Social elections

This page was last modified on 03-02-2014

Social elections take place every 5 years. On this occasion, employees 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.

The employer is not involved in the election for the members of the Chamber of Employees, which is organised exclusively by postal voting.

However, the employer must organise and oversee the elections for staff representatives aimed at setting up a single delegation for all staff, by means of a single ballot. To this purpose, the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines (ITM) can provide employers with forms.

Who is concerned

The following are involved in the election of staff representatives:

  • the employer, who must organise and oversee the election. The employer may delegate this task to an in-house employee;
  • the employee who participates in the election for staff representatives either as a voter and/or candidate in the election.

Prerequisites

Each employer is under the obligation to have staff representatives elected if he employs, on a regular basis, at least 15 employees under employment contracts.

Duration and deadlines

In principle, the election for staff representatives or the renewal of their mandate takes place between 15 October and 15 November every 5 years on a date set by a ministerial regulation published in the Official Journal (Mémorial).

In 2013, the date has been set to 13 November. Each business that employed at least 15 workers on 1 October 2013 had to organise social elections.

Outside this period, the employer may nevertheless have to organise the election of a new staff delegation in the following cases:

  • there are not enough active members on a list anymore and no substitute(s) to occupy the vacant seat(s) either;
  • the number of employees in a business reaches the minimum required (15 employees) for a staff delegation;
  • The Inspectorate of Labour and Mines will request a staff delegation if the employer has not complied with the legal obligation to organise social election within the deadlines.

How to proceed

Preparing the elections

Number of staff

The number of staff is established by determining the number of employees in the business on the first day of the month where the election notice is put up (for the social elections in 2013: 1 October 2013) by taking into account:

  • business managers and directors, as long as they are registered as employees with the Joint Social Security Centre;
  • the part-time employees if they work at least 16 hours per week. Should this not be the case, these employees are taken into account on a pro rata basis of their working time;
  • employees on a fixed-term employment contract and interim staff on a pro rata basis of their presence in the business during the previous 12 months.

However, the following are excluded from this breakdown:

  • employees on fixed-term employment contracts (CDD) and interim staff who are replacing an employee who is absent or an employee whose employment contract has been suspended;
  • apprentices.

A change in the number of employees has no impact on the existence of the delegation which continues to carry out its duties until the end of its mandate.

Number of active and substitute representatives to elect

The number of staff representatives to be elected is depending on the number of staff in the business.

The election of staff representatives in businesses with 15 to 100 employees takes place by simple majority.

The election of staff representatives in businesses with more than 100 employees takes place by a proportional voting system.

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

The employer must:

  • draw up, in alphabetical order, a list of employees 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 employees in the business and,
    • 'yes' and 'no' in the respective active and passive columns for voting rights;
  • deposit the electoral lists at the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines 3 weeks before election day.

The same day, the employer must inform employees by putting up an objection notice which must indicate that any objection regarding the electoral lists must be filed within 3 days of submission of said lists.

Active electorate

In order to be an eligible voter, the employee must:

  • be at least 18 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 appointment as staff representative, the employee must:

  • be at least 18 years old on the day of the election;
  • have been regularly employed in the business for at least one year (on a continuous basis) on the day of the election;
  • be a Luxembourg national or a national of a signatory country of the EEA or a third-country national with a valid work permit (or work permit B or C).

Employees who have several part-time jobs with several employers are only eligible in the company where they have the most working hours.
In the event of equal duration in two companies, they are eligible in the business in which they justify the highest length of service.
In the event the business in which the employee has the highest length of service is not subject to elections, the employee is eligible in the company organizing elections.

However, to be eligible, the employee must not be:

  • a 4th degree or closer relative of the employer;
  • the business manager, director or Human Resources Manager of 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, they are entitled to consult the staff representatives and also access their own personnel file in the company where they carry out their mission.

Type of elections

The type of election depends on the number of employees in the business.

Businesses with more than 100 employees => system of proportional representation

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

Each list must include:

  • a designated representative of the list;
  • 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 group of voters they represent.

An employee may not be on more than one list, either as a candidate or as a representative. A list may not have more candidates than the number of active and substitute seats to be assigned.

Businesses with up to 100 employees => system of relative or simple majority

For businesses with up to 100 employees, 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 he(they) accept(s) the candidacy.

Call for candidacies

Displaying the election notice

The employer must inform his employees about the election by means of a company notice at the latest one month before the election. The employer may use the company notice board used to communicate with employees, the Intranet of the business or send an e-mail to all the staff concerned. The election notice must include the following information:

  • the place and date of the election;
  • beginning and end of voting hours;
  • the number of active and substitute staff representatives to elect;
  • the place and date when the employees will be informed of the names of the candidates;
  • the conditions for the active/passive electorate;
  • the type of election (the relative majority system or proportional representation).

A copy of the election notice must be submitted to the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines on the same day.

