The recent Act of 3 November 2016, substantially changed parental leave in Luxembourg. In addition to increasing the statutory allowance paid to parents, the Act seeks to increase flexibility for parents.

Under the previous legal framework, it was possible for an employee to apply either for so-called “first parental leave”, which is taken immediately after the maternity or adoption leave, or for “second parental leave”, which had to be taken before the child’s fifth birthday. For both types of leave, parental leave could be requested either for 6 months on a full-time basis or for 1 year on a part-time basis; in both cases, the employee was required to take the whole amount of leave in one go. While this was a simple system, it was very rigid and did not provide much flexibility for parents.

Under the new legislation, the first parental leave can either be taken for 4 or 6 months full-time or for 8 or 12 months part-time; and similarly the second parental leave can also be taken either for 4 or 6 months full-time or for 8 or 12 months part-time. Both types of leave are subject to specific conditions and formalities to be complied with by the employee.

While all employees are entitled to full-time parental leave, part-time parental leave is subject to the prior consent of the employer and only a parent working at least 50% of normal working hours (in principle 40 hours per week) in the company is entitled to part-time parental leave (whereby weekly working hours are reduced by 50%). Consequently, a parent working less than 20 hours per week is only entitled to full-time parental leave.

Subject to the prior consent of the employer, a parent working full-time may also choose to take split parental leave, for which there are two options:

  • option 1: reducing weekly working hours by 20% or one working day over a period of 20 months, or
  • option 2: 4 distinct parental leave periods of one month spread over a period of 20 months.

Finally, the child’s age before which the second parental leave must be taken has been increased to the age of 6 years for a biological child and the age of 12 years for an adopted child.

The Luxembourg government hopes that by increasing flexibility, more parents will feel able to take parental leave and with the various options available, parents will be better able to find an option which suits their circumstances.