Minimum Working Conditions
The Labour Code provides for minimum working standards. Both parties to the employment contract may only deviate from the Labour Code by being more favourable for the employee. Senior executives are excluded from the application of certain rules (for instance, the rules on working time).
The last increase to Luxembourg’s minimum wage occurred at the beginning of 2020. The current minimum wage of €2.141,99, however, is expected to rise by 20% for those classed as ‘skilled workers’ and will decrease by 20-25% for those classed as ‘adolescent workers’. This means a skilled worker aged 18 or older must be paid 20% more than the standard minimum wage, totaling €2.570,39. Workers aged 17 or 18 face a 20% deduction from the standard rate and must be paid at least €1.713,60, while those aged 15 to 17 face a 25% deduction and a minimum wage of €1.606,50. Even workers who earn above the minimum wage are affected by the national indexation of salaries, a barometer by which employers must adjust the wages they pay in line with the cost of living in Luxembourg. If the consumer price index rises or falls by 2.5% during a period, Luxembourg salaries must be adjusted by this percentage.
Maximum Working Week
Standard working time is limited to 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week, excluding higher-ranking employees. A working day may never exceed 10 working hours and a working week may never exceed 48 hours. A rest period of 11 hours every 24 hours and of 44 hours for every 7-day period must be respected. Collective agreements may provide for other (longer) breaks. The time savings account scheme (“compte-épargne temps” – CET) serves as a savings account for overtime and (supplemental) leave days and is meant for businesses that are covered by a collective agreement or an inter-branch agreement providing for a CET (are required to be negotiated). Only employees with a minimum of 2 years seniority are eligible for a CET; which is held in units of hours and is capped at 1.800 hours. Use of the CET hours is considered the equivalent to paid leave. When the contract ends, the CET of the employee will be liquidated and the employer pays a compensatory indemnity to the employee.
Overtime is strictly regulated and is only permitted with a prior authorisation from or a notification to the Minister of Employment. Where permitted, overtime is limited to 2 working hours per day and within the limit of 48 hours per week; employees are entitled to compensation in salary or free time for overtime. Sunday work is generally prohibited; employees will receive a special compensatory rest period and a 70% premium on their normal pay rate. Night work must be compensated with a salary supplement of 15% (per law, CBAs and in specific sectors).
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
The employer must ensure the health and safety of employees in all aspects related to his work. He must care for both the physical and mental health of his employees; stress and burnout must also be taken into account. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it was naturally understood that the employer’s obligations regarding safety and health were extended to include the implementation of all Covid-19 related measures (e.g. wearing face masks, ensuring physical distance of at least 1,5 meters between people, disinfecting regularly, etc.).
Protection from Retaliation
Employees may be protected from sanctions when they report certain facts to their superiors or other authorities, or testify in such cases. The most common example is the context of sexual harassment, where the Labour Code provides that employees who denounce or testify regarding a case of sexual harassment may not be subject to retaliation. Similar principles exist for cases of denunciation of inequality between men and women or in cases of whistleblowing.