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Country snapshot

Key considerations

Which issues would you most highlight to someone new to your country?

Luxembourg has been an important employment hub for cross-border workers since the end of the 1980s. Approximately 180,000 people from neighbouring countries commute to Luxembourg each day and approximately 45% of employees are cross-border workers, of whom 50% are French, 25% are Belgian and 25% are German.

Cross-border workers can spend up to one-and-a-half hours per day commuting. Parking places are difficult to find and rush hour no longer has any meaning, as moving around Luxembourg at any point during working hours (by car or public transport) is becoming ever more difficult.

Businesses require as much efficiency as possible and employers must be flexible and seek innovative solutions to manage working hours (eg, flexible hours, mobility packages and remote working) to counteract the issues regarding commuting. Some employers have already implemented such policies and although the Luxembourg government (and the Greater Region comprising parts of Belgium, France and Luxembourg) is working to implement such measures, tax remains an issue.

The problem regarding time lost commuting also remains unresolved, which is frustrating as technology offers many opportunities and possibilities to resolve this issue.

What do you consider unique to those doing business in your country?

Luxembourg is located in central Europe and is close to its largest cities (eg, London, Paris, Brussels, Zurich and Berlin are only one hour’s flight away).

The present unemployment rate of 6% is lower than the European average. Luxembourg also has a unique labour force: 71% of all jobs are occupied by foreign nationals, of whom 95% are EU citizens.

Further, Luxembourg ranks highly in studies of the quality of life of foreign nationals and attracts such workers via tax and social benefits.

With its 170 nationalities, Luxembourg is one of the world’s most multicultural and cosmopolitan countries. Of the 115,000 residents of its capital city, 70% are foreign nationals from 160 different countries.

Is there any general advice you would give in the employment area?

Employment information (eg, legal working hours, employment contracts, categories of workers and contracts and working conditions) is generally available online. However, circumstances may differ, exceptions may exist and the implementation of rules and procedures may change from one context to another. Further, Luxembourg has three official languages (ie, Luxembourgish, French and German). Therefore, some concepts borrowed from UK law are undefined or often poorly defined (eg, the concept of ‘with or without cause’ with respect to termination).

It is therefore highly recommended to seek legal and tax advice, particularly in cross-border situations (eg, regarding secondment, the transfer of undertakings (protection of employment) and senior executive recruiting), although basic information in this regard is easily accessible.

Emerging issues/hot topics/proposals for reform

Are there any noteworthy proposals for reform in your jurisdiction?

The most noteworthy reform is the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which will be binding as of May 25 2018. Luxembourg is preparing for this transition, as privacy rights and trade secrets are hot topics at present.

The Supreme Court also recently ruled in favour of LuxLeaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour, offering him full whistleblowing status, which is a highly debated status that affects Luxembourg’s labour laws.

Further, the legislature recently revised the laws on special leave and early retirement, introducing age policy measures to the Labour Code.

In addition, a draft law to implement EU Directive 2014/54/EU on measures facilitating the exercise of rights conferred on workers in the context of the freedom of movement for workers is under discussion at present.

What are the emerging trends in employment law in your jurisdiction?

According to the Annual World Talent Report 2017, Luxembourg is among the top 10 EU countries in the world for attracting and retaining talent, an area that is constantly being improved. For example, alongside the EU General Data Protection Regulation, an agreement was reached on February 2 2016 by the European Commission and the United States which launched a framework to regulate transatlantic data flows. This tool is designed to regulate the privacy rights of EU individuals in the context of companies in the European Union that transfer data to the United States.

Further, a recent noteworthy change to employment law in Luxembourg concerned parental leave. The increase in the number of days granted to new fathers makes Luxembourg’s parental leave one of the most favourable in Europe. Maternity leave has also been extended to 12 weeks. These rights are subject to a proposal for a work-life balance directive, which will harmonise EU standards in this field.

The employment relationship

Country specific laws

What laws and regulations govern the employment relationship?

Individual employment relationships are governed in order of priority by:

  • EU regulations;
  • the Labour Code;
  • grand-ducal regulations, which regulate the modalities of execution and thresholds and standards that are subject to frequent modification;
  • collective bargaining and collective agreements, which are generally binding for a specific professional sector and therefore apply automatically to employment relationships that fall within their scope. Collective bargaining agreements generally cover employment relationships, general conditions of employment and all matters of negotiation (eg, conditions of employment and social guarantees), whereas collective agreements cover only one or more topics determined in collective bargaining agreements;
  • employment agreements;
  • internal regulations; and
  • common practices in certain circumstances.

