Annual paid leave, also called "annual recreational leave," is a right granted to all employees having worked for the same employer for three continuous months.
Annual leave totals 25 business days per year, regardless of the employee's age. However, collective agreements or individual agreements between an employer and an employee may provide for an increase in the number of days of annual leave. As long as they satisfy certain conditions, disabled war veterans, victims of work-related accidents, and disabled employees are entitled to an additional 6 business days per year of leave.
Note that disabled warveterans, victims of work-related accidents and disabled employees are entitled to an additional 6 working days a year, provided they have worked full time over the whole year. On the other hand, workers redeployed (internally or externally) following a decision by the Joint Committee on Redeployment are not entitled to that additional leave.
Scope of application of annual leave
In general, the legal duration of annual leave is 25 business days per year. A collective agreement or an individual agreement between the employer and the employee may include additional days of leave for the employee.
Days of paid leave count towards the duration of the work week.
In principle, employees may take paid leave only after three continuous months of service with the same employer.
This three-month requirement applies both to employees on fixed-term employment contracts and those on permanent employment contracts. However, it does not apply to temporary agency workers.
During the first year of employment, paid leave accrues at a rate of one-twelfth per full month of work. Only those fractions of a month exceeding 15 days are deemed a full month's work.
In principle, from 1 January onwards, employees may take all of the leave due them for the year in question. However, there is an exception for recently hired employees: their right to take leave begins only after they have worked for 3 continuous months for the same employer, unless their employment is terminated.
In general, employees must take their annual leave in full during the year in question. However, any remaining annual leave may be deferred until 31 March of the following year if theemployee was not able to take leave due to the company's operational needs.
After this deadline, employees lose their accrued leave, unless:
- if the employee has been unable to use their leave due to the employer's operational needs, or if the employer refuses to allow the leave for other justified reasons;
- if the employee has not been able to schedule their leave due to illness;
- if the employer and employee have entered into a specific agreement allowing employee to take the leave during the following year.
There are specific provisions allowing an employee to request a deferment of the proportional leave due for the first year of employment until the following year.
If the employer specifically indicates on the salary slip the amount of leave that can be deferred from one year to another, the deferral of the amount of leave indicated is automatically accepted from year to year for an unlimited period of time.
If a public holiday coincides with a day on which the employee should not have worked in any event, the employee may make up that day of leave on another working day within the following three months.
Setting the date of annual leave
Except in certain sectors (e.g. HORECA, agriculture/horticulture) or for certain categories of worker (e.g. apprentices), employees can set the dates of their leave however they wish, taking account of:
- the needs of the business;
- the reasonable wishes of other employees (e.g.: in certain businesses, priority is given to employees with children).
The employer may alter employees' leave dates only for exceptional reasons related to the proper functioning of the business.
The employer may not impose individual leave dates without the employee's approval, nor force them to take unpaid leave.
The employer has the right to refuse leave if the employee has unjustified absences amounting to over 10% of the normal work schedule over the part of the year which has already elapsed.
Calculation of leave and allowance
- part-time employee: in case of part-time activity, the leave due is calculated pro rata on the basis of the number of hours worked weekly;
- employee on maternity leave: the employee's right to annual leave is not suspended during her maternity leave;
- employee on parental leave:
- during the period of full-time parental leave, the employee's leave entitlement is suspended;
- during the period of part-time parental leave, the employee's leave entitlement is calculated pro rata on the basis of the number of hours worked weekly.
Employees receive pay during their leave. In calculating the amount of the allowance to be paid to the employee while on leave, employers must take overtime hours and other compensation into account. On the other hand, non-regular payments such as bonuses and performance-based pay are not taken into account.
For each day of leave, employees are entitled to an allowance equal to their average gross daily salary over the three months immediately preceding the leave. For employees whose salaries are subject to significant variation (for example, where their salary varies depending on turnover), the allowance due during leave is calculated based on the 12 months preceding the leave.
Average daily salary is calculated by dividing gross monthly salary, including fringe benefits, by 173. If a salary increase is granted during the 3 months (or 12 months, as the case may be) preceding the leave, or even during the leave itself, the employer must take the increase into account in calculating the leave allowance.
The employer must keep a record of the days of leave taken and to be taken by each employee. This information may be kept either on paper or in electronic form.
On penalty of losing the leave allowance, the employee may not perform any paid work while on leave since leave is granted to employees for the purpose of protecting their health.
The employee may not give up the leave which he is entitled to, even in return for compensatory pay, except if the working relationship is terminated.
Legal general holidays
If the business closes for an annual leave period, or if the employer decides to set a period of collective holiday, the latter must be set by mutual consent with the majority of employees or staff representatives, and they must be notified of it within the first quarter of the year in question.
If the duration of the collective leave is greater than the duration of the individual leave to which the employee is entitled, the difference is counted in full as annual paid leave.
Annual leave and trial periods
A newly hired employee is eligible for leave after three months of continuous service in the company. If the employee takes leave during their trial period, the trial period is extended by the number of days of leave taken, up to a maximum of a one month extension of the trial period.
Annual leave and illness
If workers fall ill during their period of leave, sick days recognised as such by a doctor's certificate are not considered leave days, provided the certificate is given to the employer within 3 days if the worker is in Luxembourg, or as soon as possible if they are abroad.
The leave must then be re-set by mutual agreement between the employer and the employee.
At the end of the year, leave that has not been taken due to an inability to work that lasts for all or part of the year, and remains ongoing at year end and/or beyond 31 March of the following year, is deferred for so long as the employee is unable to take leave due to the illness.
Legal holiday and end of the working relationship
Annual leave does not protect an employee from dismissal. An employer may dismiss an employee who is on leave but must comply with applicable laws regarding prior notice and the remaining days of leave to be taken.
If the employee's contract is terminated during the year, one-twelfth of the employee's annual leave will be granted for each month in which the employee worked more than 15 calendar days.
If the employee has not taken all of their accrued leave before their departure from the company, the employer must pay an allowance corresponding to the leave not taken at the time of departure.
If after termination of the employment contract a new contract is entered into between the same employer and the same employee within 3 months following the termination, this interruption will not be considered a termination of the employment contract. As a result, the employee will not lose their leave.
Where the employee has been on medical leave for all or part of the year, and for that reason has not been able to use their annual paid leave before the end of the year, they are entitled to an allowance in compensation for leave not taken at the time of the end of the employment relationship.
In principle, the law does not provide for special hours or days of leave in order to attend medical appointments during working hours.
However, in practice an employee may attend a medical appointment during working hours by requesting and receiving prior authorization from their employer.
Permission to leave work to vote
Employees may obtain permission from their employers to exercise their civic rights and duties – in particular, to vote in municipal, legislative, and European Union elections.
Time off to vote may not be counted against the employee's paid leave.