Working hours and statutory vacations

Working hours and vacation entitlements in Luxembourg

Organization of working hours in Luxembourg

Legal working hours in Luxembourg companies

In Luxembourg, normal working hours are 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week for full-time work.

The law authorizes overtime of up to 2 hours a day and 8 hours a week. The maximum working time may therefore not exceed 10 hours a day, nor 48 hours a week.

Employees benefit from daily and weekly rest periods. These rest periods must be :

  • 11 hours minimum per 24-hour period
  • 44 consecutive hours minimum per 7-day period.

The employment contract or the company's internal regulations must specify fixed working hours.

Overtime in Luxembourg

The principle of overtime

Any hour worked in excess of normal working hours is considered overtime.

In the event of overtime, the maximum working time is limited to 10 hours per day or 48 hours per week.

The maximum working day can be extended to 12 hours in certain cases:

  • in certain sectors
  • in certain professions
  • at certain times of the year.

However, weekly working hours may not exceed 40 hours, except in exceptional cases. The 48-hour maximum working week does not apply to work performed :

  • in the event of an accident
  • in an emergency.

Lastly, employees can recover overtime worked or be paid accordingly.  

Overtime benefits in Luxembourg

In exceptional circumstances, employers can ask their employees to work overtime.

However, not all employees can work overtime. In particular, the law protects :

If the employee works overtime, the maximum working time must be 10 hours a day or 48 hours a week.

Overtime pay in Luxembourg

Overtime entitles you to :

  • compensatory time off or
  • salary increases.

In both cases, the surcharge is 40%.

In conclusion, paid overtime is exempt from tax and partially exempt from social security contributions.

Please note that executives do not receive additional compensation for overtime.

More flexible working hours in Luxembourg

More and more companies in Luxembourg are offering their employees the possibility of managing their working hours to achieve a better work-life balance.

In companies, this means one free afternoon a month, or the possibility of taking advantage of 2 free hours for personal needs,...

Flexible working hours

Flexible working hours are agreed between the parties (employee and employer). This must be established within legal limits and according to service requirements.

Flexible working hours in Luxembourg

An employee who is the parent of a child under the age of 9 suffering from a serious illness can ask his or her employer to adapt his or her working hours. This may take the form of flexible working hours, the ability to work from home, or a reduction in working hours for a certain period. To qualify, the employee must have been with the company for at least 6 months.

Work organization plan

If it so wishes, a company can draw up a "Plan d'Organisation du Travail" or "POT". The POT determines employees' working hours according to the company's foreseeable activity. The POT covers a reference period.

The POT can be set up for a period of 1 to 4 months maximum. Overtime must be paid in the form of overtime or additional leave.

Night work in Luxembourg

Night work in Luxembourg is legal. It concerns hours worked between 10pm and 6am. In the hotel and catering sector (Horeca), night work begins at 11pm and ends at 6am.

Night workers can work a maximum of 8 hours per 24-hour period per week. Collective bargaining agreements govern the amount of additional pay for night work.

Working on Sundays and public holidays in Luxembourg

With certain exceptions, it is forbidden to work on Sundays and public holidays in Luxembourg. In such cases, the worker must receive monetary compensation or compensatory rest.

This explains why stores are generally closed on public holidays and Sundays .

Rest periods in Luxembourg: legal provisions

Employees working more than 6 hours a day are entitled to one or more rest periods.

Break times may be paid or unpaid. Only one rest period per day may be unpaid.

The duration of breaks is not prescribed by law. However, unpaid breaks are limited in duration. It may not exceed three hours, or even four hours if the work schedule so requires.

Lunch break during working days

The lunch break is often an unpaid break from work.

In most cases, the individual employment contract specifies the lunch break. The applicable collective bargaining agreement may also specify the lunch break.

Coffee and cigarette breaks

Coffee and cigarette breaks are at the employer's discretion. Generally tolerated and remunerated, they should not be abused.

However, some companies do require their employees to take a cigarette break.

Breastfeeding break in Luxembourg

A young mothercan request breaks from work to breastfeed her child. The employer must then grant her breastfeeding time during her working day. Breastfeeding breaks count as working time. They entitle the employee to normal pay.

Breastfeeding time comprises two periods of 45 minutes each. The first break must be taken at the start of the working day. The second breastfeeding break is taken at the end of the employee's normal working day.

Finally, these two breaks can be transformed into a single breastfeeding period lasting at least 90 minutes in the following cases:

  • if the working day is interrupted only by a one-hour break
  • if the mother cannot breastfeed her child in the vicinity of her workplace.

