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.
Luxembourg recently adopted a number of legislative reforms aimed at modernising the rules applicable to commercial companies, including a number of reforms which could affect their restructuring and insolvency. Although the main purpose of these changes is to modernise the rules applicable to commercial companies and the relevant publication formalities, they may also prove useful in the framework of corporate restructuring and the prevention of insolvency.
Following the adoption of Bill of Law 7022, the new Act on Market Abuse recently entered into force. The act significantly increases the administrative and criminal penalties for infringements of market abuse provisions and designates the Luxembourg financial sector regulator as the competent authority for the purposes of the EU Market Abuse Regulation. It also extends the definition of 'regulated information' provided for in the Act on Transparency Requirements for Issuers.
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.
The Luxembourg financial sector regulator (CSSF) recently published a number of circulars in order to streamline its regulation of IT outsourcing in the financial sector and introduce specific rules for the use of cloud services. In doing so, the CSSF has defined the conditions under which financial service providers may outsource activities without infringing the regulatory principles of central administration and sound governance.
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.
EU Regulation 655/2014 recently became fully applicable, making it possible for creditors in Luxembourg to obtain a preservation order for the bank accounts of a debtor situated in another EU member state and vice versa. The regulation introduces a certain degree of transparency at the EU level with regard to debtors' assets, which is greater than that provided under existing Luxembourg law.
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.