Understanding parental leave in Luxembourg
With 16 weeks of maternity leave and 6 additional months for parental leave, Luxembourg is among the countries which offer the best conditions for welcoming a child. Explanations.
In the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, enabling young parents to reconcile work and family life is a priority. To do this, there are three possibilities for parental leave:
Céline didn’t hesitate. As a manager of an EU project in a nature park in Luxembourg, she knew right away that she would prefer to get back to work quickly. “The 6 months full-time at home didn't quite suit my personality. I was afraid of feeling isolated, even though my colleagues and mum recommended this option," she explains.
Part-time leave is subject to the agreement of the company. But in Céline's case, her employer gave her all the options.» They were great" she adds. "I convinced them that I could still keep an eye on the files in progress even working half my normal hours".
The split option is more particularly designed for foreigners who represent 47% of the Luxembourg population. This way a young mother is able to organise long trips to go home to see her family, at the rate of four trips of one month in summer or at Christmas for example, over a period of 20 months.
Luxembourg parental leave isn’t just adaptable, it is also egalitarian. Both the mother and father have the same rights. Parental leave can be taken at the same time by both parents, or it can be staggered until the child is 6 years old. If both parents request parental leave, at least one of them must take it following maternity leave. "My partner worked in Germany and joined me in Luxembourg a few months before the birth" explains Céline. “So, he hadn’t paid in for long enough in Luxembourg to gain rights to parental leave. But he can bear this opportunity in mind when our daughter is older ”.
Céline had been warned by her colleagues. The application stage isn’t straightforward.
You need signatures in multiple places, stamps, and the opportunities for errors are numerous. In this situation the file is rejected, sometimes without explanation. “Like some of my colleagues before me, I also received a rejection letter. But I didn't worry. I immediately called the Caisse pour l’avenir des enfants (CAE). My file was complete, it was simply an administrative error." Find the complete guide to parental leave on the CAE’s website.
As for employers, they must be notified by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt at least two months before the start of maternity leave. As for Céline, she warned her employer well in advance "to give us time to find someone to replace me part-time, which isn’t easy".
Parental leave allowance is capped at 5/3 of the Luxembourg Minimum Social Wage. You can consult the calculation method on the government website or carry out a simulation. For Céline, this corresponded to 75% of her salary. But this drop in income went hand in hand with a drop in expenses: petrol, parking fees and lunches. So it paid for itself.
Parental leave covers both employees and the self-employed who exercise a professional activity in Luxembourg. A system rolled out to the liberal professions which isn’t common worldwide. "My best friends live in Canada and France, and are self-employed. They haven’t had my opportunity to benefit from parental leave. They had to go back to work very quickly after the birth” Céline emphasizes.
Whatever option you choose for your parental leave, we hope you take full advantage of the arrival of your child!