Working hours and statutory vacations

Organization of working time in Luxembourg

Legal working hours

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

The law allows for overtime of up to 2 hours per day and 8 hours per week. The maximum working time cannot exceed 10 hours per day, nor 48 hours per week.

Employees have 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 the working time in fixed hours.

Overtime in Luxembourg

The principle of overtime

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

In the case of overtime, the maximum working time must be limited to 10 hours per day or 48 hours per week.

It is possible to extend the maximum working day to 12 hours in certain cases:

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

However, the weekly working hours shall not exceed 40 hours, unless otherwise specified. The 48-hour maximum working week does not apply to work performed :

  • to deal with an accident
  • in case of emergency.

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

Overtime benefits

In the event of an exceptional situation, the employer may ask its employees to work overtime.

On the other hand, overtime cannot apply to all employees. In particular, the law protects:

  • teenage employees,
  • pregnant and nursing employees or apprentices
  • part-time employees
  • temporary employees
  • senior management.

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

Overtime pay

Overtime entitlement:

  • compensatory time off or
  • to salary increases.

In both cases, the increase is 40%.

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

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

Relaxation of the legal working hours

Working on a flexible schedule

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

Flexible working hours

An employee who is the parent of a child under 9 suffering from a serious illness can ask his or her employer to adapt his or her working hours. This can 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, employees must have been with their company for at least 6 months.

Work organization plan

If it wishes, a company can establish a “Work Organization Plan” or “WOP”. 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 covered by overtime or additional time off.

Night work in Luxembourg

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

Night workers may work a maximum of 8 hours per 24-hour period in a week. The collective agreements regulate the increase of night hours.

Work on Sundays and holidays

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

Rest time: legal provisions

Beyond 6 hours of work per day, every employee is entitled to one or more rest periods.

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

The length of breaks is not prescribed by law. However, the unpaid break has a limited duration. It cannot exceed three hours, or even four hours if the work schedule requires it.

Lunch break

The lunch break is often an unpaid break from work.

Most of the time, the individual employment contract sets out the lunch break. The applicable collective bargaining agreement may also specify the lunch break.

Coffee and cigarette breaks

The employer can set coffee and cigarette breaks as he sees fit. Generally tolerated and remunerated, they should not be abused.

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

Breastfeeding break

A young mother may request breaks to breastfeed her child. The employer must then grant her breastfeeding time during her work day. Breastfeeding breaks count as working time. They are entitled to the normal salary.

Breastfeeding time comprises two periods of 45 minutes each. The first break should be taken at the beginning of the workday. The second breastfeeding break occurs at the end of her normal daily work schedule.

Finally, these two breaks can be converted into a single breastfeeding time of at least 90 minutes in the following cases:

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

Leave entitlements

Statutory annual leave

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

In addition to these days off, there are 11 legal 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 holidays fall on a Sunday, they will be subject to additional days off, in addition to the 26 days above.

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

The employee may benefit from additional days of leave due to the collective agreement or agreements between the parties.

Sick leave

Sick employees are entitled to sick leave, which is governed by the law.

In order not to put yourself at risk with your employer, you can find more information on work stoppages here.

Extraordinary leave

Employees are entitled to extraordinary leave in certain specific cases:

  • Paternity leave for the birth or adoption of a child under the age of 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 between 4 and 13 years old
    • 5 days for a child between 13 and 18 years old
  • 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 marriage: 3 days
  • Declaration of partnership: 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 spouse: 3 days
  • Enrollment in military service: 1 day

Learn more about maternity and parental leave

Collective leave

A company may decide to close the business for annual leave.

In this case, the period of collective leave must be determined 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 first 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 or sanitary installers.

The collective agreements of the building and civil engineering sectors impose mandatory collective vacations on its employees every year. This measure, which lasts 15 working days in the summer and 10 working days in the winter, concerns approximately 18,000 people.

Concretely, the month of August turns into “Summerlach” or summer hole. All public and private construction sites are closed, except for exemptions granted by the Labour and Mines Inspectorate. This is the case, for example, when work is being done in schools, or in factories during production stoppages or on request if the ITM considers the work to be urgent. On the other hand, a private individual who is doing work will have to comply.

Learn more about the organization of work.

Terms and conditions of leave

Leave scheduling

Annual leave must be scheduled at least 1 month in advance.

The employee may, in principle, determine his or her days off as he or she sees fit. He/she must take his/her leave in full during the current year. However, under certain conditions, annual leave may be postponed until December 31.

The employer may object to the employee’s leave for service purposes. However, it may not impose individual leave dates without the employee’s consent. Nor can it impose an unpaid leave of absence.

Repeated refusal by the employer to grant leave without cause is a fault. This case may justify the employee’s resignation with immediate effect.

Leave recovery in case of illness

If the employee becomes ill during his or her leave, he or she must notify the employer immediately. He/she must also provide a medical certificate within three working days.

Days covered by the medical certificate are considered sick leave. If the employee is no longer unable to work, he or she must return to work on the date originally agreed upon with the employer. The employee and the employer will then agree on the employee’s new leave period.

Consultation of a physician 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 checkups required by law.

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

However, some collective agreements may allow special leave for medical examinations.

See sick leave in Luxembourg.

Termination of the employment contract during the 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 of his or her leave, the employer must pay the employee the corresponding leave allowance.

If an employee who is terminated with notice or resigns is still entitled to vacation days, the employer cannot force the employee to take them during the notice period.

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