Protection scheme for pregnant or breastfeeding women

Last update 11.10.2022

Pregnant or breastfeeding women engaged in a professional activity as an employee or an apprentice are entitled to the following, depending on their circumstances:

  • protection against dismissal (except for serious misconduct) as of the beginning of pregnancy;
  • special health and safety protection if they occupy a position involving specific risks;
  • protection against risks related to night work;
  • exemption from work to allow them to attend their prenatal check-ups;
  • several weeks of leave before and after the birth (maternity leave);

After the birth, mothers are also entitled to an adjustment of their working hours if they are breastfeeding.

For the women concerned, these measures allow to:

  • protect their health; and
  • devote time to their child after giving birth.

Who is concerned

Pregnant or breastfeeding women who are engaged in a professional activity covered by the Luxembourg health insurance.

This includes:

  • women bound by an employment contract; and
  • women bound by an apprenticeship contract.

Preliminary steps

How to benefit from the protection scheme for pregnant women

In order to benefit from the protection scheme for pregnant women, the person concerned must declare their pregnancy to their employer by submitting a medical certificate of pregnancy:

  • sent by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt; or
  • handed in person to the employer who acknowledges receipt by counter-signing the copy of the certificate.

Even if it is not an obligation, it is preferable to inform the employer as soon as possible of the pregnancy, in order to benefit, if necessary, from an adaptation of the workspace or a move to another workspace.

How to benefit from maternity leave

In order to benefit from maternity leave, the pregnant employee must inform their employer of their pregnancy within the last 12 weeks of the pregnancy.

To do so, she has to submit a medical certificate of pregnancy to her employer:

  • by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt; or
  • handed in person to the employer who acknowledges receipt by counter-signing the copy of the certificate; or
  • by fax or email, provided the certificate is transmitted in a clean and legible format.

If the employer has granted the employee an exemption from work on account of her pregnancy, the employee must send the CNS:

  • the favourable opinion issued by the occupational health practitioner, along with a copy of the employer's request for the medical opinion; and
  • a medical certificate stating the expected delivery date.

Note: during a job interview, pregnant women are under no obligation to inform a potential employer of their pregnancy.

Deadlines

In order to be entitled to the maternity leave, pregnant women are required to submit a medical certificate which indicates the presumed date of delivery within the last 12 weeks of the pregnancy to the National Health Fund (CNS) and to their employer. The date of establishment of the certificate is legally binding.

Example: a certificate issued before the beginning of the 29 th week of pregnancy, i.e. before the last 12 weeks of pregnancy, is not accepted and will be returned to the applicant.

If the pregnant woman wishes to benefit from parental leave following the birth, she must file an application for parental leave 2 months before the start of her maternity leave, at the latest.

How to proceed

Protection of pregnant women against dismissal

Dismissal before the employee has informed her employer of her pregnancy

If a pregnant employee's employment contract is terminated before the pregnancy has been medically certified, the employee has 8 days from the date of notification of dismissal to provide proof of her pregnancy. To do so, the employee must send a medical certificate of pregnancy to their employer by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt.

The employer is then under the obligation to cancel the dismissal. If the employer refuses to cancel the dismissal, the employee has 15 days following the termination of the contract to file a claim with the labour tribunal to have the dismissal declared null and void.

If the pregnant employee does not request the nullity of the dismissal, she can take legal action for wrongful dismissal and claim damages.

It should be noted that these 2 courses of action are alternative, rather than cumulative, options.

Protection during a trial period

A pregnant employee's employment contract may not be terminated during a trial period if the employer has been duly informed of the pregnancy.

The trial period provided for in a permanent employment contract is suspended from the date of presentation of the medical certificate of pregnancy to the beginning of the maternity leave.

The portion of the trial period remaining to be served shall resume at the end of the period of protection against dismissal (i.e. 12 weeks after the birth).

In the case of a fixed-term employment contract, there is no suspension of the trial period nor extension of the fixed-term contract, which expires normally at the end of the initial term.

Protection after the trial period

Employers who have been duly informed by the pregnant women of her medically certified pregnancy, may not:

  • summon the employee to a pre-dismissal interview;
  • terminate their employment contract.

