appoints, among its members or among the other salaried workers:

  • a safety and health representative;
  • an equal opportunities officer.

Within 3 days of their appointment, the staff delegation informs:

  • the business manager;
  • and the ITM.
It should be noted that if the appointed representative is not a member of the staff delegation, he/she may participate in all the meetings of the staff delegation concerned in a consultative capacity.

Composition of the board of the staff delegation

In order to handle the daily business and the preparation of its meetings, the staff delegation appoints the members of its board among its regular members in a secret ballot and in accordance with the rules of proportional representation. The board will be composed of the president, the vice-president, the secretary and:

  • one member, if the staff delegation has at least 8 regular members;
  • 2 members, if the staff delegation has at least 10 regular members;
  • 3 members, if the staff delegation has at least 12 regular members;
  • 4 members, if the staff delegation has at least 14 regular members.

For its new role regarding its participation in certain business decisions in businesses with at least 150 salaried workers, the board is increased by at least one more staff representative.

The increase is in proportion to the number of votes received for each list with members in the staff delegation but who are not yet a member of the board.

The number of members of the board can be increased in businesses with more than 150 salaried workers because of their right to participate in certain business decisions.  The increase will take place as follows:

  • in proportion to the number of votes received;
  • with at least one staff representative:
    • from each list represented in the staff delegation;
    • but who is not yet a member of the board.

The president of the staff delegation must provide the business manager and the ITM in writing within 3 days after the constituent meeting with the names of:

  • the vice-president;
  • the secretary;
  • the members of the board.

During the first meeting after the constituent meeting of the staff delegation, the employer must inform the elected members about:

  • the business structure;
  • its ties to other businesses, where applicable;
  • the foreseeable economic development;
  • the employment structure;
  • the business policy in terms of vocational training, health and safety at work and equal treatment.

Work time awarded to the staff delegation

Once the delegation has been established, the employer must provide the staff representatives with the necessary time to exercise their duties during office hours without any loss of salary.

The below mentioned work hours credited are distributed in proportion to the votes received between each list that received at least 20 % of the seats at the time of the election.

Number of staff < 150 salaried workers

In businesses where the headcount does not exceed 149 salaried workers, the business managers grants a certain amount of paid time credit to the staff delegation which is calculated in proportion to the total number of staff based on a time credit of 40 hours per week for 500 salaried workers.

Example

A business has a total of 100 salaried workers.

The total time credit granted to the staff delegation is calculated as follows:

100 x 40/500 = a total of 8 hours

These 8 hours are granted to the staff delegation. The distribution of these hours to the members of the staff delegation must be in proportion to the lists which received at least 20 % of the votes at the election.

Number of staff > 150 < 249 salaried workers

In businesses where the headcount is between 150 and 249 salaried workers, the business managers grants a certain amount of paid time credit to the staff delegation which is calculated in proportion to the total number of staff based on a time credit of 40 hours per week for 250 salaried workers.

Example

A business has 200 salaried workers.

The total time credit granted to the staff delegation is calculated as follows:

200 x 40/250 = a total of 32 hours

These 32 hours are granted to the staff delegation. These hours are then distributed to staff representatives in proportion to the votes for each list which received at least 20 % of the votes at the election.

Number of staff > 250 salaried workers

In businesses where the headcount is at least 250 salaried workers, the staff delegation appoints some of its members to carry out their tasks as a full-time staff representative.

The number of full-time representatives depends on the headcount of the business as presented in the table below:

Number of staff

Number of full-time staff representatives:

250-500

1

501-1,000

2

1,001-2,000

3

2,001-3,500

4

For businesses with more than 3,500 employees, in addition to the 4 full-time representatives already present, one extra representative per 1,500 employees will be added.

Example

A business with a total of 11,000 salaried workers.

Number of full-time representatives:

4 full-time representatives (because the number of staff is higher than 3,500)

+ 5 staff representatives (11.000-3.500/1.500)

I.e. 9 staff representatives will be freed from work in order to carry out their tasks as staff representatives on a full-time basis.

Equal opportunities officer

Paid time credit granted by the employer to the staff representatives does not include the time credit awarded to the equal opportunities officer.

The equal opportunities officer who is appointed by the staff delegation during the constituent meeting is entitled to a time credit in proportion to the number of staff in the business which is determined during the 12 months prior to the first day of the announcement of elections:

Number of staff

Time credit awarded to the equal opportunities officer

15-25

4 hours/month

26-50

6 hours/month

51-75

8 hours/month

76-150

10 hours/month

>150

4 hours/week

The employer must provide, free of charge, a furnished office where the members of the staff delegation can exercise their mandate.

