Parental leave

Last update 26.02.2019

Parental leave enables the parents of a young child to take a break from their professional career or reduce their working time in order to devote themselves more fully to the education of their child. They are guaranteed to be able return to their previous jobs at the end of the leave.

The parent can request:

  • either the first parental leave: to be taken following the maternity or adoption leave;
  • or the second parental leave: to be taken before the child's 6th birthday (the 12th birthday for adopted children).

Parental leave is only granted once for the same child.

If one of the parents renounces their right to parental leave, it cannot be transferred to the other parent in order for the latter to take 2 parental leaves.

During parental leave, the parent is entitled to an allowance which replaces the salary and is granted by the Children's Future Fund (Caisse pour l’avenir des enfants - CAE).

Who is concerned

Each parent is entitled to parental leave for each of their children after the birth or the adoption of one or several children. Parents can take parental leave as long as the children have not reached the age of 6 (12 in case of adoption).

More specifically, parental leave applies to:

  • salaried workers, apprentices or self-employed workers;
  • civil servants, employees or workers (ouvriers) employed by the State, a commune or a public institution, or agents of the Luxembourg National Railway Company (Société nationale des chemins de fer luxembourgeois).

If one of the parents renounces their right to parental leave, it can not be transferred to their spouse in order that he/she may take two parental leaves.

Prerequisites

In order to be granted the right to take parental leave, the (future) parent must:

  • be compulsorily registered with the Luxembourg social security:
    • at the moment of the birth or adoption of the child(ren);
    • without any interruptions of more than 7 days in total, during at least 12 continuous months before the beginning of the parental leave;
  • if the parent is a salaried worker: have one or more employment contracts totalling at least 10 hours of paid work per week;
  • if the parent is a salaried worker or an apprentice: have a contract during the full period of the parental leave;

Special cases

in the case of a cessation, merger or transfer of a business, the immediate transfer of an employee to another position is not considered to be a change of employer.

How to proceed

Types of parental leave

First or second parental leave

The parent can request either:

  • the first parental leave, which must be taken by one of the parents immediately after the maternity or adoption leave. Failing this, the right to take the first leave is lost and the other parent may take the second parental leave only.
  • or the second parental leave, which must be taken:
    • in the case of child birth, before the child's 6th birthday;
    • in the case of adoption:
      • within the 6 years following the end of the adoption leave; or
      • if no adoption leave was taken, the second parental leave must be taken between the date of the adoption judgment and the date of the the child's 12th birthday.
If the maternity or adoption leave is not due or has not been taken, any parental leave that might be due must be taken from:
  • the first day of the 3rd week following the birth; or
  • in the case of adoption, from the date of the adoption judgment.
Special cases  

Salaried worker during the trial period

A salaried worker whose trial period ends after the maternity or adoption leave can only request the second parental leave. Parental leave can only be requested after the end of the trial period.

Single parent families

In the case of single-parent families, separated or divorced, the parent who has custody of the child may choose between the first and second parental leave. The parent does not lose the right to the first parental leave if it is not taken immediately after the maternity or adoption leave.

If both parents apply for parental leave simultaneously, they must specify in their respective applications which of the 2 parents is taking the first parental leave and which is taking the second. In the event of disagreement, the first parental leave will go to the person whose surname comes first (in alphabetical order).

If only one parent is entitled to parental leave because the other parent does not qualify for it, he or she may choose between the first parental leave and the second parental leave.

Full-time, part-time or split leave

The first and second parental leaves can be taken on a full-time, part-time or split basis depending on the number of hours indicated on the parent's employment contract and situation:

  • 40 hours per week or self-employed:
    • 4 or 6 months of full-time leave;
    • part-time leave of 8 or 12 months at 50% of the normal working hours, subject to approval by the employer;
    • split leave: 4 periods of one month during a maximum period of 20 months, subject to approval by the employer;
    • split leave: 1 or 2 half days per week during a maximum period of 20 months, subject to approval by the employer;
  • 20 hours per week or more:
    • 4 or 6 months of full-time leave;
    • 8 or 12 months of half time leave, pending approval by the employer;
  • 10 hours per week or more: full-time leave;
  • apprenticeship contract: 4 or 6 months of full-time leave;
  • parents with several employers or who are registered with the social security as salaried workers or self-employed: 4 or 6 months of full-time leave.  

