Luxembourg: Extending parental leave to improve work–life balance
Since 1 January 2018, paternity leave in Luxembourg has been increased from 2 to 10 days, under legislation passed in December 2017. The law, aimed to improve people’s work–life balance, also introduces more flexibility for parents to use leave to take care of a sick child, but reduces some leave permissible for personal reasons.
The main change introduced by the law, which was passed on 15 December, focuses on paternity leave and adoption leave. An earlier version, discussed by the social partners and the government, planned to extend paternity leave from two to five days. But it was decided to increase this to 10 days in order to align government policy with the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on work–life balance for parents and care-givers (PDF).
In practical terms, the employee must inform the employer in writing, with two months’ notice, of the expected dates on which he would like to take his leave. The 10 days can be split, but must be taken within two months of the birth or arrival of the child. However, if the employer does not agree to this, because of the needs of the business, leave must be taken in one go, immediately after the birth or arrival of the child. The government will reimburse the employer for the worker’s salary, starting on the third day. Otherwise, the length of the post-natal leave, and of the adoption leave for a child under 12 years, is extended from 8 to 12 weeks for mothers.
Leave for family reasons
The Act, Reform Bill 7060, also introduces greater flexibility for parents to use leave to take care of a sick child. According to the previous regulation, each parent was entitled to take two days of leave per year to take care of a sick child (aged under 15 years) in case of a serious illness, an accident or any other compelling health reason. As of 1 January 2018, the number of days of leave is dependent on the age of the child. The allowances are:
- 12 days per child aged up to three, to be taken over 4 years
- 18 days per child aged between four and twelve, to be taken over 9 years
- 5 days per child aged between thirteen and seventeen, if the child is hospitalised, to be taken over 5 years
Extraordinary leave for personal reasons
The Act also introduces some changes to the length of existing leave.
- Leave for an employee’s wedding has been reduced from six to three days, and from six days to one for a civil partnership declaration.
- Leave for the wedding of a child is reduced from two days to one and removed altogether for a civil partnership declaration.
- Leave for the death of a minor was increased from three to five days.
- Leave for moving is reduced from two days per year to two days over three years (if with the same employer), unless the move is due to professional reasons.
The social partners’ reactions
The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Luxembourg (OGBL) point out that only fathers whose children are born after 1 March 2018 will be able to benefit from this leave, because those whose children are born between 1 January and 28 February cannot comply with the period of notice that the law requires.
The Luxembourg Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (LCGB) denounced the deal between the government and employers to reduce some leave to compensate for the extension of paternity leave. LCGB also attacked the new Law for introducing unequal treatment between private sector and public sector employees. However, peak-level employer organisation the Union of Luxembourg Companies (UEL), welcomed the extension of the paternity leave to 10 days, calling it a balanced reorganisation of the different forms of leave.