Any matter not expressly provided for in an employment contract is generally governed by the Labour Code or collective agreements, if applicable.

As regards case law, there is no rule of precedent in Luxembourg. Courts are generally not bound by judicial decisions pronounced in other cases, even when they are comparable. Courts are also forbidden to rule by general disposition. Decisions must therefore be motivated and limited to the specific case on which a court is ruling.

Who do these cover, including categories of worker?

Luxembourg’s labour laws apply to any activity performed by any worker in Luxembourg, unless the parties have chosen another law which is more favourable to the employee.

Misclassification

Are there specific rules regarding employee/contractor classification?

Workers are classified based on:

  • the provision and performance of effective work or services;
  • compensation granted for work performed;
  • the subordination of the employee to the employer; and
  • the employer’s power of direction and control over the employee.

If one of these conditions is not met, the employment relationship may be qualified as a self-employment agreement (eg, a service or consulting agreement and mandate).

Differences exist between employees and senior executives, as the latter have:

  • a higher level of remuneration;
  • effective and real management power; and
  • significant independence in organising their work and an absence of constraints regarding working hours.

Contracts

Must an employment contract be in writing?

Employment contracts must be evidenced in writing and contain the following details:

  • the names of the parties;
  • the date of commencement of the employment relationship;
  • the place of employment (or employer’s address if there are various places of employment);
  • the nature of employment (eg, a description of the tasks involved);
  • the employee’s daily or weekly standard working hours;
  • the employee’s standard working schedule, if any;
  • the employee’s remuneration and bonuses;
  • the length of the employee’s paid holiday or the method for determining this;
  • the length of the employee’s notice period when the contract is terminated;
  • the length of the employee’s trial period;
  • any complementary provisions;
  • any collective bargaining agreements that govern the employee’s working conditions; and
  • any supplementary pension scheme.

In addition, fixed-term agreements must include details of:

  • the agreement’s aims, including the names of any absent employees (as the case may be); 
  • the termination date or minimum employment duration; and
  • any renewal clauses.

These general rules are subject to specific professional advice depending on the context.

Are any terms implied into employment contracts?

Employment relationships must respect the Labour Code and collective agreements, which are binding, even if they are not referred to in the employment contract. Any clause that aims to restrict the rights provided by the Labour Code or a collective agreement would be invalid.

However, employment agreements may include provisions (including foreign law provisions) which differ from the Labour Code without necessarily being null and void.

The Labour Code’s aim is to protect employees. Therefore, provisions included in an employment agreement must be examined with regard to their level of protection towards employees. Should a provision be less favourable to an employee than the Labour Code, such provision will be considered null and void.

The terms and conditions of employment relationships are also governed by the general principle of good faith, as provided for by the Civil Code.

Internal regulations, which cover internal policies setting out disciplinary rules and instructions and guidelines for the proper performance of work, also govern employment relationships.

Are mandatory arbitration/dispute resolution agreements enforceable?

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as arbitration, is applicable to employment-related disputes, but is rarely used in Luxembourg labour law.

Alongside the labour courts, where the judge’s main role is conciliation, an individual conciliation service also exists at the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines (ITM). Further, the ITM has an informal mediation role. The Mediation Centre of the Luxembourg Bar offers the possibility of open mediation for labour law. Finally, arbitration is determined by the New Civil Procedure Code.

ADR is not a compulsory prerequisite to legal proceedings. However, parties may be obliged to have recourse to ADR depending on the provisions of the agreement or contract which defines their legal relationship.

As labour courts are competent to hear disputes between employers and employees, they also determine the enforcement conditions. Any infringement of an agreement (which is binding for the parties thereto) may be referred to the labour courts.

Arbitration sentences are binding and enforceable contrary to conciliation decisions and mediation agreements, which lack legal force and are not legally binding.

How can employers make changes to existing employment agreements?

Changes to an employment relationship that result in more favourable terms for an employee and do not automatically result in obstacles and amendments through addendum are possible. Unless agreed by mutual consent, the procedure to modify an employment relationship is quite demanding and formal.

Any amendment to the substantive terms of an employment contract which is detrimental to an employee must be notified to the employee in accordance with the dismissal with notice or serious grounds procedures. Contractual amendments that violate the aforementioned requirements will be deemed null and void.

Therefore, employees must follow a strict and formal procedure depending on the size of their workforce (ie, fewer or more than 150 employees), including:

  • a preliminary meeting (before notification of the amendment); and
  • a notice of modification to a substantive contract term.

