Development cooperation leave

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The aim of development cooperation leave is to enable experts and representatives of accredited non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to participate, alongside their professional activities, in projects that benefit populations in developing countries, whether their participation is in Luxembourg or abroad.

Development cooperation leave gives the right to a maximum of 6 days of leave per year which is added to the amount of legal leave.

Who is concerned?

Development cooperation leave is open to salaried workers and self-employed workers who:

  • participate in development cooperation projects as an expert or representative of an accredited NGO (with the exception of employees of such an organisation); and
  • meet the following conditions:
    • be at least 18 years of age;
    • be a national of a member state of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD);
    • be called upon to provide services to the population of a developing country as part of a development project;
    • collaborate in the implementation of a development project carried out by an NGO for the benefit of people in developing countries;
    • have the necessary training, skills and preparation.


Salaried workers who wish to benefit from development cooperation leave must have worked at least one year for the same employer.

Additionally, development cooperation leave can only be requested in order to participate in one of the following activities:

  • expeditions or travel to identify, formulate, carry out, oversee, control and assess the cooperation projects that benefit populations in developing countries;
  • administrative and financial management of an NGO cooperation project that benefits populations in developing countries;
  • meetings of experts and representatives of NGOs in the framework of international organisations;
  • exchanges organised in the context of projects in the field of development cooperation;
  • any type of meeting related to development cooperation where a representative from Luxembourg is mandated by the minister responsible for development cooperation.

How to proceed

Duration of development cooperation leave

The duration of the development cooperation leave cannot exceed 6 days per year and per beneficiary. This leave may be split up.

Development cooperation leave is considered as an effective period of work, and as such:

  • may not be deducted from annual recreational leave;
  • must be taken into consideration when calculating the days of annual recreational leave.

During the development cooperation leave, the employee continues to benefit from the provisions regarding labour protection and social security.

Submitting the application for leave  

Applicants must fill in the application form for development cooperation leave in 3 copies stating:

  • their surname(s) and first name(s);
  • their date of birth;
  • their professional qualifications;
  • the dates and duration of leave applied for;
  • details of the projects, meetings or exchanges planned;
  • the amount of fees and other remunerations planned;
  • the name of the competent accredited NGO.

The employee must present the application to the employer, who:

  • may reject the application if the employee's absence may have a negative impact on business operations or the distribution of annual leave among the company's general staff.
    Moreover, unless the employer agrees to it, development cooperation leave cannot be taken immediately after recreational leave or sick leave, if this should entail a continuous absence of the employee exceeding the total duration of his annual leave;
  • signs and returns the application to the employee.

Finally, the applicant must submit the duly completed and signed application to the competent NGO, who will send the 3 copies to the Development Cooperation Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Defence, Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, at least 2 months before the beginning of the leave.

Based on an inter-ministerial committee decision, the minister will accept or reject the leave and, if applicable, set its duration and the amount of financial compensation.

The applicant is informed of the decision within 1 month following his application.

If the response is positive, he informs his employer within a minimum of 15 days before the start of the leave.

Remuneration of the employee

During the leave, the employer advances the employee a compensatory allowance that:.

  • corresponds to the average daily salary; and
  • cannot exceed 4 times the social minimum wage for unskilled workers.

Upon receipt of a certificate from the relevant NGO confirming the active participation of the employee in the activity for which the leave was granted, the employer may request reimbursement by sending a reimbursement declaration to the Directorate for Development Cooperation.

The declaration is drafted on paper and the following documents must be attached:

  • the certificate of participation provided by the relevant NGO;
  • the salary slip for the corresponding period.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reimburses the employer the sum of the financial compensation, as well as the employer's social contributions.

Compensation for self-employed workers

Self-employed workers are entitled to a fixed compensation set at twice the amount of the daily social minimum wage for skilled workers.

In order to receive this allowance, the applicant must send an application for reimbursement to the Directorate for Development Cooperation.

The declaration is drafted on paper and the following documents must be attached:

  • the certificate of participation provided by the relevant NGO;
  • the income certificate used for the last tax year as a contribution base for pension insurance.

Online services and forms

Who to contact

Development Cooperation Directorate

Related procedures and links



Social parameters

Consult the current social parameters.

Further information

Legal references

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