Candidacies

The employer must receive the lists of candidates or individual candidacies from the concerned representative himself at the latest at 18.00 on the 15th calendar day prior to the voting day. Beyond this deadline, candidacies cannot be accepted.

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

On expiry of the deadline for submitting candidacies, several situations are possible:

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

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

He must display the list of valid candidacies on the notice board during the 3 last working days before the voting day.

The list 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 conducted using the system of proportional representation;
  • the surnames, first names and professions of all the valid candidates declared in the case of an election conducted using the system of relative majority;
  • the instructions for voters.
Number of candidates = Number of representatives => all are elected

If the number of candidates is identical to the number of active and substitute representatives to elect, and if the candidates agree on the names of the active representatives as well as on the order of replacement of substitute representatives, then the employer announces that all candidates are formally elected without any further formality.

The employer will finalise the voting report.

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

Number of candidates < number of representatives => all are elected + supplementary deadline for more representatives to be elected

If the number of candidates is less than the number of active and substitute representatives to elect, and if the candidates agree on the names of the active representatives as well as the order of replacement of substitute representatives, then all candidates are formally elected by the employer without any further formality.

The employer must then:

  • draw up the voting report;
  • inform the employees by means of a notification;
  • send a copy of the new notice to the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines;
  • grant an additional deadline of 3 days for new candidacies.

If on expiry of the deadline, no valid candidate has come forward, the employer drafts a report which he sends with the corresponding documents to the director of the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines.

The Minister of Labour and Employment automatically appoints the active and substitute representatives for the remaining vacant positions from amongst the remaining employees admitted to the passive electorate.

Holding elections

Voting papers

The voting papers, produced by the employer, must:

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

N.B.: if the election is held using the system of proportional representation, each list of candidates must have a tick box at the top used exclusively for voting. Two other tick boxes must be indicated next to the surname and first name of each candidate.

If the election is held using the majority system, only one tick box will be available next to the surname and first name of each candidate.

Voting office

On the day of voting, the employer must set up an electoral office consisting of:

  • a chairman, whose duties are fulfilled by the employer;
  • two assessors, appointed by the employer amongst the members of the outgoing delegation, or, failing that, amongst the voters.

The employer 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 voting ballot box large enough to contain all voting papers;
  • several copies of the instructions to voters which must be clearly displayed;
  • pens/pencils;
  • a table and chairs for the chairman and the two assessors;
  • two checklists where each list contains all the names of employees eligible to vote;
  • envelopes containing the voting papers. The envelopes must indicate the number of voting papers they contain;
  • the voting papers;
  • empty envelopes that may be used afterwards for unused voting papers, blank or null and void voting papers and valid voting papers;
  • the counting forms on which the votes will be registered;
  • a blank report, to be completed on voting day.

Vote

On voting 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 state the number in the report;
  • check that all the voting papers are stamped on the outside. If this is not the case, destroy the voting paper. The number of destroyed voting papers must be stated in the report;
  • ensure, before closing the voting ballot box, that it is empty;
  • put up the copies of the instructions to voters.

The voting procedure is as follows:

  • at the allotted time, the chairman opens the electoral office;
  • the voter states his name and must be able to show an identification document with a photo, if necessary;
  • the 2 assessors verify that the voter is listed on the electoral lists and check him off on the checklist. Any person who is not on the lists is not admitted to vote;
  • the voter admitted to vote by the chairman receives a voting paper folded in 4 at right angles and stamped on the back and goes into an empty voting booth;
  • after castin his vote, the voter shows the chairman his voting paper neatly folded in 4, with the stamp on the back, and puts it in the ballot box.

The voting ballot box must remain closed from the start to the end of the electoral process. It may only be opened when the electoral office is definitively closed.

To ensure the elections are held properly, the employer can not require from members of the voting office to continue to carry out their professional duties during the vote.

Essential voting rules

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

If the election is held using the system of proportional representation, the voter may allocate 2 votes to each candidate until he has used up all the votes at his disposal.

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

If the election is held using the system of simple majority, the voter may allocate one vote to each candidate until he has used up all the votes at his disposal.

Election result

Counting the votes

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

Firstly, the assessors:

  • establish:
    • the number of voters (consult checklist);
    • the unused voting papers;
    • the spoiled voting papers;
  • put the unused voting papers in a sealed envelope and indicate their number. The envelope must be sealed before the voting ballot box is opened;
  • record all this information in the voting report.

Secondly, the chairman:

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

Finally, the assessors:

  • count, for each category, the number of votes per list and/or the number of votes per individual candidate;
  • note 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.

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

  • establish a report on the electoral procedure and the results of the vote;
  • sign this report;
  • send a copy to the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines.

Assigning the seats

System of proportional representation

In order to determine the distribution of seats, the sum of the valid votes on all lists is divided by the number of the active representatives to elect, increased by 1. The "electoral figure (ef )" is the whole number which is immediately superior to the quotient thereby obtained.

ef = sum of valid votes on all lists / (Number of active representatives to elect + 1)

Each list will be allocated a number of seats for active and substitute representatives corresponding to the number of times the electoral figure is contained in the number of votes obtained by each list.

