Entry into force of the law introducing one additional day of annual paid leave and one additional public holiday

On the 27th March 2019, the bill of law 7399 amending articles L. 232-2 and L. 233-4 of the Labour Code as well as article 28-1 of the amended law of 16th April 1979 establishing the general status of public servants (hereinafter the "Law") was passed by the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies. The leitmotif underpinning the Law is the same as that for the parental leave reform in 2016, namely enabling employees to achieve a greater balance between their private and professional lives.

The Law provides both that annual paid recreational leave, which is currently set at a minimum of 25 days, will be increased to 26 days and that the 9th May will be declared as a new public holiday in Luxembourg. The date of the entry into force of the Law has been set retroactively to 1 January 2019 to avoid any discussion of a possible pro rata application for the year 2019. As a result, the new provisions will be effective in full for the current year.

As regards the introduction of an additional public holiday, the date of the 9th May was chosen as it falls on Europe Day, which commemorates Robert Schuman's declaration of the 9th May 1950, considered to be the founding text of European integration.

Although the 11th day of public holiday is applicable to all employees, the introduction of an additional day of paid leave will only apply to employees who currently benefit from the minimum number of 25 days of annual paid leave. The explanatory memorandum of the bill of law explains that the Law only increases the number of statutory days of paid leave and does not result in an automatic increase to employees benefitting from more favourable provisions. Thus, employees who had a greater number than 25 days of statutory paid leave per year before the Law came into force, will not be automatically granted an additional day of paid leave under the provisions of the Law.

The introduction of the measures described above will necessarily result in a reduction in the number of annual working hours. In combination with the recent law introducing a time savings account as passed on the 12th March 2019, the Law adds to an ever increasing organisational pressure in the workplace.

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