Benefiting from a collective agreement

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A collective agreement is a contract which pertains to working conditions and relations. It establishes a legal framework which uniformly applies to employees in a specific business sector.

Any collective agreement which is applicable to the business must be mentioned in employees' employment contracts.

Furthermore, the employment contract cannot contain provisions that are less favourable to the employee than those in the collective agreement.

Who is concerned

This concerns employees with private-law status (formerly 'employees' and 'private workers'/'communal workers') whose employers have signed a collective agreement or are members of a professional employer organisation who have signed a collective agreement.

Accordingly, this excludes employees who have a different specific status, such as civil servants and government employees, apprentices and students/pupils working during school holidays.

How to proceed

Entering a collective agreement

A collective agreement may be entered by and between one or more trade union organisations which meet the legal conditions, and:

  • one or more professional employer organisations;
  • a specific business;
  • a group or set of businesses whose production, activity or profession are of the same nature;
  • a group or set of businesses which constitute an economic and social unit, if the parties entitled to sign a collective agreement decide to do so. An economic and social unit is defined as a set of entities with one or more elements which qualify them as not being independent and/or autonomous units, but rather having a concentration of managerial powers and identical or complementary activities, or a community of employees linked by identical, similar or complementary interests, and who have comparable social status. The existence of entities with distinct legal personalities or the existence of a franchise does not prevent them from being qualified as an economic and social unit.

The provisions of the collective agreement thus apply both to an employer having negotiated with a trade union and to an employer who is a member of a professional employer organisation which has negotiated with such a trade union.

Mandatory declaration of a collective agreement

Any collective agreement which conforms to the legal provisions may be declared mandatory. Thus, a simple collective agreement becomes compulsory for all employers and employees in the profession, activity, line or economic sector in question.

This mandatory declaration procedure is triggered upon request from a professional employer organisation in the sector concerned, or from a trade union with general national representation, or representation in a sector that is particularly important to the Luxembourg economy, which must then send the request to the Minister of Labour. The mandatory declaration is made in the form of a grand-ducal regulation published in the Official Journal (Mémorial).

Application of a collective agreement

By establishing a unique scheme for private/communal workers and private employees (salariés), the principle of uniqueness of the collective agreement (convention collective de travail – CCT) remains in effect; in other words, there is one CCT per business or per sector.

However, when the unique status was written into Luxembourg legislation, the intention was not for workers hitherto not covered by a collective agreement to automatically be included in the scope of such an agreement. Therefore, a transitional period was planned from 1 January 2009, when the act on unique status took effect, to 31 December 2013, during which it would still be possible for employees and workers to enter distinct collective agreements.

Consequently, social partners may decide to enter one collective agreement for workers and another for employees, or not to enter a collective agreement for either of the two categories of staff. Therefore, automatic inclusion of all employees who are not yet covered by a collective agreement is precluded.

All CCTs entered before 1 January 2009 remain in effect and unchanged.

If there is any issue about application of the CCT and its conditions, employees may contact the staff delegate for their business.

Provisions relating to the collective agreement

As of 1 January 2014, communal businesses and employers may only enter a single collective agreement for all of their employees.

However, the principle of the uniqueness of the collective agreement was relaxed by the act on unique status.

Thus, it is now possible, where there are objective reasons, for social partners to exclude management and support duties that are not directly linked to the business'/sector's main activity from certain provisions contained in the collective agreement, or to set out different conditions.

The provisions of the collective agreements for which it is possible to exclude management and support duties as indicated above, or to create exceptions, are as follows:

  • the terms of hiring and firing employees, including the appropriate measures for welcoming and preparing them for the tasks they will perform;
  • the duration of work and its organisation, overtime, and daily and weekly rest periods;
  • public holidays;
  • the applicable leave arrangement, including annual leave in particular;
  • the remuneration system, as well as the components of salary by professional job category;
  • additional pay for night work;
  • premiums for difficult, dangerous and unsanitary work;

The aim here is to enable social partners to better take account of the peculiarities of certain sectors, businesses and roles within businesses.

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