This article sets out the details of a Bill intended to bring greater legal protection and clarity to the apprenticeship and internship system in Luxembourg by incorporating provisions relating to them into the Labour Code.
By: Dorothée David
A Bill on professional training (Bill no. 7268) was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies on 22 March 2018. In particular, the Bill plans to add provisions currently in place for apprenticeship and internship contracts, introduced by the Law of 19 December 2008, to the Labour Code. Among other things, this would help to consolidate legal protection for apprentices and interns, as any disputes must be handled by the labour court. The newly applicable rules would be included in a chapter entitled The right to train, the apprenticeship contract and the training internship agreement (‘Le droit de former, le contrat d’apprentissage et la convention de stage de formation’) in Book 1 of the Labour Code by the Bill.
As far as the apprenticeship contract is concerned, the main new provisions would be:
- A compulsory, non-renewable trial period of three months will apply, during which the contract may be terminated unilaterally, without giving reasons or notice, with the parties merely having to inform the relevant professional chambers in writing.
- The duration of the apprenticeship contract will be equal to the actual length of the apprenticeship, with an initial extension automatically granted if the student needs it to complete their training, and a second extension granted if the parties who have signed the contract agree. Any other extension would be granted in accordance with a request made by either party to the relevant professional body responsible for making such a decision.
- The apprenticeship contract can be suspended if the apprentice takes extended absence due to illness, maternity or any other reason duly justified and accepted by the relevant professional body, with the contract being suspended for the duration of the absence and subsequently extended for the same period. If such a suspension takes place during the three-month trial period, this trial period would also be extended by the same time, but for no longer than one month.
- Termination of the apprenticeship contract is extended to include four new circumstances: mandatory career change for the apprentice, if the apprentice is removed from the training programme, if the apprentice is absent without a valid reason for 20 consecutive working days from the training establishment, and if the rights to sickness benefits granted to the apprentice have been exhausted in accordance with article 9, paragraph 1 of the Social Security Code.
- The possibility for termination of the apprenticeship contract on the initiative of the training establishment, the apprentice or relevant professional body, once the latter have agreed, is extended to two new circumstances: if either party’s trust in the other has irredeemably broken down, and if the physical or moral integrity of either party is at risk.
- A mediation procedure is introduced involving an apprenticeship consultant if one party asks for the apprenticeship contract to be terminated and the other party refuses. If the mediation procedure fails to reach an agreement about whether to terminate or continue the apprenticeship contract, the dispute would be referred to a disputes committee. If the mediation process fails, either party could refer the dispute in question to the employment tribunal.
As far as internships are concerned, the internship contract would now be called a training internship agreement (‘convention de stage de formation’), and the Bill specifies that throughout the internship, the intern continues to be a student at the educational establishment.
On average Bills in Luxembourg take several months to become law following submission to the Chamber of Deputies. This Bill is not expected to generate controversy or to be significantly delayed, but at the time of writing, the timescale for implementation remains uncertain.