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Contracts, hours and holidays
Guide to:

Contracts, hours and holidays

by Sarita Rao 6 min. 26.10.2021
Labour laws in Luxembourg quite strictly define employment contract types, and the number of hours and paid holiday a worker is entitled to
Part-time workers have the same rights as those who work full time on a permanent or fixed-term contract Photo: Shutterstock
Part-time workers have the same rights as those who work full time on a permanent or fixed-term contract Photo: Shutterstock

If you’re a new arrival to Luxembourg or new to the job market, here’s a guide to the type of employment contracts you might sign, expected working hours, and holiday entitlements.

Employment contracts

The written agreement that governs your working relationship with your employer in return for remuneration, including the nature and conditions of your work, is your employment contract. In Luxembourg there are three main types of contract:

CDI (contrat à durée indéterminée) – permanent employment contract

CDD (contrat à durée déterminée) – fixed-term employment contract; and,

Temporary agency contract

It’s recommended that any contract is in writing and signed. An oral contract will be recognised, but the onus is on the employee to provide proof of the oral contract in a dispute.

Permanent contract (CDI)

This is the standard contract if there is a permanent need for specific work in a company. Before a contract can be drawn up, the position must be advertised with ADEM to enable jobseekers to apply, and be offered to any fixed-term contractors in the company who have a matching skill set. You should sign it before or on the day you start work.

The contract must give the start date (although for non-EU citizens, this can state you will start when you receive your work permit). It should also include the place of work, the nature of the job and the daily or weekly work and schedule.

In addition to salary, your contract should also include any other incentives or remuneration in kind such as luncheon vouchers. It must also state any collective conditions (for example, that the company will close for a period annually in summer) and give the length of probation or the trial period.

Finally a permanent contract should contain any voluntary or obligatory supplementary pension schemes or other schemes requiring an employee contribution, and provide the notice period. An employer can state a notice period, but if it is not within those accepted by law in Luxembourg it cannot be enforced. You can find a list of legal notice periods here.

The trial period or probation will allow for a quick termination if one or both parties is unhappy, but not if the employee was previously on a fixed-term contract with the same company. A trial period can be between 2 weeks and 12 months, depending on the job description and seniority of the post.

Fixed-term contract (CDD)

This is when you are hired for a period of time to undertake a specific task, or to replace someone on temporary leave (for example maternity leave). These contracts are more common in certain industries such as TV and entertainment, construction, hotel and catering, and teaching.

Within this category, seasonal contracts for harvest-related work, holiday tour guides and seasonal jobs in hotels or stores can allow for a fixed contract of up to 10 months in a 12-month period.

Most of the conditions remain the same as the CDI, but unlike it, the contract must state an end date (unless you are covering a job temporarily in which case it must state the name of the person whose job you are covering).

The maximum duration for a fixed-term contract is 24 months including any renewals (with the exception of researchers at research centres who can take CDDs for up to 60 months). You should sign your contract before you start work.

Part-time CDI and CDD contracts must include a schedule agreed by both parties. If the schedule is 20 hours per week, then there can be a 20% variant on a weekly basis over a 4 week period. So, for example, the employee can do two weeks at 18 hours and two weeks at 22 hours. Part-time workers have the same rights as full-time workers.

Temporary agency work

Here there are two contracts: one between the worker and the agency, and another between the agency and the company. Work must be for a limited time period and cannot be for a permanent or fixed role. You should receive your contract within two days of starting work, and it should include the end date or a minimum duration, the trial period and a renewal clause. A contract cannot exceed 12 months including renewals if the same worker is in the same role. The exception is seasonal work or work that requires highly specialised skills.

The agency will pay your salary, social security and tax contributions, and you are entitled to holiday leave pro rata to your contract. When the contract ends, the company must wait for a period of time (one third of your total contracted time) before recruiting for the same position.

Working hours

Luxembourg’s working time is 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. However you are allowed to do a maximum of 2 hours per day in overtime (up to 8 hours a week or a maximum of 48 hours per week).

Your work schedule (expected hours in work) should be included in your employment contract or in the company regulations, and any flexible working hours should remain within the legal limits. In some sectors, overtime can extend the working day to 12 hours per day, but you should still not exceed 48 working hours per week unless you are working in an accident or emergency capacity.

If you work between 22.00 and 06.00 this is classified as night work and you can only do a maximum of 8 hours in a 24 hour period, unless longer hours are regulated by a collective agreement. Sunday work must be subject to financial compensation or compensation in hours or time off during the week.

Lunch, breaks and holidays

If you work for more than six consecutive hours you are entitled to a rest period (usually your lunch break), but other breaks during the day are normally at your company’s discretion. Women can ask for two 45 minute breastfeeding breaks. Similarly women who must attend legally required pre-natal check-ups can take time out from work, but in all other cases, taking doctor or dentist visits during working hours without using paid leave is at the discretion of your manager or company.

An employer cannot impose paid leave dates without agreement from the employees or via a collective agreement if they want to close for a fixed period during the summer or over Christmas.

Statutory leave in Luxembourg is 26 days per year plus public holidays such as Christmas, and New Year’s Day. A full list of public holidays in Luxembourg is available here.

You can find more information and a full list of entitlements for maternity and paternity leave in our Understanding Family Benefits article. Parents can also take family-related leave for a sick school-aged child (18 days for children aged 4-13 years and 5 days for 13-18 years). Our article on Childcare Options outlines state childcare benefits.

You can take 3 days’ leave if you get married but just one day if you opt for partnership. If your child gets married you can also take a day off. For moving house, you get two days’ leave and can move once every three years. If your partner or spouse dies, you get 3 days’ leave, although in practise you may be allowed to take more time at the discretion of your boss or company.

You can find more information on contracts, including apprenticeships on the ADEM (Agence pour le développement de l'emploi) website here.


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