A seasonal employment contract is a special form of fixed-term employment contract subject to specific rules.
A seasonal employment contract is not meant to cover a periodic increase in the normal activity of a business, but rather to cover specific tasks—that depend on the rhythm of the seasons or collective ways of life—that are not performed throughout the rest of the year.
Who is concerned
Seasonal employment contracts involve:
- an employer who wishes to hire an employee to carry out seasonal work;
- an employee who wish to carry out seasonal work for an employer in return for compensation.
The following are considered to be seasonal activities:
- harvesting (incl. grape harvesting, etc.);
- packaging of harvested products;
- the activities engaged in by leisure and holiday instructors and coordinators;
- the activities engaged in by holiday-tour and tourist guides;
- surveillance and maintenance of beaches, outdoor swimming pools and camp sites;
- jobs in retail stores, hotels and restaurants that are only open at certain times of the year;
- jobs in retail stores, hotels and restaurants that have a regular and foreseeable increase in activity at certain times of the year;
- jobs in companies involved in aviation and the transportation of passengers that have a regular and foreseeable increase in activity at certain times of the year;
How to proceed
Pre-employment medical examination
Seasonal workers who do not work in hazardous jobs only have to provide a certificate of vocational aptitude issued by their family doctor in their country of origin, or by a general practitioner authorised to work in Luxembourg.
For those who work in hazardous jobs, a visit to the occupational health practitioner assigned to their employer is mandatory.
Within a time frame of 12 successive months, a seasonal contract may not be concluded for more than 10 months, including renewals.
The seasonal employment contract does not necessarily need to have a precise end date. It may have a conditional end date, but in that case, a minimum duration must be specified.
A seasonal contract ends when the purpose for which it was concluded is achieved.
Mandatory information and trial period
Apart from certain specific provisions concerning the duration, seasonal employment contracts must comply with the same rules that apply for any fixed-term employment contract in terms of mandatory information and trial period.
Working conditions of seasonal workers
Seasonal workers have the same rights as any other employee.
However, in the hotel and catering industry (HORECA sector - hotels, restaurants and cafes), special provisions regarding working hours and paid leave apply.
Employees in seasonal businesses who work on statutory public holidays can be compensated for:
- each public holiday worked, either by being granted 2 days of rest within 6 months of the holiday, or 2 days of paid leave which are added to the ordinary leave; or
- all of the public holidays worked in the year, by being granted one half-day of paid rest per week over the entire year.
These rest days must be granted in addition to the compulsory uninterrupted weekly rest time of 44 hours per week.
End date of the seasonal contract
A seasonal contract automatically ends hen its term expires, or when the purpose for which it was concluded is achieved.
When a seasonal contract is about to expire, the employer and the seasonal worker have 3 options:
- continue the working relationship with a permanent employment contract;
- continue the working relationship with a fixed-term employment contract;
- not continue the working relationship beyond the term.
Continuing the working relationship with a permanent employment contract
If the seasonal worker continues to work beyond the term specified in their seasonal employment contract, there are 2 possible scenarios:
- the employer and the employee continue their working relationship under the same conditions and obligations as initially provided for in the seasonal contract;
- the employer and the employee negotiate the terms and conditions of a new contract, which takes over immediately from the seasonal contract.
In both cases, the permanent contract will start with the following features:
- it can no longer include a trial period;
- the employee's time on the seasonal contract counts towards their length of service.
Continuing the working relationship with a fixed-term employment contract
- renewal of a seasonal contract: even if the seasonal contract is renewed from one season to another, the contract remains a fixed-term contract;
An employee can therefore conclude seasonal contracts for an unlimited number of seasons with the same employer. However, if the seasonal contract includes a renewal clause for the following season, and the working relationship between the same employer and employee continues for more than 2 seasons, the working relationship is deemed to be a permanent relationship.
- succession of seasonal contracts.
Termination of a seasonal contract
The termination of a seasonal contract is subject to the same conditions that apply for the termination of a fixed-term employment contract.