The ban on dismissal is valid throughout the pregnancy and until the end of the postnatal leave (12 weeks after giving birth).

Any dismissal or summons to a pre-dismissal interview occurring once the employer has been duly informed of the employee's pregnancy is legally null and void. The cancellation of the dismissal must be requested in court.

Dismissal for serious misconduct

In the event of serious misconduct, employers may suspend the employee with immediate effect, but they may not send the employee a formal letter of dismissal.

Employers must first file an application with the labour tribunal in order to be authorised to terminate the employment contract. The tribunal will assess the gravity of the alleged misconduct and decide whether or not to validate the immediate suspension.

If the immediate suspension is validated, the employee's employment contract is terminated.

Serious misconduct is any act or serious fault which immediately and irreparably renders it impossible to maintain a working relationship.

Within 15 days of being notified of the suspension, the employee may apply to the president of the labour tribunal for continued payment of her salary until the labour tribunal rules on the employer's application for dismissal.

In the event of unlawful dismissal without suspension, occurring in the conditions mentioned above, the president of the labour tribunal will order the pregnant employee's reinstatement.

Cessation of business by the employer

If the employer ceases business, the termination of a pregnant or breastfeeding employee's employment contract will not be declared null and void.

As a matter of fact, in the event of total and permanent closure of the business, the employer is authorised to dismiss pregnant and breastfeeding women in spite of their special status.

Adjustment of working conditions for the benefit of pregnant or breastfeeding women

Prenatal check-ups

Pregnant women are also entitled to an exemption from work, without loss of pay, to attend prenatal exams when they inevitably take place during working hours.

Overtime

Pregnant or breastfeeding women are not obliged to work overtime (i.e. any work beyond the daily and weekly limits of normal working hours) if they do not wish to do so.

Activities posing a danger to health and safety

Some activities may pose a specific risk to pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Employers are required to:

  • disclose to their pregnant or breastfeeding employees a list of activities which may be harmful to their health and safety.
  • evaluate the occupational risks and, if need be, upon the advice of the occupational health practitioner, take any and all necessary measures to prevent pregnant or breastfeeding women from being exposed to these risks.

The risk activities are divided into 2 categories:

  • category 1: risks in relation with physical activities:
    • tasks such as lifting loads of over 5 kg;
    • tasks involving a risk of falling or slipping;
    • tasks requiring the employee to constantly be in a crouched or bent position;
    • work taking place in a high atmospheric pressure environment (e.g. pressure chambers, underwater diving, etc.);
    • underground mining work;
  • category 2: risks in relation with chemical or biological agents:
    • tasks which bring the woman into contact with chemical substances such as lead, mercury, strong acids used in the manufacture of isopropyl alcohol, auramine, formaldehyde, hydrocarbons or other toxic or carcinogenic substances;
    • tasks entailing a risk of exposure to biological agents such as toxoplasma or the rubella virus.

For jobs falling into category 1, employers are required to carry out an assessment of the nature, level and duration of exposure inherent in the activity, to determine whether or not the woman would jeopardise her health by continuing to do the job, and whether it could impact on her pregnancy or breastfeeding.

This assessment must be carried out in collaboration with the competent occupational health practitioner. If a genuine risk is found to exist, employers are required, on the advice of the competent occupational health practitioner, to:

  • make a temporary adjustment to the woman's job (in terms of her working conditions or her working time) to eliminate the risk;
  • if an adjustment is technically or objectively impossible, reassign her to a different job on the same salary as before;
  • or, if such a transfer is technically or objectively impossible, exempt the employee from work for the entire duration for which her health and safety are at an elevated risk, according to the occupational health practitioner's opinion.

For jobs falling into category 2, protective measures must be put in place if there is even a credible risk of exposure to these tasks. If such a risk is found to exist, employers are required, after having sought the advice of the occupational health practitioner, to:

  • either reassign the employee to a different job on the same salary as before;
  • or, if such a transfer is technically or objectively impossible, exempt the employee from work for the entire duration for which her health and safety are at an elevated risk.

