Apprenticeship contracts

An apprenticeship is a form of vocational training which includes:

  • periods of classroom education whose objective is the acquisition of specific knowledge related to trades and professions;
  • periods of practical training, in a professional environment (organised under an apprenticeship contract), provided by companies whose objective is to have the apprentice acquire the key skills of a particular trade or profession.

An apprenticeship contract can prepare for various diplomas:

  • the technician's diploma (diplôme de technicien - DT);
  • the vocational aptitude diploma (diplôme d'aptitude professionnelle - DAP);
  • the vocational capacity certificate (certificat de capacité professionnelle - CCP).

Who is concerned

Persons receiving the training

In the context of the establishment of an apprenticeship contract, the persons receiving the training are, in particular, those who wish to learn a profession and prepare themselves with a view to obtaining a technician's diploma (DT), a vocational aptitude diploma (DAP) or a vocational capacity certificate (CCP).

They must:

  • be at least 15 years of age;
  • meet the minimum schooling requirements set by Grand-Ducal Regulation;
  • prove to the company providing their training (host company) that they attend classes regularly;
  • exercise the greatest discretion regarding the company's business affairs;

Persons conducting the training

In the context of the conclusion of an apprenticeship contract, the persons giving the training are host companies, namely the professionals who offer an apprenticeship contract, such as:

  • legally established companies;
  • public administrations;
  • public-sector establishments;
  • foundations;
  • non-profit associations (association sans but lucratif - ASBL).

The host company appoints a mentor, who is the person responsible for practical training and mentoring of apprentices in the host company. The host company's manager can also decide to directly mentor an apprentice.

Natural persons who wish to teach apprentices the skills required in the trade must:

If the host company is a legal person, it must satisfy the same conditions as those imposed on individuals, excluding the age requirement.

Apprenticeships for adults

Adult persons who want to learn a profession through adult learning must:

  • be at least 18 years of age on 1 September of the year of registration for the apprenticeship;
  • have been out of the initial schooling system for 12 months;
  • not have been on an apprenticeship contract in the framework of initial training for at least 12 months;
  • have been affiliated with the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre Commun de la Sécurité Sociale - CCSS) for at least 12 months (continuous or otherwise) and for at least 16 hours per week;
  • submit an application for "adult learning" between 2 May and 15 September to ADEM's Vocational Guidance Department.

An exemption from the condition of not being on an apprenticeship contract for at least 12 months may be granted by the Commission that decides on the access or refusal to the adult apprenticeship:

  • to holders of a vocational capacity certificate (CCP) who wish to acquire a DAP in the same field;
  • to holders of a DAP who wish to acquire a DT in the same field;
  • to holders of a CCP, a DAP or a DT who wish to acquire a DAP or a DT in a complementary field.

Prerequisites

Persons looking for a company providing apprenticeships in order to learn a trade or profession should go to ADEM's Vocational Guidance Department for information and guidance about their possibilities in terms of professional choice and career.

Future apprentices must go to the relevant department in order to register before they can enter into an apprenticeship contract.

Any person entering into an apprenticeship contract obtained by their own initiative is required to inform said department and to register.

Deadlines

Apprenticeship contracts must be entered into between 16 July and 31 October.

How to proceed

Characteristics of apprenticeship contracts

Some Labour law provisions apply to apprenticeship contracts, in particular:

  • the protection of young workers;
  • health and safety at work;
  • occupational health;
  • the protection of employees who are pregnant, breastfeeding or who have recently given birth;
  • the protection against dismissal in the event of sick leave;
  • legal leave.

Legal form of the apprenticeship contract

The form of the apprenticeship contract is defined by the professional chambers and must be drawn up:

  • in writing at the latest when the apprenticeship starts;
  • in 5 copies:
    • one is kept by the host company;
    • one is given to the apprentice;
    • one is given to the competent employers' professional chamber or to the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth (MENEJ) in the case of host companies that do not depend on any employers' professional chamber;
    • one is given to the Chamber of Employees,
    • one is for the ADEM's Vocational Guidance Department.

The apprenticeship contract is sent to the host company directly by the relevant employers' professional chamber. No changes must be made to that apprenticeship contract as doing so could change the nature of the contract.

The apprenticeship contract must be signed by the host company and the apprentice or, if the latter is a minor, by their legal representative, by no later than 31 October.

