A number of changes pertaining to the free movement of workers recently took effect. A new law partially transposed an EU directive on facilitating the exercising of rights granted to workers in the context of freedom of movement into Luxembourg law and amended the Labour Code to incorporate 'nationality' as a criterion for direct or indirect discrimination prohibited by law. Further, a ministerial regulation updated the minimum pay levels for highly qualified workers.
A new law, which recently came into force, has introduced a number of amendments regarding certain kinds of leave in order to improve the family and work-life balance of employees, while also taking into account existing social realities. The law makes a number of changes to extraordinary leave for personal reasons, post-natal and adoption leave and leave for family reasons.
The minister for the civil service and administrative reform recently submitted a bill to the Chamber of Deputies recommending the creation of the Centre for Health, Safety and Quality of Life at Work in the Civil Service. The bill also recommends that 'psychosocial risks' within the context of employment relationships be defined in line with Belgian employment legislation and aims to close the legal gap relating to procedures to combat harassment.
The Law of July 20 2017, which modified the Labour Code by introducing a new system to combat long-term unemployment, recently came into force. The law has introduced a new form of aid to promote the employment of the long-term unemployed and amended the aid system for hiring older unemployed persons. It has also extended the availability of the professional training internship and reduced the duration of compensated temporary occupations.
The Ministry of the Civil Service and Administrative Reform recently submitted Bill 7171, which defines the terms and conditions of so-called 'time savings accounts' for civil service officials, among other things. A time savings account is a tool whereby officials can accumulate free time and save it to use at a later date of their choice. Doing so will allow officials to achieve a better balance between their private and professional lives, within the limits of statutory conditions.
The legislature recently amended Article L211-29 of the Labour Code, which concerns special records of employee working hours. The new record-keeping requirements will ensure that foreign employers seconding employees to Luxembourg and employers based in Luxembourg are treated equally. In addition, a new article was recently added to the code, which imposes new obligations on clients and instructing parties entering into contracts with service providers.
A new law amending the Labour Code and Article 3 of the law laying down measures to safeguard employment, price stability and business competitiveness recently entered into force. Key changes introduced by the law include the strengthening of company responsibility in subcontracting chains, the introduction of an electronic platform for posting arrangements and the introduction of effective redress mechanisms to enable posted employees to lodge complaints or initiate legal proceedings.
The Court of Appeal recently ruled on the distinction between the obligation of an employee bound by a non-compete clause in his or her employment contract and the duty of loyalty inherent in any employment contract. The court clarified that the general principle of executing an employment contract in good faith means that an employee should not "develop a business that might be in competition with the employer during the course of the employment contract".
The Court of Appeal recently clarified the validity conditions of disciplinary penalties provided for by collective bargaining agreements. Taking into account an earlier decision, the court found that the evaluability of the penalty was deficient and that its wording failed to meet the precision requirements of the lawful punishment principle. The court therefore confirmed the annulment of the penalty imposed on the employee.
Despite a clear improvement in the employment market, some job seekers – particularly the long-term unemployed – have not benefited from this positive trend. To mitigate this inequality, Bill 7149 was recently submitted to the Chamber of Deputies. It introduces an option for employers to receive support from the Employment Fund when entering into open-ended employment contracts with job seekers who are registered and have been unemployed for at least one year.
The minister of labour, employment and the social and solidarity economy recently tabled Bill 7138 before the Chamber of Deputies, amending the amended Law on the Establishment of Professional Chambers with an Elective Basis 1924 and the Labour Code. The bill is intended to reschedule the next Chamber of Employees elections to prevent them from clashing with the legislative elections.
In a recent case, an employee sought payment of overtime, which the employer had rejected on the grounds that the employee had been a senior manager at the time. In its ruling, the Court of Appeal referred to Article L162-8 of the Labour Code, which defines the conditions that must be fulfilled for an employee to be considered a senior executive. The court stated that when an employee disputes being a senior executive, the burden of proof lies with the employer.
Senior executives in the banking and other financial industries are exempted from benefiting from the collective agreement applicable to these industries. Union representatives challenged the practice of employing so-called 'fake' senior executives and in December 2016 a parliamentary question was submitted on this matter. The minister for labour, employment and the social and solidarity economy and the minister for finance recently issued a joint response to this question.
A new law was recently enacted in response to the 2013 government programme which stipulated that the "inequality of pay between women and men will be abolished by the power of the law". Employers must now ensure that they meet their obligation to pay men and women equally, taking into account the notion of 'equal work'. A breach of this obligation is a criminal offence and punishable by a fine of between €251 and €25,000, which may be doubled if the offence is recommitted within two years.
The sliding wage scale index for salaries recently increased from 775.17 points to 794.54 points. As a result, the new minimum monthly wage, which was increased by the Law of December 15 2016 modifying Article L 222-9 of the Labour Code, has been revalued.
Bill 7016 concerning the Organisation of Working Time and relating to the Amendment of the Labour Code was recently submitted to the Chamber of Deputies. The bill aims to provide companies with greater flexibility regarding the organisation of working time, protect employee health and safety and amend collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
The Grand Ducal Regulation of September 27 2016 set the instalment rates at which employment income, pensions and annuities can be seized or transferred in accordance with Article 4 of the Modified Law of November 11 1970. The regulation, which revoked the Grand Ducal Regulation of June 26 2002, came into force on December 1 2016.
Two new laws regarding criminal record certificates were recently published in Memorial A. The law of July 23 2016 stipulates when an employer can request a criminal record certificate during the recruitment process or the course of an employment relationship. Further, the Grand Ducal regulation of July 23 2016 defines the list of authorities and legal persons that can request copies of Sections 2 and 3 of an individual's criminal record certificate under public law.
Under Luxembourg's employment law regime, a 'company practice' is a practice that is habitually performed within a company and takes the form of a benefit awarded to employees in addition to what they are entitled to by law or under a collective agreement or employment contract. The Esch-sur-Alzette Employment Tribunal has reiterated that to terminate such practice, employers must explicitly do so by informing employees of the termination sufficiently in advance.
Under the Labour Code, an employee who is unfairly dismissed with immediate effect is entitled to severance pay and compensation in lieu of notice, whereas an employee who resigns as a result of his or her employer's gross misconduct is not. The Constitutional Court recently considered whether this disparity breaches the equal treatment principle established under the Constitution.