The time-savings account (compte épargne-temps – CET) scheme was introduced to offer greater flexibility in managing working hours, both for businesses and employees (to facilitate ongoing training, a healthy balance between work and home life, and so forth).
Employees can save up their overtime hours and leave days, and use them when needed.
Employees cannot be forced to credit their time-savings account against their wishes.
The CET is capped at 1,800 hours.
Who is concerned
Only businesses covered by a collective agreement or an inter-branch agreement providing for a CET may benefit from the scheme.
Any employees with at least 2 years' seniority in a business covered by a collective agreement or an inter-branch agreement providing for a CET may benefit from the scheme.
The implementation of a time-savings account must be negotiated by the employer within the framework of a collective bargaining process – i.e. either:
- by means of a collective agreement; or
- failing that, by means of a national or sector-specific inter-branch agreement.
In the latter case, the CET scheme must be implemented by mutual agreement between the employer and the staff delegation, in accordance with the terms of the inter-branch agreement.
Once the employer and the staff delegation have agreed to the implementation of the CET, the agreement must be forwarded to the Minister responsible for labour affairs.
The Minister will consult with the parties to the agreement before approving the CET.
How to proceed
Employers are required to:
- implement a system to maintain accurate and detailed CET-related data;
- ensure that:
- employee can check their CET at any time;
- employees can ascertain, by means of a monthly statement, that their CET is being credited in accordance with their original wishes;
- record financial compensations, inclusive of employer contributions, in the assets and liabilities sections of the business's balance sheet and, where necessary, adjust them to reflect changes in the cost of living.
The staff delegation is responsible for overseeing the proper implementation and operation of a CET scheme.
Crediting the CET
In CETs, the unit of account is the hour, and CETs are credited with hours by the employees.
The following may be credited to the CET, upon written request from the employee:
- overtime hours worked over and above the daily and weekly normal working time set by law, or agreed between the parties;
- additional leave days beyond the legal yearly minimum of 26 days, provided those leave days have not been taken during the current year and are an entitlement under an employment contract or a collective agreement;
- up to 5 days of paid leave which the employee has been unable to take during the calendar year, for reasons of illness, maternity leave or parental leave;
- the leave day granted to compensate for working on Sunday or a public holiday falling on a Sunday;
- additional leave days granted under a working hours plan for a reference period exceeding one month;
- surplus hours worked during the reference period or surplus flexitime hours.
Cap on CET
The CET is capped at 1,800 hours.
Use of the CET
CETs are held in hours.
To use CET hours for leave during their compulsory working time, employees must send a written request to their employer.
The employer grants the employee the number of CET hours they request.
The CET can be used however the employee wishes, unless this conflicts with the needs of the business' operations, or the justified wishes of other employees.
Leave periods must be agreed upon at least one month in advance.
Social partners may agree on a different notice period depending on the length of the intended absence.
Sickness during CET hours
If an employee falls ill while using their CET hours, sick days, as attested by a medical certificate, must be credited back to the CET.
For this purpose, the employee must, if they are:
- in Luxembourg: send the medical certificate to their employer within 3 working days;
- abroad: inform their employer as soon as possible.
Leave for personal reasons while using CET hours
If an employee is obliged to take leave for personal reasons (e.g. wedding, the death of a family member or close friend, a home move, etc.) while using their CET hours:
- the leave for personal reasons is interrupted;
- the days of leave for personal reasons are credited back to the CET.
Remuneration of CET hours
Leave taken using CET hours is counted as effective working time when calculating:
- the employee's annual leave;
- the rights and obligations attaching to the employee's seniority in the business, and especially their rights deriving from a supplementary pension scheme.
While on leave using CET hours, employees are considered to be on paid leave.
CET hours are paid at the employee's basic hourly salary, be it on a full-time or part-time basis.
When an employee is on leave using their CET hours, their employer must:
- keep their job open for them; or
- where that is not possible, provide them with a similar job that is commensurate with their qualifications, and carries a salary at least equivalent to their old job.
Liquidation of the CET
In the event of the dismissal, resignation or death of the employee, or the termination of their contract by mutual agreement, the employer must liquidate the CET by paying a compensatory indemnity. That indemnity must be calculated using the hourly rate in force at the time of its payment.
If the employer is declared bankrupt, the Employment Fund (Fonds pour l’Emploi) will pay the employee for the hours saved in the CET, at up to 2 times the social minimum wage.