The apprenticeship contract must be sent by the host company for registration purposes to either the competent employers' professional chambers, or to the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth (MENEJ) in the case of host companies that do not depend on any employers' professional chamber;

Trial period

Apprenticeship contracts usually provide for a trial period which may not exceed 3 months. The trial period must be stipulated in writing in the apprenticeship contract.

The purpose of the trial period is to:

  • allow the apprentice to make sure they have chosen the right trade or profession;
  • to offer the host company the opportunity to evaluate the motivation and the necessary capacities of the apprentice.

If the contract is suspended during the trial period (e.g. in the event of sickness), the trial period will be extended by a duration equal to the period of suspension but the extension cannot exceed one month.

The parties can terminate the apprenticeship contract without advance notice and without providing any justification during the trial period, with the prior consent of the 2 competent professional chambers (the employees' and the employers' chamber).

In the absence of prior approval, the termination is deemed arbitrary and gives rise to compensatory damages.

If the contract is suspended during the trial period (e.g. in the event of sick leave), the trial period will be extended by a duration equivalent to the period of suspension with a maximum duration of one month at the most.

Apprenticeship remuneration, subsidies and bonuses

The minimum monthly apprenticeship allowance to be paid by the host company to their apprentice depends on the trade or profession chosen, the apprenticeship year or the successful intermediate integrated project, as well as on the changes in the cost of living index.

After the successful completion of the apprenticeship year, apprentices are entitled to an apprenticeship bonus in the amount of:

  • EUR 130 per month of apprenticeship for a CCP qualification;
  • EUR 150 per month of apprenticeship for a DAP or DT qualification as well as for cross-border apprenticeships.

Applications for the bonus must be sent to the ADEM before 1 July of the following year together with supporting documents. After this deadline, the apprentice loses the benefit of bonuses.

Example: for the apprenticeship year 2017-2018, applications must be sent before 1 July 2019.

Health & Safety

Medical examination

The apprentice is considered an employee and a young worker as far as health and safety at work are concerned.

The purpose of the pre-employment medical check is to determine whether the candidate is fit or unfit for the intended occupation. The medical check must take place within 2 months of the recruitment.

Periodic medical examinations must be organised if the apprentice is less than 21 years old.

Before signing the contract or before the beginning of work at the latest, underage apprentices and their legal representatives must be informed in writing of the potential risks they may be exposed to and of all the measures in place to protect their health and safety.

Apprentices who are less than 21 years old must also receive appropriate instructions before they start work, in the presence of:

  • the representative of young employees;
  • the safety representative;
  • the designated worker in charge of protective and preventive measures against occupational risks.

The reform on social dialogue has entered into force since 1 January 2016. This puts an end to the existence of the representative of young salaried workers as of 2018; their mission will be taken over by the staff delegation.

Working hours

Working hours include:

  • the time spent in on-the-job training;
  • the time spent in school-based training.

Working hours include compliance with applicable rules for:

The host company must contact the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines (Inspection du travail et des mines - ITM) for the practical implementation of working hours.

Expiry and renewal of the apprentice contract

End of the apprenticeship contract

The apprenticeship contract may end in the following cases:

  • after the successful completion of the training;
  • force majeure;
  • upon mutual agreement between the parties concerned;
  • upon decision by the employers' association, in the event where the apprentice or the host company clearly fail to meet their contractual obligations or if the apprentice lacks the sufficient skills for the chosen profession;
  • with the cessation of the host company's activities or in case they lose their accreditation as a host company for apprenticeships.

Termination of the apprenticeship contract at the initiative of one of the parties

The apprenticeship contract may be terminated without notice by the host company or the apprentice, or, where applicable, the apprentice's legal representative, in the following cases:

  • serious and/or repeated offences against the provisions of the contract;
  • if one of the parties is facing criminal charges;
  • during the 3-month trial period without the obligation to give a reason;
  • for health reasons established by a physician if the apprentice is unfit for the trade or profession in question.

The apprenticeship contract can be terminated with 15 days' notice if it has been established that the apprentice is unable to acquire the skills needed for the trade or profession.

The prior approval of the relevant professional chambers is required for all unilateral terminations of the apprenticeship contract. In the absence of their approval, the termination of the apprenticeship contract is deemed arbitrary and may give rise to compensatory damages.