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.

In order to determine the number of seats (ns) for each list, we divide the total number of votes for a list by the electoral figure (ef ).

ns = number of votes for a list / ef

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

System of simple majority

When the election is held using the system of simple majority, the active and substitute representatives elected are those who received the largest number of votes.

Displaying the names of representatives

The employer must put up the names of the active and substitute representatives elected 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 election results were put up. He is then replaced by the next person on the list who received the next highest number of votes. As far as substitutes are concerned, it is the non-elected candidate who received the next highest number of votes that is added to list of substitutes.

In this case, the employer:

  • must again put up a notice for employees during the 3 consecutive days after the refusal of the candidate to serve his mandate;
  • drafts a new report;
  • sends a copy of this 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 delegation may not assume its responsibilities until the end of the 15th day following the last day the result of the vote was displayed.

After this deadline, the chairman of the outgoing delegation sets the date, in writing, of the constituent meeting of the new delegation.

The agenda for this constituent meeting must be the assignment of mandates.

Following this meeting, the delegation:

  • draws up a report on the assignment of the mandates;
  • sends, without delay, this information to the employer;
  • informs the employees by putting up a notice;
  • sends a copy to the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines.

Delegation time

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

Headcount < 500 employees

In organisations where the number of employees does not exceed 500 employees, paid hours of credit proportional to the number of employees are granted to the representatives, equal to 40 hours per week for 500 employees represented. These hours of credit must be divided amongst all staff representatives; the employer cannot intervene in this division.

For example: a business with a total of 350 employees.

The total hours of credit granted to the staff delegation are calculated in the following manner:

350 x 40/500 = a total of 28 hours

These 28 hours are granted to the members of the delegation as a whole. The delegation must then decide how to divide these hours.

Headcount > 500 employees

In establishments where the headcount exceeds 500 employees, full-time representatives are designated by the staff delegation.

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 representatives:

501-750

1

751-1,500

2

1,501-3,000

3

3,001-5,000

4

5,001-7,000

5

For businesses which have a headcount above 7,000 employees, on top of the 5 full-time representatives, one extra representative per 2,000 employees must be added.

For example:

A business with a total of 11,000 employees.

Number of full-time representatives

5 full-time representatives (because the number of staff is higher than 7,000)

+ 2 representatives (11,000-7,000/2,000)

That is to say 7 full-time representatives.

Equal opportunities officer

Paid hours of credit granted by the employer to the staff representatives do not include the hours of credit for the equal opportunities officer. This person, nominated by the staff delegation immediately after it assumes its responsibilities, has the right to hours of credit in accordance with the headcount of the business:

Number of staff

Hours of credit for 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 also make available, free of charge, a furnished office where the members may exercise their mandate.

Example: schedule for the election of staff representatives on 13 November 2013

Friday 11 October (at least one month before the election)

  • display of an election notice to the attention of employees indicating the date, location and beginning and end of election voting hours as well as the number of representatives to be elected;
  • send a copy of the election notice to the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines (the same day).

By this date, the director of the establishment or the actual staff delegation must have submitted an application for ministerial authorisation for a postal vote for absent employees.

Tuesday 22 October (3 weeks before election day)

  • deadline for submission of electoral lists (list of employees admitted to the active and/or passive electorate) to the ITM;
  • display of electoral lists for the attention of interested parties;
  • put up an objection notice with a 3 day validity for the attention of employees.

From Wednesday 23 October to Friday 25 October (3 working days after the submission of the lists)

Deadline for the presentation of objections against the electoral lists to the director of the establishment.

Tuesday 29 October at 18.00 (15 calendar days prior to the vote)

  • deadline (date and time) for submitting candidacies;
  • in the event of an insufficient number of candidacies, the deadline is extended by 3 days until Monday, 4 November, 18.00 by display and notice (a copy of the notice must be submitted to the ITM).

From Friday 8 to Tuesday 12 November (the last 3 working days prior to the vote)

  • display of the regular candidacies in the establishment.

Wednesday 13 November (day of the vote set by ministerial regulation)

  • open the electoral office at the time indicated on the election notice;
  • apply the voting procedure;
  • close the electoral office at the time indicated on the election notice;
  • count the votes;
  • draw up a report on the electoral proceedings;
  • send a copy of the report to the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines.

From Thursday 14 to Monday 18 November (during the 3 working days following the vote)

  • display the list with the elected representatives (regular and substitutes).

Tuesday 3 December (15 days after the last day of display of the results)

  • deadline for raising objections by registered mail addressed to the Director of the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines (ITM).

Wednesday 4 December (after the 15 days deadline following the last day of display of the results has expired)

The new staff delegation can not be set up before this date and in the event of an objection, not before the Director of the ITM has taken a decision.

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
2361 - Strassen
Luxembourg
Phone: (+352) 247 86145
Fax: (+352) 49 14 47