Last updated more than 5 years ago
Linguistic leave is a form of additional special leave whose purpose is to enable employees —as well as self-employed workers and individuals in the liberal professions—of all nationalities to learn or perfect their command of the Luxembourgish language with a view to facilitating their integration into Luxembourg society.
Linguistic leave is provided for as part of the occupational training system available in Luxembourg, in addition to individual training leave.
Who is concerned
Linguistic leave may be granted to:
- employees working in Luxembourg and who have, at the time of the application, at least six months of service with the same employer in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (there are no specific conditions pertaining to the employment contract);
- self-employed workers, or individuals exercising a liberal profession, who have been working in in Luxembourg for at least 6 months.
No age or residence criteria need to be met to apply for linguistic leave.
Linguistic leave may be granted for any Luxembourgish language course taught either in Luxembourg or abroad by:
- public or private teaching establishments recognised by the public authorities and issuing certificates recognised by said public authorities;
- professional chambers or local authorities;
- foundations, natural persons or private associations specifically approved by the Minister responsible for vocational training;
- ministries, administrations and public establishments.
However, language courses that are part of a complete training programme or project, or courses that are taken in the framework of training leave for staff representatives, are not eligible.
How to proceed
Duration of leave
The total duration of the linguistic leave is limited to 200 hours, which must be divided into 2 stages of 80 to 120 hours each for each beneficiary throughout their professional career.
Access to stage 2 of the training is only possible after the successful completion of a stage 1 training course, attested by a certificate or diploma.
For persons working on a part-time basis, the days of leave granted are calculated proportionally.
Linguistic leave may be split up into several segments. The minimum duration of leave is 30 minutes per day.
Employees must submit their application for linguistic leave to their employer, who must complete the form. Employers have to issue an assessment on the request for linguistic leave.
That assessment may be either favourable or unfavourable. In case of a favourable assessment, the employer may require the employee to provide a certificate of attendance.
In case of an unfavourable assessment, the employer must justify the decision. If the employer's assessment is unfavourable, the leave may be deferred if the absence of the employee requesting the leave would have major repercussions on business operations or the smooth implementation of annual leave.
The employer can reject the application if, for example:
- a significant number of employees in the same department are absent for an extended period of time during the requested period of leave, which absence would result in the organisation of work being seriously disrupted;
- the applicant cannot be replaced during the notice period due to the specific nature of their work or the shortage of workers in the target field/profession;
- the work is seasonal and the leave being applied for falls in a period of seasonal work.
Applications for linguistic leave must be made using the specific form provided for that purpose, and submitted to the Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy (Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi, de l'Economie sociale et solidaire) before the beginning of the course. Applications submitted by employees also have to be approved by their employer.
Applications for linguistic leave must include the following information:
- name and address of the training institution;
- period of the training;
- duration of the training course in number of hours;
- number of hours and period of the requested leave.
Applications for linguistic leave for stage-1 courses for employees or self-employed workers must be accompanied by the following documents:
- the enrolment certificate(s) showing the number of hours of the course (exams, classes, etc.);
- a copy of the employment contract (only for employees);
- an up-to-date certificate of registration with the social security system, which can be ordered online on the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre commun de la sécurité social – CCSS) website.
- the employer's assessment (only for employees).
Applications for linguistic leave for stage-2 courses for employees or self-employed workers must be accompanied by the following documents:
- the diploma or certificate of successful completion received at the end of the stage-1 course;
- an up-to-date certificate of registration with the social security system, which can be ordered online on the CCSS website;
- the employer's assessment (only for employees).
Compensatory allowance for linguistic leave
Employees who have been granted linguistic leave are entitled to compensatory benefits corresponding to their average hourly wage for each hour of leave. The benefit amount cannot exceed 4 times the social minimum wage per hour for unskilled workers.
The compensatory benefit is paid by the employer. The State reimburses the employer 50 % of the compensatory benefit and 50 % of the employer's share of social contributions. Requests for reimbursement are made using a standard form provided for that purpose.
Self-employed workers, or individuals exercising a liberal profession, are entitled to compensatory benefits corresponding to 50 % of the reference amount calculated on the basis of the previous year's income used as the contribution base for pension insurance, which reference amount cannot 4 times the social minimum wage for unskilled workers. The benefit is paid after the self-employed worker, or individual exercising a liberal profession, has submitted a declaration using a standard form provided for that purpose.
Passing the course is not necessarily a condition for obtaining linguistic leave, but both the compensation for hours spent in class and the right to be admitted to stage 2 of the linguistic leave are linked, if not to taking an exam, then at least to a certified course attendance rate of at least 75 %.
Impact of the linguistic leave on working relationships
Linguistic leave is considered as an period of actual work. For the beneficiary of the linguistic leave, the legal and regulatory provisions in respect of social security and protection against dismissal continue to apply throughout the entire duration of the leave.
Sanctions in the event of false declarations
Any allowances received must be immediately reimbursed if obtained through knowingly false or incomplete statements made by the beneficiary. The beneficiary must also pay interest (at the legal rate) for the period from the day the benefits were paid out until the day they were reimbursed.