Luxembourg: New Law provides clear Distinction between Mandatory and Practical Traineeships
The Law of 4 June 2020 distinguishes between mandatory traineeships provided by a Luxembourg or foreign educational establishment (1) and practical traineeships undertaken in order to acquire professional experience (2). It also indicates the common provisions for both types of traineeships (3).
1. Mandatory traineeships provided by a Luxembourg or foreign educational establishment (art. L. 152-1 to L. 152-4 of the Luxembourg labour code):
- In accordance with article L. 152-2 of the Luxembourg labour code, the traineeships provided for by a Luxembourg or foreign educational establishment are an integral part of the training programme. This excludes mandatory traineeships carried out as part of vocational training, educational or professional guidance or specific training with a view to access to a profession governed by legal or regulatory provisions.
- A traineeship agreement must be signed by the trainee, his/her legal representative if he/she is a minor, by the traineeship supervisor (the head of the company or his/her delegate) and eventually by the educational establishment (article L. 152-3 of the Luxembourg labour code).
It is compulsory for the traineeship agreement to mention:
- the activities entrusted to the trainee;
- the starting and finishing dates of the traineeship and the maximum weekly duration of the trainee’s presence;
- the arrangements for authorising absence, in particular for reporting to a potential employer;
- where appropriate, financial compensation for the trainee;
- the appointment of a traineeship supervisor;
- the possible benefits of the trainee;
- the social protection scheme from which the trainee benefits, in particular regarding accident insurances;
- the arrangements for terminating the traineeship agreement unilaterally or by mutual agreement before the end of the traineeship.
According to article L. 152-4 of the Luxembourg labour code, financial compensation for these traineeships is optional when their duration is less than 4 weeks, and corresponds to at least 30% of the minimum social minimum wage for unskilled workers for traineeships lasting 4 weeks or more.
However, the obligation to compensate may be waived if the educational establishment expressly provides for a prohibition of compensation in the traineeship agreement and it makes that prohibition a condition for the recognition of the traineeship. The student concerned is obliged to submit the agreement to the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social and Solidarity Economy before the start of the traineeship for certification of compliance with these conditions. This certificate exempts the traineeship supervisor from the obligation to pay compensation.
2. Practical traineeships undertaken in order to acquire professional experience (art. L. 152-5 to L. 152-9 of the Luxembourg labour code):
- In accordance with article L. 152-5 of the Luxembourg labour code, practical traineeships undertaken in order to acquire professional experience may be concluded between a pupil or student and a traineeship supervisor.
A person is considered as a pupil or a student:
- who is registered in a Luxembourg or foreign educational establishment and who regularly follows an educational cycle or;
- who holds a Luxembourg secondary school leaving certificate or equivalent or;
- who has successfully completed the first cycle of higher or university education.
In this case, the full duration of the traineeship must be kept within 12 months of the end of the last school year registration during which the student obtained one of the above-mentioned diplomas.
- The duration of practical traineeships may not exceed 6 months over a period of 24 months with the same trainee supervisor.
- A traineeship agreement must be signed by the trainee, his/her legal representative if he/she is a minor, and by the traineeship supervisor (the head of the company or his delegate). The traineeship agreement must also indicate the above-mentioned elements (see point 1)
- According to article L. 152-8 of the Luxembourg labour code, practical traineeships lasting no more than 4 weeks do not give rise to mandatory compensation. However, traineeships lasting between 4 and 12 weeks included are compensated at the rate of 40% of the minimum social wage for unskilled workers, and traineeships concluded for a duration of more than 12 weeks up to and including 26 weeks are compensated at the rate of 75% of the minimum social wage for unskilled workers. For trainees who have successfully completed a first cycle of higher or university education, the reference wage is the social minimum wage for skilled employees.
- Please note that the number of practical traineeships in progress in the same company may not exceed 10% of the workforce. In companies with fewer than 10 employees, the maximum is set at one traineeship. However, these limitations do not apply during the period from 1 July to 30 September included.
3. Common provisions for both types of traineeships (art. L. 152-10 to L. 152-17 of the Luxembourg labour code):
The aim of both types of traineeships is for the trainee to obtain guidance and vocational training. The tasks assigned to the student must not require performance comparable to that of an employee and must neither replace permanent jobs, nor replace an employee who is temporarily absent, nor be used to deal with temporary work overloads (article L. 152-10 (1) of the Luxembourg labour code).
It should be noted that the trainee’s supervisor must keep a register of traineeships, which may be consulted at any time by the staff delegation and which must be made available to the Inspection for Labour and Mines (ITM) on request.
Even if the student is not hired as an employee, a certain level of protection is required. Article L. 152-13 of the Luxembourg labour code provides that the provisions of the Labour Code governing working hours, weekly rest, public holidays, paid annual leave and safety at work apply to trainees.
In the case of a part-time traineeships agreement, the maximum duration of the traineeship is calculated in hours and the compensation provided for therein is pro rata.
Finally, it is important to note that the above provisions do not affect the application of special legal or regulatory provisions existing in the field of traineeship and apprenticeship.
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