Businesses which need to carry out certain tasks on a recurring basis at the same time every year (depending on the seasons or collective ways of life) can resort to seasonal contracts.
A seasonal contract is a special form of fixed-term contract subject to specific rules.
A seasonal contract is not meant to cover a periodic increase in the normal activity of a business, but to cover specific tasks that are not performed throughout the rest of the year.
Who is concerned
- Employers who wish to hire an employee to carry out seasonal work; and
- employees who wish to carry out seasonal work for an employer in return for compensation.
Seasonal employment contracts can only be concluded for activities which are seasonal in nature, i.e. activities such as:
- 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;
- activities in retail stores, hotels and restaurants:
- which only take place during a part of the year; or
- which undergo a regular and predictable increase solely because of the season 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;
Furthermore, before recruiting an employee and drawing up an employment contract, employers must first submit a declaration of vacant position to the National Employment Agency (Agence pour le développement de l'emploi - ADEM).
This declaration will enable ADEM to check whether there are any jobseekers who have employment priority.
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.
Those who work in hazardous jobs are required to undergo a mandatory medical examination with the competent occupational health practitioner.
The duration of a seasonal contract cannot exceed 10 months including renewals over a period of 12 successive months.
The seasonal employment contract does not need to have a precise end date. It can have a conditional end date (the end of the contract is subject to the realisation of a specific condition or event) but in this case a minimum duration must be specified.
A seasonal contract ends when the purpose for which it was concluded is achieved or at the end of the agreed term.
Mandatory information and trial period
Apart from certain specific provisions concerning the duration, seasonal employment contracts must comply with the same rules that apply to 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 non-seasonal workers.
There are special provisions concerning working hours and paid leave in the HORECA sector (hotels, restaurants and cafés).
Workers employed by seasonal businesses who work on statutory public holidays can be compensated for each public holiday worked:
- by being granted 2 paid rest days within a period of 6 months;
- or by being granted 2 days of paid leave which is added to the ordinary leave;
- or by being granted a half day of paid rest per week for all public holidays worked during the entire period of work.
These rest days must be granted in addition to the compulsory uninterrupted rest time of 44 hours per week.
End date of the seasonal contract
A seasonal contract automatically ends when its term expires, or when the purpose for which it was concluded is achieved.
When a seasonal contract comes to an end, the employer and the seasonal worker have 3 options:
- continue their working relationship by signing:
- a permanent employment contract (contrat à durée indéterminée – CDI); or
- a fixed-term employment contract (contrat à durée déterminée - CDD); or
- end the working relationship.
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, the employer and their seasonal worker can choose to:
- continue their working relationship under the same terms and conditions as initially stipulated in the seasonal contract, but for an undetermined period of time (permanent contract); or
- negotiate the terms and conditions of a new, permanent contract which immediately replaces the seasonal contract at its term.
In both cases, the permanent contract will start with the following conditions:
- it can no longer include a trial period; and
- the employee's time on the seasonal contract is taken into account with respect to their length of service.
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.