None of these protective measures can entail any loss of remuneration for the employee concerned.

Should the employee be exempted from work, her salary is no longer paid by the employer. The National Health Fund will pay the employee a financial compensation equivalent to her salary, on presentation of:

  • the occupational health practitioner's original and favourable opinion (pink sheet);
  • a copy of the employer's request for an opinion;
  • a copy of the medical certificate stating the expected date of delivery.

Night work

A pregnant or breastfeeding woman cannot be forced to work at night (i.e. between 22.00 and 6.00) if, in the opinion of the competent occupational health practitioner, doing so would jeopardise her health or safety.

For a woman who is breastfeeding her child, that exemption may be extended until the child's first birthday.

In order to be transferred to a daytime shift, the pregnant or breastfeeding woman must apply to her employer, using the form 'request for exemption from night work owing to pregnancy or breastfeeding' (see under 'Forms / Online services' below):

  • either by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt;
  • or in person, in which case the employer must acknowledge receipt by signing the copy of the request form.

The employer is obliged to forward the employee's request to the occupational health practitioner of the competent occupational health service within 8 days of receiving the request:

Within 15 days of receiving the documents, the occupational health practitioner notifies the employee and the employer of their opinion.

If the occupational health practitioner is of the opinion that an exemption from night work is necessary, the employer is required to:

  • either transfer the pregnant or breastfeeding woman to a daytime shift;
  • or, if a transfer to a daytime shift is not technically or objectively possible, the employer, with the assent of the occupational health practitioner, is obliged to exempt the employee from work for the entire period necessary to safeguard her health and safety. The duration of the exemption period is determined by the occupational health practitioner.

In the event of a transfer to a day shift, the woman continues to receive her usual salary.

In the event of an exemption from work, the employee no longer receives her salary but an equivalent financial compensation paid by the National Health Fund (CNS).

Breastfeeding

Women who are breastfeeding their child are also entitled, upon request, to two 45-minute breastfeeding breaks per workday:

  • one at the beginning of the workday; and
  • one at the end of the workday.

The two 45-minute periods can be combined into a single breastfeeding break of 90 minutes:

  • provided the working day is interrupted by a one-hour break only; or
  • if it is impossible for the mother to breastfeed the child near her workplace.

Breastfeeding time(s) must be counted as ordinary working hours.

Contesting the medical opinion of the occupational health practitioner

If she feels the occupational health practitioner's opinion is incorrect, a pregnant or breastfeeding woman can submit a request for a re-examination.

The application must be submitted by registered letter within 15 days from notification of the health practitioner's opinion.

The application for re-examination must be sent to the Occupational Health Department at the Health Directorate.

This avenue is open only with regard to opinions concerning:

  • night work;
  • assessments of the nature, level and duration of exposure to activities likely to present a danger of exposure to certain substances, processes or working conditions;
  • adjustments to be made to the working environment to accommodate a pregnant or breastfeeding worker whose activity is likely to present a danger of exposure to certain substances, processes or working conditions.

The Chief Medical Officer at the National Health Directorate must respond within 15 days.

The woman may appeal the Chief Medical Officer's decision before the Social Security Arbitration Tribunal within 15 days of receiving notification of that decision.

The Head of the Arbitration Tribunal returns their decision within 15 days.

If no satisfactory solution is forthcoming, the decision of the Head of the Arbitration Tribunal may be appealed before the Higher Social Security Tribunal.

Forms / Online services

Modèle de demande d’exemption du travail de nuit pour cause de grossesse ou d’allaitement

Les informations qui vous concernent recueillies sur ce formulaire font l’objet d’un traitement par l’administration concernée afin de mener à bien votre demande.

Ces informations sont conservées pour la durée nécessaire par l’administration à la réalisation de la finalité du traitement

Les destinataires de vos données sont les administrations compétentes dans le cadre du traitement de votre demande. Veuillez-vous adresser à l’administration concernée par votre demande pour connaître les destinataires des données figurant sur ce formulaire. Conformément au règlement (UE) 2016/679 relatif à la protection des personnes physiques à l'égard du traitement des données à caractère personnel et à la libre circulation de ces données, vous bénéficiez d’un droit d’accès, de rectification et le cas échéant d’effacement des informations vous concernant. Vous disposez également du droit de retirer votre consentement à tout moment.