The monthly work time is indicated in the employment contract in force on the date where the application for parental leave is submitted to the employer. If the monthly work time changes in the 12 months prior to the parental leave, the average work time for the year in question is taken into account. It must be noted that any changes in the number of working hours requested after the application for parental leave has been submitted cannot be taken into account for the calculation of parental leave.

Example: if a request for parental leave is submitted on 1 August 2018 and the concerned parent changed their working time from 70 % to 100 % on 1 March 2018, the time frame that will be taken into account to calculate the average number of monthly working hours will range from 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2018. The result will be used for calculating the amount of parental leave.

It should be noted that once the parental leave has begun, the type of leave cannot be changed.

Approval/refusal of a part-time or split leave by the employer

A salaried parent who wishes to take part-time or split parental leave must define and sign a parental leave plan in agreement with their employer.

This parental leave plan:

  • determines the actual parental leave periods;
  • must be drawn up within 4 weeks from the parent's request.

After this, only changes impacting the work schedule or the calendar month are possible in agreement with the employer.

Employers who refuse to grant this type of parental leave must inform the worker by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt within 2 weeks of the application for parental leave.

The employer then has to invite the worker to an interview within 2 weeks of the notification of refusal.

The purpose of this meeting is:

  • to explain the reasons for the refusal;
  • to offer, in writing, an alternative form to the parental leave or a different parental leave plan from the one submitted by the parent.

If no agreement is reached and no parental leave plan is signed within 2 weeks of the interview, the worker is entitled to full-time parental leave for either 4 or 6 months.

First parental leave

Form and application deadlines

The salaried worker or apprentice submits the request to their employer:

  • on paper;
  • by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt;
  • at the latest 2 months before the start of the maternity leave or adoption leave.

The application must mention and include:

  • the phrase "parental leave taken immediately after maternity or adoption leave (first parental leave)";
  • the type of leave requested:
    • full-time parental leave; or
    • parental leave split over time (in this case, the employee can suggest working time arrangements); or
    • part-time parental leave (in this case, the employee can suggest working time arrangements).

The employer's approval

Employers can neither refuse (unless the application was not submitted in accordance with legal conventions and deadlines) nor postpone the first parental leave.

However, they can refuse to grant part-time or split leave. In this case, the employee must take full-time leave or renounce their leave.

Second parental leave

Form and application deadlines

The salaried worker or apprentice submits the request to their employer:

  • on paper;
  • by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt;
  • at the latest 4 months before the start date of parental leave.

The salaried worker must therefore submit the application in due time given the possibility for the employer to postpone the start of the second parental leave.

The application must mention and include:

  • the phrase "parental leave to be taken before the 6th / 12th birthday of the child (second parental leave)";
  • the type of leave requested:
    • full-time parental leave; or
    • parental leave split over time (in this case, the employee can suggest working time arrangements); or
    • part-time parental leave (in this case, the employee can suggest working time arrangements).

The employer's approval

Employers cannot refuse the second parental leave.

They can, however:

  • refuse to grant part-time or split leave. In this case, the employee must either take full-time leave or renounce the leave; and/or
  • request that it be postponed under certain conditions.

The employer must submit their decision to the employee:

  • by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt;
  • at the latest 4 weeks after the employee's request.

Postponement by the employer

The employer can request that the leave is postponed:

  • for a maximum of 2 months:
    • if it is likely to cause disruption of the company's operations due to simultaneous requests from several employees;
    • if it is impossible to arrange a replacement for the employee during the 4-month notice period, due to the specific nature of the employee's job or a staff shortage in the business's sector of activity;
    • if the employee is part of senior management and effectively participates in the management of the business.
  • for a maximum of 6 months if the company employs fewer than 15 employees;
  • until the end of the season, in case of seasonal activity, if the requested period of leave falls within a period of high seasonal activity.