In the event of the modification of an employment contract with notice, employers are not bound to specify the reasons for modifying an employment agreement by letter. Instead, the employee must request such reasons within one month of receiving notice. In contrast, a notification letter to modify a substantive contract term for serious grounds must provide a detailed explanation.

On receipt of such a request, the employer must provide extensive reasons that are consistent with the requirements under a statement of reason in the event of dismissal with notice.

The termination of employment resulting from an employee’s refusal to accept an amendment to his or her employment contract may lead to an unfair dismissal claim.

Foreign workers

Is a distinction drawn between local and foreign workers?

Any EU or European Economic Area citizen can move freely within the European Union and has the right to work and live anywhere in Luxembourg, but third-country nationals need authorisation to stay, as well as a residence and work permit.

Priority for vacancies is given to Luxembourg and EU nationals. It is therefore necessary to anticipate any steps relating to employing third-country nationals (ie, the migrant employee’s level of qualification, the need for a vacancy declaration to be made to the authorities, the need for visa authorisation and a work permit) before the start of an employment relationship.

Recruitment

Advertising

What are the requirements relating to advertising positions?

The recruitment of employees requires compliance with anti-discrimination measures. Employers must also propose acceptable work contracts (ie, full or part-time, fixed-term or indefinite contracts) and respect non-discrimination and equal treatment principles provided for in the Labour Code and the Criminal Code.

Background checks

What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries in relation to the following:

(a) Criminal records?

During the recruitment process, an employer can request police clearance based on the needs of the job advertised. Such a request must be indicated in the job offer. The potential employer can also request a criminal record check if a driving licence is a prerequisite for the job and this is mentioned in the employment contract. A special criminal record check can also be requested for tasks that involve contact with children. This data can be stored for no more than two months. Following the EU General Data Protection Regulation’s entry into force, an employer will need to keep criminal record requests and the justification of such requests for future and existing employees.

(b) Medical history?

Health-related information is covered by personal and private data provisions and thus cannot be subject to inquiries from employers. However, the Labour Code includes a medical exam to assess the general medical state of employees who are entering into a new employment relationship. These results are private and belong to the employee; the employer has no access to this data.

(c) Drug screening?

Drug screening may be lawful if performed legitimately and proportionately with employee consent considering the nature of the work involved or the conditions in which it is conducted. Data protection rules must be respected when drug screening is conducted.

(d) Credit checks?

Credit checks are covered by personal and private data provisions and thus cannot be the subject of employer inquiries. However, depending on the applicant’s position and the nature of his or her activities, an employer may request the provision of such information, which is not mandatory.

(e) Immigration status?

Immigration status is regarded as private information which can be obtained only on agreement by employees or future employees. Such information must be sought and used according to the principles of non-discrimination and the data protection rules. An employer’s human resources department may request the disclosure of such information.

The Luxembourg labour market prioritises access for Luxembourg, EU and European Economic Area nationals. This constitutes a legal and justified discrimination.

(f) Social media?

Social media information is freely accessible to employers. When performing such background checks, employers must respect the non-discrimination principle and the data protection rules.

However, these principles may be tempered by employee obligations to employers, including professional discretion, which is a principle that extends to social media posts by employees. Any misconduct on social media at the direct expense of an employer can be punished.

(g) Other?

Background checks are permitted provided that they comply with the anti-discrimination and data protection principles.

An employer may request from a job applicant a copy of his or her:

  • identity card or passport;
  • diplomas; and
  • social security card.

Wages and working time

Pay

Is there a national minimum wage and, if so, what is it?

The Labour Code provides contractual provisions relating to the social minimum wage and the automatic adjustment of remuneration to reflect changes to the cost of living.

In this respect, the salary of an employee cannot under any circumstances be below the social minimum wage, which is at present €2,398.30 per month for a qualified employee or €1,998.59 per month for an unqualified employee. Salaries, wages and social contributions (including the social minimum wage) are automatically adjusted in line with changes to the cost of living.

Are there restrictions on working hours?

Normal working hours are eight hours per day and 40 hours per week (ie, 173 hours per month).

In certain cases, working hours can be extended, but they cannot exceed 10 hours per day or 48 hours per week. Nonetheless, flexible options are granted to employers regarding increased working hours or flexible or working plan hours.

Hours and overtime

What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?