En outre et excepté le cas où le traitement de vos données présente un caractère obligatoire, vous pouvez, pour des motifs légitimes, vous y opposer.

Si vous souhaitez exercer ces droits et/ou obtenir communication de vos informations, veuillez-vous adresser à l’administration concernée suivant les coordonnées indiquées dans le formulaire. Vous avez également la possibilité d’introduire une réclamation auprès de la Commission nationale pour la protection des données ayant son siège à 15, boulevard du Jazz L-4370 Belvaux.

En poursuivant votre démarche, vous acceptez que vos données personnelles soient traitées dans le cadre de votre demande.

Demande d'avis pour aménagement de poste, changement d'affectations, dispense de travail ou dispense de travail de nuit d'une salariés enceinte ou allaitante (à remplir par l'employeur) - Service de santé au travail multisectoriel (STM)

Les informations qui vous concernent recueillies sur ce formulaire font l’objet d’un traitement par l’administration concernée afin de mener à bien votre demande.

Ces informations sont conservées pour la durée nécessaire par l’administration à la réalisation de la finalité du traitement

Les destinataires de vos données sont les administrations compétentes dans le cadre du traitement de votre demande. Veuillez-vous adresser à l’administration concernée par votre demande pour connaître les destinataires des données figurant sur ce formulaire. Conformément au règlement (UE) 2016/679 relatif à la protection des personnes physiques à l'égard du traitement des données à caractère personnel et à la libre circulation de ces données, vous bénéficiez d’un droit d’accès, de rectification et le cas échéant d’effacement des informations vous concernant. Vous disposez également du droit de retirer votre consentement à tout moment.

En outre et excepté le cas où le traitement de vos données présente un caractère obligatoire, vous pouvez, pour des motifs légitimes, vous y opposer.

Si vous souhaitez exercer ces droits et/ou obtenir communication de vos informations, veuillez-vous adresser à l’administration concernée suivant les coordonnées indiquées dans le formulaire. Vous avez également la possibilité d’introduire une réclamation auprès de la Commission nationale pour la protection des données ayant son siège à 15, boulevard du Jazz L-4370 Belvaux.

En poursuivant votre démarche, vous acceptez que vos données personnelles soient traitées dans le cadre de votre demande.

Modèle de demande visant à bénéficier d’un temps d’allaitement

Les informations qui vous concernent recueillies sur ce formulaire font l’objet d’un traitement par l’administration concernée afin de mener à bien votre demande.

Ces informations sont conservées pour la durée nécessaire par l’administration à la réalisation de la finalité du traitement

Les destinataires de vos données sont les administrations compétentes dans le cadre du traitement de votre demande. Veuillez-vous adresser à l’administration concernée par votre demande pour connaître les destinataires des données figurant sur ce formulaire. Conformément au règlement (UE) 2016/679 relatif à la protection des personnes physiques à l'égard du traitement des données à caractère personnel et à la libre circulation de ces données, vous bénéficiez d’un droit d’accès, de rectification et le cas échéant d’effacement des informations vous concernant. Vous disposez également du droit de retirer votre consentement à tout moment.

En outre et excepté le cas où le traitement de vos données présente un caractère obligatoire, vous pouvez, pour des motifs légitimes, vous y opposer.

Si vous souhaitez exercer ces droits et/ou obtenir communication de vos informations, veuillez-vous adresser à l’administration concernée suivant les coordonnées indiquées dans le formulaire. Vous avez également la possibilité d’introduire une réclamation auprès de la Commission nationale pour la protection des données ayant son siège à 15, boulevard du Jazz L-4370 Belvaux.

En poursuivant votre démarche, vous acceptez que vos données personnelles soient traitées dans le cadre de votre demande.

Who to contact

Double click to activate the map
Double click to activate the map
Double click to activate the map
Double click to activate the map

We are interested in your opinion

How would you rate the content of this page?

Last update