It is not possible to postpone the leave if:

  • the state of health of the child (attested by a medical certificate), problems at school, or a behavioural disorder (attested by a certificate delivered by the competent school authorities) requires the presence of the parents;
  • the employer has already approved the leave;
  • the employee has not received a reply to their request for leave within 4 weeks of the application;
  • in the event of a disagreement between employers if the employee works for several employers.

If the second parental leave is postponed, the employer must provide the employee with their decision:

  • by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt;
  • at the latest 4 weeks after the employee's application;
  • by proposing a new start date for the parental leave;
  • and indicate the reason for the postponement.

The employer must also inform the staff delegation.

If the employer does not submit his decision within the 4-week deadline, the second parental leave is automatically accepted.

If an agreement is reached on the new terms of the leave, the employer completes and signs the application for the parental leave allowance submitted by their employee or apprentice.

If the postponement cannot be agreed on, the case may be referred to the labour tribunal.

Only then can the salaried worker or the apprentice submit the application to the Children's Future Fund (Caisse pour l'avenir des enfants - CAE).

Remuneration and registration of the employee

During paid parental leave, the parent is entitled to a monthly parental leave allowance which replaces the salary and is granted by the Children's Future Fund (Caisse pour l’avenir des enfants - CAE).

During the full-time parental leave, the employer must:

  • deregister the employee from the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre commun de la sécurité sociale - CCSS);
  • stop paying the concerned employee's salary;
  • stop providing meal tickets and any other benefits in kind to which the employee was entitled to before the leave.

During the part-time or split parental leave, employers must:

  • submit a new declaration of entry to the CCSS in order to notify the change in the number of working hours;
  • continue to pay the employee in proportion to the number of hours worked.

When an employee returns to work after the parental leave, the employer will submit a new declaration of entry to the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre Commun de la Sécurité Sociale - CCSS).

Childbirths or multiple adoptions

In the event of multiple childbirths (e.g. twins) or multiple adoptions, the parental leave is fully granted for each child. Parents have to submit an application for parental leave for each child and can chose a different parental leave scheme for each child.

New childbirth or adoption during the parental leave

Parental leave is interrupted in the event of a new maternity or adoption leave. In this case, the maternity/adoption leave replaces the parental leave and the remaining duration of the parental leave is carried over to the new maternity or adoption leave.

If the parent wishes to take parental leave for the new child, subsequent to the maternity or adoption leave, this new parental leave is then carried over, as of right, to the end of the remaining amount of the initial parental leave added to the maternity or adoption leave.

Implementation of the parental leave

Replacing an employee on parental leave

An employer may replace an employee on parental leave with a new employee hired on a fixed-term employment contract.

The new employee can be employed:

  • either in the same position as the absent employee;
  • or in another position than that of the employee on parental leave, depending on the restructuring carried out in the business due to the absence of the employee on parental leave.

In any case, the contract of the replacement employee:

  • must start, at the earliest, 3 months before the start of the parental or maternity leave, provided the parental leave is taken subsequent to the maternity leave;
  • ends, at the latest, 3 months after the end of the parental leave of the employee being replaced.

Measures to facilitate the reinsertion of the employee returning from parental leave

In order to facilitate the reinsertion of the employee and ensure their employability after the parental leave, the employee may:

  • take advantage of any continuous-training opportunities offered by the employer during the parental leave;
  • take part in meetings or events organised during the parental leave.

These measures must be mutually agreed upon by the employee and employer at the latest one month before the start of the parental leave through an addendum to the employee's employment contract. However, the employee may at any time put an end to this clause without having to fear negative consequences.

Protection against dismissal

The salaried worker is protected against any form of dismissal with notice:

  • as of the last day of the deadline for the notification of the leave request;
  • for the full duration of the parental leave.

This protection is valid from:

  • 2 months and 1 day prior to the start of the maternity/adoption leave, if it is the first parental leave;
  • 4 months and 1 day before the start of parental leave, if it is the second parental leave.

However, the employee is not protected against dismissal with immediate effect for serious misconduct. Termination of an employment contract will therefore result in the end of the parental leave and the employee must pay back any allowances already received during the parental leave.