An employee must have at least 11 consecutive hours of rest (ie, 44 hours for each seven-day period) in any 24-hour period. Employees are entitled to an additional six working days leave per year, which are payable for each full eight-week period.

How should overtime be calculated?

Overtime consists of hours worked beyond legal working hours (ie, eight hours per day and 40 hours per week) or hours that exceed the total weekly hours provided in an employment contract. The overtime regime depends on whether:

  • employees are subject to normal working hours, flexible hours or working plan hours; and
  • overtime work is performed on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday or at night.

Overtime must be specifically requested by an employer or performed with its express consent.

The basic supplementary payment for each overtime hour is a minimum of 40% for all employees (except senior executives) and one-and-a-half hours of compensatory rest per hour of overtime worked. Overtime hours are exempt from tax and social security contributions.

What exemptions are there from overtime?

Overtime should remain optional, as an employer cannot expect its employees to perform overtime systematically. Pregnant and breastfeeding women cannot undertake overtime activities. Teenagers can perform overtime, but under restricted conditions.

The overtime regime does not apply to senior executives, who cannot claim compensation or payment for such work.

Is there a minimum paid holiday entitlement?

Yes, employees are granted a minimum 25 days’ paid holiday, which are paid as working days. This figure is calculated on a pro rata basis for part-time employees. There are also 10 public holidays per year.

What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?

Monthly wage deductions are the responsibility of employers, which must deduct all social security contributions and withholding taxes.

Employers cannot withhold any deductions on employee pay unless one of the limited cases authorised by law applies.

Finally, employers may be forced to garnish employee wages at the request of a creditor based on a court order to freeze them. The employer may withhold, but not transfer, wages to the creditor before the judicial validation of the garnishment.

Record keeping

What payroll and payment records must be maintained?

Payroll and payment records must be maintained for at least three years to show proof of execution on request, which corresponds to the term of prescription for rights and claims based on an employment relationship.

Discrimination, harassment & family leave

What is the position in relation to:

Protected categories

(a) Age?

Discrimination based on age is forbidden unless it is legitimate and proportionate with regard to the pursued objective (ie, the discrimination is grounded by a lawful and substantial professional requirement).

(b) Race

Direct or indirect discrimination based on race and any unlawful behaviour towards an existing or prospective employee based on race during the recruitment or termination process is forbidden under the Labour Code.

The term ‘race’ may include nationalities. However, the priority given to Luxembourg nationals and EU nationals illustrates a lawful exception to the principle of non-discrimination.

(c) Disability?

The Labour Code formally prohibits any discrimination based on disability.

(d) Gender?

Any direct or indirect discrimination based on gender, including references to a change of gender or marital or family status, are prohibited by the Labour Code, which includes a dedicated section on gender-based harassment situations at all points of an employment relationship – from recruitment to termination.

Exceptions to this principle may be considered lawful if they are legitimate and proportionate with regard to the pursued objective (ie, if the discrimination is based on a legal, substantial and professional requirement (eg, female prison officers conducting body searches of female prisoners).

(e) Sexual orientation?

The Labour Code formally prohibits any discrimination based on sexual orientation.

(f) Religion?

Discrimination based on religion and religious beliefs is prohibited. Under certain legal conditions, exceptions to this principle may be considered lawful if they are legitimate and proportionate with regard to the pursued objective (ie, if the discrimination is grounded by a lawful substantial professional requirement, such as security reasons for not wearing a veil).

(g) Medical?

A medical condition is likely to be defined as a form of disability, which is regulated under Article 251.1 of the Labour Code. Under certain legal conditions, exceptions to this principle may be considered lawful if they are legitimate and proportionate with regard to the pursued objective (ie, if the discrimination is grounded by a lawful substantial professional requirement, such as health requirements for soldiers).

(h) Other?

Any direct or indirect discrimination based on ethnic origin, skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, family situation, age, health, disability, way of life, political or philosophical opinions, trade union membership, non-membership or activities (either true or supposed) of a particular ethnic group, nationality, race or religion is prohibited.

Any other type of discrimination (eg, based on nationality), albeit not provided for by the Labour Code or labour laws could be considered unlawful if not justified by the professional nature of the activity or its conditions of exercise (ie, when the criteria constitutes a substantial professional requirement). 

Family and medical leave

What is the position in relation to family and medical leave?

Family leave is protected by labour laws and the legislature recently granted additional leave to parents to be with their children when required. Employees are protected against dismissal and being called to a preliminary interview before dismissal (as the case may be) during pregnancy or maternity, paternity, parental or sick leave.

