A new bill that was recently submitted to the Chamber of Deputies aims to modify several articles of the Labour Code which concern social elections in order to make certain administrative processes paperless within the context of social dialogue. According to the bill, making certain processes paperless will result in a clear simplification of administrative tasks for managing directors and the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines.
The Court of Appeal recently ruled that shareholders have a right to seek an annulment of decisions made by their company's board of directors. This decision sets a precedent for challenging board decisions on the grounds of the Companies Law, thereby increasing legal certainty by filling the gaps left by the law. However, it also marginally limits the scope of such challenges by excluding former shareholders from initiating new proceedings.
The new Markets in Financial Instruments (MiFID) Act, which transposes the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and implements the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation, was recently voted into law. Most issues relating to markets in financial instruments are covered by the first part of the act, while the provision of investment services will continue to be governed by the Financial Sector Act, as amended by the second part of the MiFID Act.
A new law has modified various provisions of the Labour Code, including Article L121-6(3) regarding salary payments in the event of illness. Following the issuance of the new rules, the majority of case law in this regard has become redundant. Now, employers must prove whether employees received their work schedule before falling ill.
The Luxembourg Administrative Court of Appeal and the European Court of Justice (on referral for a preliminary ruling) recently considered whether the Luxembourg law on the procedure applicable to the exchange of information on request in tax matters complied with EU Directive 2011/16/EU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In particular, the courts examined whether the Luxembourg law complied with the right to an effective remedy set out in the EU directive and the charter.
The principal way in which managers can protect themselves from liability is by obtaining a grant of discharge from shareholders. The Court of Appeal recently stated that although discharge is voted on at a general shareholders' meeting after the adoption of the company's annual accounts, the mere approval of the accounts does not automatically entail discharge. Rather, the court made clear that a decision to discharge a management body must be subject to a separate deliberation.
Following a recent Luxembourg District Court decision concerning the conditions for the enforcement of a pledge, collaterals consisting in a pledge on the shares of a company can be enforced even outside of a default payment (ie, even if the secured debt is not due and payable). In the case at hand, the pledge agreement provided that the pledge was enforceable in case of non-compliance with a binding financial ratio.
In a recent Court of Appeal case, an employee initiated various legal actions against his employer, seeking to have the decision to relocate him declared an improper termination of his employment contract for various reasons and his dismissal declared null and void. Although the tribunal found the decision to be a substantial modification of the employment contract which was detrimental to the employee, the Court of Appeal had a different interpretation.
The Luxembourg District Court has clarified the requirements and procedures regarding judicial management reports provided for in the law on commercial companies, as amended. The ruling provides valuable insight into shareholders' right to request information on management decisions. While the reduced threshold suggests a trend in Luxembourg law towards shareholder empowerment, as well as the accountability and transparency of managing bodies, the ruling appears to be pro-management.
A recent Luxembourg District Court judgment has confirmed the well-established, flexible and creditor-friendly environment offered by the Collateral Act. The court ruled that the enforcement of a pledge cannot be set aside, except in the case of clearly established fraud. The main takeaway from the decision is the confirmation of the possibility offered by the act to enforce a pledge without any payment default and in case of a breach of a financial covenant.
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.