Annual leave and length of service

Employers are required to:

  • take account of the duration of parental leave when calculating the employee's length of service and any associated benefits;
  • defer, in full and within the legal deadlines, the annual leave not yet taken at the beginning of the full-time parental leave until the employee returns to work.

On the other hand, an employee will not accrue any new annual leave during the full-time parental leave, unlike in the case of part-time parental leave (leave granted in proportion to the weekly working time) and maternity/adoption leave. During full-time parental leave, the employment contract is put on hold.

End of the parental leave

Returning to work

At the end of parental leave, an employee must be reinstated to their job or to a similar job (in terms of pay and qualifications).

The employee who returns to their initial work position after the parental leave has the right to a meeting with their employer. The aim of this meeting is to give the employee the opportunity to ask for a different work schedule and/or work rhythm for a specific period of time which cannot exceed one year starting from the day set for their return to work.

If the employer denies the request, he must justify the decision.

If the employer does not meet these requirements, the employee can claim compensation for damages with the labour tribunal who will determine the amount of damages.

Returning to work before the end of the parental leave

The employee can keep any allowances already received if he/she, as a result of a change of employer, returns to work before the end of the parental leave.

In the event of an early return to work with the same employer and an interruption of parental leave, the compensation received must be reimbursed in full, unless the interruption is justified by reasons beyond the employee's control.

The right to leave ends on the day of return to work and any remaining months of parental leave are lost.

On the other hand, the new employer may also grant a continuation of the parental leave that was begun with the previous employer.

In either case, the employee must first inform the Children's Future Fund (CAE).

Resignation of the employee after the parental leave

At the end of the parental leave, the employee is required to return to his job, except if he decides to terminate his employment contract.

If the employee does not wish to return to work at the end of the parental leave, he or she must inform the employer, by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, within a period equal to that which is required in case of resignation.

The notice period to be respected by the employee depends on his seniority of service in the company:

  • one month if the employee has less than 5 years' continuous service;
  • two months if he has between 5 and 10 years' continuous service;
  • three months if he has at least 10 years' continuous service.

Please be aware that the notice begins:

  • on the 15th day of the month in which the termination was notified, when the notification is transmitted before the 15th;
  • on the first day of the month following the month in which the termination was notified, when the notification is sent after the 14th day of the month.

Termination of labor relations by mutual agreement after parental leave is, of course, always possible.

In the absence of resignation notified by registered post with acknowledgement of receipt, the non-resumption of work at the end of the parental leave is a serious misconduct which may justify a dismissal with immediate effect for the employer unless the employee can provide a serious and legitimate justification.

Resignation of the worker before the parental leave has ended

If an employee tenders their resignation or if the employment contract is terminated by common agreement between both parties before the parental leave has ended, the termination of the employment contract leads to the termination of the parental leave. The employee must then reimburse the CAE all of the allowances received.

However, if the employee changes employer during the parental leave, the leave may be continued without interruption, provided the new employer has agreed to it.

Death of the child or rejection of the adoption application

A parent must return to work at the latest one month after the death of a child or the refusal of an adoption application. If the employer has hired someone to replace the parent on parental leave and is unable to offer the parent a job corresponding to their qualifications and salary level, the parental leave continues uninterrupted, but cannot run beyond its original end date.

Change of employer during parental leave

If a parent changes employer during their parental leave, the leave may be continued without interruption provided that:

  • the new employer approves;
  • the new employment contract contains the same number of working hours as the initial contract entitling the applicant to parental leave.

In this case, the parent must send the following to the CAE:

  • a statement from the new employer attesting that the employee can continue the parental leave;
  • a copy of the new employment contract.

If the employee decides to return to work with the new employer before the end of the parental leave, the allowances already paid by the date of return to work can be kept by the employee.

Disputes and appeals

Disputes can be taken to:

  • the labour tribunal in the event of a dispute between an employer and the salaried worker (e.g. in the event of a disagreement on the postponement of the parental leave).
  • the Board of Directors of the CAE (disputing a refusal), the Social Security Arbitration Tribunal (first resort to dispute the decision of the Board of Directors), then the High Council of Social Security (for appeals) for disputes between the CAE and those claiming compensation.

Forms / Online services

Congé parental - demande d'une indémnité

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