Harassment

What is the position in relation to harassment?

Harassment is prohibited under the Labour Code – which dedicates two chapters to the definition of ‘harassment’ and ‘sexual harassment’ (defined as gender-based discrimination) – and the Criminal Code.

Whistleblowing

What is the position in relation to whistleblowing?

Although whistleblowing is not expressly defined by the Labour Code, on January 11 2018 the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the full recognition of whistleblowing with regard to the so-called ‘LuxLeaks’ case and invited the court of appeal to attribute such status fully to some of the facts at hand.

Privacy in the workplace

Privacy and monitoring

What are employees’ rights with regard to privacy and monitoring?

Privacy rights for employees must be balanced with an employer’s general rights to monitor employee performance. In general, employees must be informed of employer monitoring processes in order to enforce their rights under data protection rules and the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

To what extent can employers regulate off-duty conduct?

Off-duty conduct can be monitored by employers to the extent that employee privacy rights are respected and where they are aware that such activity will to be conducted. Employee monitoring must have a required lawful objective and be proportionate (eg, to protect the interest and reputation of the employer).

Are there rules protecting social media passwords in the employment context and/or on employer monitoring of employee social media accounts?

Privacy rights are protected by data protection rules, but the European Court of Human Rights recently ruled that employees cannot open professional accounts, use them for personal purposes and expect privacy rules to be enforced in their favour.

More specifically, the rules that employers must uphold in such situations imply that employees must be informed of the existence, nature and extent of such surveillance, provided that it is limited and proportionate, as per the data protection principles.

As of May 25 2018, this type of surveillance must be listed in the registry of treatment held by the employer, along with details of the requirements that make such surveillance lawful.

Trade secrets and restrictive covenants

Intellectual Property

Who owns IP rights created by employees during the course of their employment?

Any IP rights created by employees during the course of their employment agreement are owned by the employer where those duties remain within the company’s area of activity. The same criteria applies to employee designs created during the performance of work duties.

However, trademarks belong to the rights holder only where his or her exclusive rights are mentioned in the trademark register and copyright is owned by an employee unless his or her work was directed by the employer, in which case the employer is the rightful owner of the copyright.

Restrictive covenants

What types of restrictive covenants are recognised and enforceable?

A restricted covenant may be valid if it does not prevent employees from performing their work, but it must be:

  • time limited;
  • limited to a certain geographical area; and
  • legally based on the duty of loyalty of employees, according to which they cannot harm their employers’ interests.

The Labour Code regulates only non-competition clauses and establishes the conditions for such clauses to be valid. Together with non-competition clauses, Luxembourg labour law also recognises non-solicitation duties as enforceable restrictive covenants.

A clear description of an employer’s professional activities, the geographical area covered and the link between an employee’s activities must be included in an employment contract.

Non-compete

Are there any special rules on non-competes for particular classes of employee?

The Labour Code’s non-compete rules are general and thus applicable to any class of employee, along with the good faith principle, according to which contracts must be executed in good faith.

However, non-compete clauses will be considered unwritten when an employee’s wage or annual salary paid at the time of departure does not exceed a specific level. Such a clause will be unenforceable on employees that earn less than the minimum wage.

Discipline and grievance procedures

Procedures

Are there specific laws on the procedures employers must follow with regard to discipline and grievance procedures?

Discipline and grievance procedures are generally governed by internal binding rules in an employment contract. Employers must keep records of employee accessibility to these rules.

Along with the formal procedure to amend an employment contract, any change to the internal rules that govern discipline and grievance procedures must be brought to the attention of employees and employers must keep records of the notification of such changes.

Employers can implement the following measures to tackle employee misconduct:

  • a verbal reminder;
  • a serious warning (not a prerequisite to dismissal);
  • a disciplinary fine;
  • a salary deduction;
  • the amendment of a substantial element of an employment contract (eg, downgrading);
  • suspension with immediate effect (with entitlement to remuneration and benefits); and
  • dismissal.

An employee cannot be punished twice for the same offence. Employers can dismiss employees if employee misconduct is deemed to be serious. Failure to respect grievance procedures can also be punished by a salary deduction.

Industrial relations

Unions and layoffs

Is your country (or a particular area) known to be heavily unionised?

Employee representation in Luxembourg can be mandatory or voluntary. The two main unions are the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Confederation of Christian Trade Unions. The Luxembourg Business Union is the main employers’ association. Other sectors have their own trade unions (eg, the Luxembourg Association of Banking and Insurance Employees for the financial sector).