The safety and health representative

The safety and health representative is appointed by the staff delegation during the constituent meeting among:

  • its members;
  • or among the other salaried workers in the company.

He or she is not entitled to paid time credit.

Staff delegation for the economic and social entity

As of the next social elections, each economic and social entity which includes at least 2 companies with a staff delegation each will be entitled to have its own staff delegation.

An economic and social entity (entité économique et sociale - EES) is a group of undertakings:

  • with one or more elements which allows to deduct that they are not independent and/or autonomous units;
  • but who also shows a concentration of managerial powers and identical or complementary activities or who has a community of salaried workers related through identical, similar or complementary interests and with a comparable social status;
  • regardless of the fact that these entities may be independent and/or separate legal persons and even if they should operate under the franchising regime.

Every available element which helps determine the existence of an economic and social entity is taken into account, such as:

  • the existence of common or complementary structures or infrastructures;
  • the dependence on one or more economic beneficiaries, whether these are totally or partly identical, complementary or related;
  • the dependence on a joint, complementary or related management or shareholding, or the dependence on management or supervisory bodies with the same persons or the persons representing the same organisations whether wholly or in part;
  • the fact that the community of salaried workers is linked by common or complementary interests or that said workers have a similar or related social status.

EES composed of businesses where at least 2 have a staff delegation

Whenever one or more businesses create an economic and social entity (entité economique et sociale - EES), it is possible, upon request by at least 2 staff delegations in the entity, to create a separate staff delegation at the level of the EES.

Such requests have to be made within 3 months after the social elections and must be submitted to the respective employers of the entities concerned.

The mission of the staff delegation of the EES is to represent the interests of every salaried worker employed in any of the businesses in the EES.

The only responsibility of the EES's staff delegation is to ensure the exchange of information between the various staff delegations who created it.

The staff delegation of the EES is composed of regular and substitute staff representatives of each business with a staff delegation.

The number of staff representatives per business depends on the total number of their staff:

  • for businesses with 15 to 100 salaried workers : one regular and one substitute representative;
  • for businesses with 101 to 500 salaried workers: 2 regular staff representatives and 2 substitute staff representatives;
  • for businesses with more than 500 salaried workers: 3 regular staff representatives and 3 substitute staff representatives.

The members of the staff delegation in the EES are elected by and among the members of the staff delegations according to the system of relative majority in a secret ballot.

If, in any of the businesses in the EES there are one or more businesses with less than 15 salaried workers and without staff delegation, then the total staff of this or these businesses appoint a representative who will participate in the meetings of the EES's staff delegation.

This or these representatives are entitled to half the training hours of regular staff representatives.

EES with at least 3 businesses without staff delegation and with less than 15 salaried workers in total

Businesses in an EES without staff delegation have the possibility to request the creation of a staff delegation on EES level, provided that at least 3 businesses:

  • employ less than 15 salaried workers each;
  • constitute an EES;
  • and employ at least 15 workers in total.

The request to create a staff delegation on EES level has to be submitted to the ITM. by at least 15 salaried workers.

The ITM will then set the date for elections by relative majority.

The legal provisions that apply to staff delegations are the same as those that apply to the EES's staff delegation, with the exception of the provisions regarding:

  • information and consultation concerning technical, economic and financial issues;
  • participation in certain business decisions;
  • the safety and health representative and the equal opportunities officer.

The members of the EES staff delegation benefit from the same rights and duties as the members of regular staff delegations, except for those concerning vocational training.

The right to vocational training is limited to the number of training hours granted to substitute staff representatives.

It should be noted that the entities concerned have to comply with the new rules as of the next social elections which will take place after 1 January 2016.

Who to contact

18, rue Auguste Lumière
L-1950 - Luxembourg
Postal box B.P. 1263 - L-1012
Luxembourg
Phone (+352) 27 494 200
Fax (+352) 27 494 250
Email csl@csl.lu

Opening hours
Monday to Friday from 08.00 - 12.00 and 13.00 - 17.00
3, rue des Primeurs
L-2361 - Strassen
Postal box BP 27, L-2010
Luxembourg
Phone (+352) 247 76100
Fax (+352) 247 96100
Email contact@itm.etat.lu

Opening hours
from Monday to Friday from 8.30 to 12.00 and 13.30 to 16.30