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Luxembourg – What’s new in employment law in 2019

Written by
CASTEGNARO, your partner in labour and employment law in Luxembourg.
This article summarises a number of important developments in Luxembourg employment law that will take effect on 1 January 2019, including provisions relating to employee sick leave and pay and a reform of the supplementary pension system.

New provisions relating to employee ill health

The Law of 10 August 2018 (published in Mémorial A no. 703 of 21 August 2018) on maintaining employment contracts in the event of illness and introducing a gradual return to work for employees on sick leave will come into force on 1 January 2019. It introduces the following main new points.

Right to sick pay limited to a total of 78 weeks 

As of 1 January 2019, the right to sick pay paid by Luxembourg’s Caisse Nationale de Santé (National Health Fund, CNS) will be limited to a total of 78 weeks. This replaces the current limit of 52 weeks, which applies until 31 December 2018. The employment contract of an employee unable to work as a result of ill health will therefore be automatically terminated after 78 weeks compensated, over a reference period of 104 weeks.

Maintenance of the salary by the employer: 77 days over a reference period of 18 months

As of 1 January 2019, the 77-day period during which an employer continues to pay an employee who is unable to work must be calculated over a reference period of 18 months. This replaces the current reference period of 12 months, which remains applicable until 31 December 2018.

Gradual return to work for therapeutic purposes 

As of 1 January 2019, this new provision will allow an employee to submit a request to the CNS for a gradual return to work for therapeutic reasons:

  • on the basis of a medical certificate from their referring physician;
  • with their employer’s agreement;
  • on the condition that the employee has been unable to work for at least one month in the three months prior to the request;
  • on the condition that the return to work and the work carried out are recognised as encouraging improvement in terms of their health.


A gradual return to work for therapeutic reasons will be granted by a prior decision from the CNS based on the opinion given, with reasons, by the Contrôle Médical de la Sécurité Sociale. During this period of gradual return to work, the employee will receive sick pay from the CNS. This means that the employee will be fully covered by the CNS, even if working part time for the employer as part of a gradual return to work.

Reform of the supplementary pension system

Most of the provisions of by the Law of 1 August 2018 (Mémorial A no. 708 of 21 August 2018) reforming the supplementary pension system will come into force on 1 January 2019. The main changes introduced by the reform are set out here.

Increase to the minimum social wage

An increase in the minimum social wage of 1.1% is due to be introduced on 1 January 2019 by Bill no. 7381 (modifying article L. 222-9 of the Labour Code). It was voted on 18 December 2018. Subject to the publication of the law in Memorial and its entry into force, the new monthly figures for the minimum social wage applicable on 1 January 2019 will be as follows:

  • unqualified worker salary (over 18): EUR 2,071.10 gross (compared to 2,048.54 currently);
  • workers aged between 17 and 18: EUR 1,656.88 gross (compared to EUR 1,638.83 currently);
  • workers aged between 15 and 17: EUR 1,553.33 gross (compared to EUR 1,536.41 currently);
  • qualified worker salary EUR 2,485.32 gross (compared to EUR 2,458.25 currently).
Dorothée David
Head of Knowledge - Luxembourg