The party who wishes to terminate the apprenticeship contract must send a written termination request to the competent apprenticeship advisor unless the termination occurred during the trial period.

This request for termination must state the precise reasons for the termination. Documents proving these reasons must be attached to the request.

The apprenticeship adviser will immediately set an appointment with all parties and try to mediate the situation. The mediation must take place within 15 calendar days following the receipt of the request.

If the mediation is successful, the request for termination:

  • is either invalidated, resulting in the continuation of the contract;
  • or it leads to the termination by mutual agreement of the apprenticeship contract.

A report on the mediation is sent by the apprenticeship adviser to the competent professional chambers (or to the Minister, in the case of host companies which are not affiliated with any employers' association), within 15 calendar days following the meeting of the parties.

If the mediation fails:

  • the apprenticeship adviser informs the Chamber of Employees and the competent employers' chamber, or the Minister, where applicable;
  • a meeting with the Disputes Board (commission des litiges) is organised by the competent professional chamber, or by the Minister, where applicable, within 15 calendar days following the meeting of the parties.

The Disputes Board, after hearing the parties, will:

  • either give its written consent for the termination of the apprenticeship contract. In this case, the terminating party must send a letter of termination by registered mail to the other party. The letter must mention the precise reasons leading to the termination, unless the termination takes place during the trial period. The apprenticeship contract ends on the date of notification of the termination letter, unless it is found, after the trial period, that the apprentice is unable to learn the profession: In this case, the contract will be terminated following 15 calendar days' notice;                                                                    
  • or it does not give its written consent for the termination of the apprenticeship contract. In this case, each party is free to bring the case to the labour tribunal. The apprenticeship adviser will submit a report to the Disputes Board, which includes the conclusions of the meeting and specifies the opinion of the commission. The report is signed by the Board members. The Board's opinion is communicated to the contracting parties by the competent professional chamber or the Minister, by registered letter indicating the reasons for the opinion. A copy of this letter is sent to the professional chambers.

Termination of the apprenticeship contract by the employers' association (or the Minister where applicable)

The employer's association may terminate the contract, with the agreement of the Chamber of Employees if:

  • the apprentice or host company is clearly in breach of the contract; or
  • the apprentice's lack of sufficient skills for the chosen profession becomes apparent during the intermediate integrated project.

The termination of the contract by the professional chamber (or the Minister where applicable) is notified by registered letter outlining the motives to both the apprentice and the host company.

The Chamber of Employees must submit their approval in writing. The approval can be submitted by electronic means.

The apprenticeship contract ends on the date of notification of the termination letter.

The contract can be terminated without notice unless it is found that the apprentice is unable to learn the profession: in this case, a 15-day notice period is required.

Cross-border apprenticeships

Cross-border apprenticeships are training programmes in which:

  • the practical component, in a professional environment, is carried out in a host company located in Luxembourg;
  • the school-based training is provided by an establishment in a neighbouring country.

Cross-border training is possible, on condition of obtaining prior authorisation from the Minister (ADEM's Vocational Guidance Department and the relevant professional chambers act as advisors for the Minister).

The apprentice must send a written and motivated request to the vocational training department of the Ministry of Education, Children and and Youth (MENEJ) specifically stating:

  • their surname, first name and home address;
  • the surname, first name, occupation and address of the apprenticeship provider in the case of a natural person;
  • the name and address of the registered office in the case of a legal person (company, non-profit organization);
  • the name and address of the educational establishment where the school-based training will take place;
  • the name of the trade/profession concerned by the apprenticeship, as well as the training programme;
  • a copy of the school reports for the last school class attended prior to the beginning of the apprenticeship.

The apprenticeship contract must be registered with the relevant employers' professional chamber in Luxembourg, or with the Ministry in the case of trades or professions that are not covered by an employers' professional chamber. The apprentice must provide a copy to the establishment responsible for their theoretical training, as well as to the competent authority for the training abroad. With respect to the practical component in Luxembourg, the minimum applicable apprenticeship allowances are those provided for in Luxembourg.

End of an employment contract

At the end of an apprenticeship contract, the apprentice and the host company may enter into a fixed-term employment contract or a permanent employment contract.

Forms / Online services

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