Employee vacation entitlements in Luxembourg

Statutory annual leave in Luxembourg

Every employee is legally entitled to 26 working days of paid annual leave.

In addition to these days off , there are 11 statutory public holidays: New Year's Day, Easter Monday, May 1 and 9, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, Bastille Day (June 23), Assumption Day, All Saints' Day (November 1), Christmas Day and Boxing Day (December 25 and 26). If these public holidays fall on a Sunday, additional days off will be granted in addition to the above 26 days.

When a public holiday falls on a day not worked (e.g. a Sunday), the employee is entitled to a compensatory day off.

Employees may be entitled to additional days of leave under collective bargaining agreements or agreements between the parties.

Employee sick leave in Luxembourg

In Luxembourg, a sick employee is entitled to sick leave, which is governed by the law.

To avoid putting yourself at risk vis-à-vis your employer, you can find out more about work stoppages here.

Extraordinary leave for employees in Luxembourg

Employees are entitled to extraordinary leave in certain specific cases: 

  • Paternity leave for the birth or adoption of a child under 16: 10 days
  • Postnatal maternity leave: 12 weeks
  • Leave for family reasons (sick child, except serious illness) :
    • 12 days for a child between 0 and 4 years old
    • 18 days for a child aged between 4 and 13
    • 5 days for a child aged between 13 and 18
  • Caregiver leave: 5 days to provide help or care to a member of your household or family suffering from a serious illness.
  • Absence due to force majeure: 1 day
  • Employee's wedding: 3 days
  • Partnership declaration: 1 day
  • Marriage of a child: 1 day
  • Moving: 2 days (every 3 years)
  • Death of a minor child: 5 days
  • Death of partner, spouse, first-degree relative or partner's or spouse's spouse: 3 days
  • Enrolment for military service: 1 day

Find out more about maternity and parental leave in Luxembourg.

Company vacations in Luxembourg

A company may decide to close for annual leave. In this case, the collective vacation period must be agreed in advance with the staff delegation or, failing that, with the employees concerned.

The employer must inform his employees of the period of collective leave chosen at the latest during the 1st quarter of the year.

Several collective bargaining agreements require companies to take a collective summer and/or winter vacation:

  • building and civil engineering sector
  • ceiling framers
  • heating and sanitary fitters.

Each year, collective agreements in the building and civil engineering sectors impose compulsory collective vacations on their employees. With a duration of 15 working days in summer and 10 working days in winter, this measure concerns around 18,000 people.

In Luxembourg, August turns into "Summerlach". All building sites, whether public or private, come to a halt, except in the case of derogations granted by the Inspection du Travail et des Mines. This is the case, for example, when work is being carried out in schools, or in factories during production stoppages, or on request if the ITM considers the work to be urgent. On the other hand, private individuals carrying out work must comply with the regulations.

Application of salaried leave in Luxembourg

Employee scheduling of vacations

Employees must set their annual leave at least 1 month in advance and inform their company.

In principle, employees can choose the number of days they wish to take off. All leave must be taken during the current year. However, under certain conditions, annual leave may be postponed until December 31.

The employer may object to an employee's leave of absence for operational reasons. However, he may not impose individual leave dates without the employee's agreement. Nor can they impose unpaid leave.

The employer's repeated refusal to grant leave without giving a reason constitutes misconduct. In such cases, the employee may be required to resign with immediate effect.

Leave recovery in the event of employee illness

If an employee falls ill during his leave, he must notify his employer immediately. They must also submit a medical certificate within three working days.

The days covered by the medical certificate are considered as sick leave. If no longer unable to work, the employee must return to work on the date initially agreed with the employer. The employee and employer will then mutually agree on the employee's new leave period.

Medical consultation during working hours

It is not possible to consult a doctor during working hours. Only pregnant women are exempted from work to attend the prenatal check-ups required by law.

The employee may, however, request his employer's authorization to visit his doctor during working hours. The employer is under no obligation to give permission.

However, some collective bargaining agreements allow special time off for medical check-ups.

Find out more about sick leave in Luxembourg and the employee's obligations.

Termination of employment contracts during employees' vacations

During the leave period, the employee is not protected against dismissal.

If the employment relationship is terminated before the employee has been able to take all his leave, the employer must pay him the corresponding vacation pay.

If an employee who has been dismissed with notice or who has resigned is still entitled to days off, the employer cannot force him to take them during the notice period.

Similarly, the employer is not obliged to grant leave during the notice period.

Would you like to know more about the laws and working conditions in Luxembourg?

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