In comparison with other countries, Luxembourg is moderately unionised, with up to 30% of employees being unionised.

What are the rules on trade union recognition?

Trade unions are recognised as professional groups that are independent from the state, financially autonomous and composed of employees with an organised internal structure whose interest lies in the protection of professional interests, collective representation and the improvement of labour and general living conditions of their members.

Unions acquire recognition as a national representative body of employees through an election process at the chamber of employees, where at least 20% of the votes must be in their favour.

What are the rules on collective bargaining?

Collective bargaining agreements are governed by the Labour Code, which includes detailed rules regarding negotiations in specific industries and sectors. These rules aim to govern the relationship between:

  • trade unions;
  • employer organisations;
  • companies in the same professional field; and
  • single firms.

Termination

Notice

Are employers required to give notice of termination?

Any termination process (ie, dismissal with immediate effect or with notice) creates the right for the employee in question to know the reasons for such a decision.

Employers with more than 150 employees must conduct an interview before a termination notice, which may be notified only on the first business day following that interview.

The Labour Code provides for two types of termination of contract:

  • termination with immediate effect, which must contain the reason behind the decision; and
  • termination with a notice period, where the reasons for the termination are given at the employee’s request within one month and the employer will have one month to provide a response.

Redundancies

What are the rules that govern redundancy procedures?

During redundancy procedures, employers must indicate precisely the reasons for the decision in order to allow the court to examine whether they are real and serious and justify the redundancy decision.

Failure to respect the applicable rules for collective redundancies or mass layoffs will be punished by a judicial nullity of the dismissal or requalification as unfair dismissal.

Are there particular rules for collective redundancies/mass layoffs?

The rules for collective redundancy are applicable if:

  • seven or more employees are dismissed within 30 days; or
  • 15 or more employees are dismissed within 90 days.

In any case, a minimum of four terminated contracts qualify as collective redundancies if the contracts are terminated for reasons that are not directly related to the employees in question.

When these conditions are met, the employer must apply strict rules and negotiate a social plan.

Employers with at least 15 employees are bound by the Ministry of Labour and Employment to declare dismissals for economic grounds. This declaration duty triggers the impossibility to circumvent the rules of negotiation of a social plan.

Protections

What protections do employees have on dismissal?

Employees are protected from dismissal in the case of sickness, pregnancy, maternity, paternity or parental leave or when they are staff representatives.

In the case of such justified absences, employers cannot dismiss employees (not even for gross misconduct). If an employer has a reason to dismiss an employee, it will have to wait until the end of the leave period when the employee returns to work.

Such protection against dismissal remains valid for the duration of sickness leave and for a maximum period of 26 weeks from the first day of justified absence from work. For family leave, such protection lasts during the entire leave period.

Staff representatives and their alternates cannot be dismissed during their mandate and for six months following the end thereof. The same protection is granted to any official candidates to a staff delegation.

Courts/tribunals

Jurisdiction and procedure

Which tribunals or courts have jurisdiction to hear complaints?

Labour courts located in an employer’s registered seat or where an employee habitually carries out his or her work have territorial jurisdiction to rule on disputes between the two parties. An employer can bring court proceedings against an employee in the jurisdiction where the employee is domiciled.

Labour courts may rule in summary proceedings when a claim cannot be obviously challenged (eg, in the case of unpaid leave or salary) or for temporary measures (eg, the grant of unemployment benefits after a dismissal with immediate effect). The courts can also rule in main proceedings (eg, claims for unfair dismissal and the grant of damages).

What is the procedure and typical timescale?

A trial can take between eight and 18 months to reach a first-instance decision in a main proceeding. Summary proceedings may last up to six months.

Appeals

What is the route for appeals?

Either party can appeal a labour court judgment within 40 days of the date on which the judgment is notified to the parties by the court clerk. Appeals are lodged with the court of appeal and are sent to the chamber that handles labour matters.

The procedure takes place according to the written proceedings (ie, submissions are exchanged on a monthly basis according to timetables issued by the court). Once all arguments have been discussed, the parties may ask for the closing of the debates. The court sets a date for the hearing (ie, oral pleadings), during which the parties will resume their grounds, claims and arguments.

After examining the case, the court of appeal will issue its judgment. Generally, but not necessarily, a judgment is rendered one or two months after the pleadings have taken place (confirming or overruling the first judgment).

Appeal decisions are subject to cassation, which is a formal procedure that is strictly limited to questions of law and an analysis of whether the court of appeal applied the law correctly.