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Young workers

Law of 23 March 2001 on the protection of young workers

Chapter 1: Scope of application

This law applies to:

  • “young” persons: all persons under the age of 18 who have an employment contract and are pursuing a gainful occupation on the territory of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, trainees, apprentices, young unemployed persons benefiting from a temporary auxiliary contract, pupils and students employed during the educational holidays;
  • “child”: young persons under the age of 15 still in compulsory education;
  • “adolescent”: young persons between the ages of 15 and 18 who are no longer covered by the compulsory education requirement.

Articles 12, 13, sub-sections 8 and 14, likewise apply to young people up to the age of 21.
The conditions applicable to the employment of young persons in domestic service, agriculture and wine growing may be stipulated in a Grand Ducal regulation.

Chapter 2: Employment of children

The employment of children to perform work of any kind whatsoever is prohibited.
The participation of children for gainful purposes or in a professional manner in audiovisual or cultural, artistic, sports and advertising activities and in the field of fashion is prohibited. This ban does not apply to the participation of a child without remuneration in such activities as a member of a sports, cultural or artistic association or within the framework of the work of an association.

Chapter 3: General obligations of the employer

The employer must take the measures necessary to protect the safety and health of young people. These measures are put in place on the basis of a risk assessment made before the young persons take up their duties and whenever any substantial change to the working conditions is made. If the assessment reveals the existence of a risk to the safety, health or physical, psychological, mental, moral or social development of the young people, an assessment and monitoring of their health will be performed without charge and on an adequate scale at regular intervals by the appropriate occupational health service.
Before signing the employment, apprenticeship or internship contract or before duties are taken up, the employer will inform the “young” worker in writing of any risks and of all measures taken with a view to the protection of health and safety.

Pupils and students working during the educational holidays must undergo the recruitment examination if the post which they are to occupy involves a risk of occupational illness or raises safety considerations.

Chapter 4: Vulnerability of young persons - Prohibition of employment

Young persons must not be employed to perform tasks which expose them to specific risks to their safety, health, physical, psychological, spiritual, moral or social development or which are liable to jeopardize their education or occupational training because of a lack of experience or a lack of awareness of existing or virtual risks.
In particular, work (see attached list) is prohibited which

  • places excessive demands on their physical and mental capacities;
  • exposes them to toxic or carcinogenic agents or radiation;
  • exposes them to extreme temperatures (low or high);
  • exposes them to noise and vibrations;
  • causes harmful exposure to physical, biological and chemical agents.

Piece work, production line work or any other system enabling higher remuneration to be obtained by working at a faster pace is prohibited for adolescents.

Chapter 5: Work by adolescents

Safety and health at work

Specific instructions must be given to adolescents if, in the course of their professional training, they have to be familiarized with dangerous tasks.
An employer who employs one or more adolescents must keep a record showing all the personal particulars and work done by such adolescents. The medical examinations will be identical to those stipulated by the law of 17 June 1994 concerning the occupational health services.

Working hours

Working hours must not exceed 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. Hours spent in school (sandwich courses) count as working hours and the employer must authorize adolescents to absent themselves from work to attend compulsory vocational education.
Overtime must not be worked, save by way of exception after the employer has made an application stating the reasons to the Director of the ITM.

Rest period and breaks

After a four hour period, adolescents must benefit from a paid break for rest of at least 30 minutes. During each seven day period, adolescents must benefit from regular rest on two consecutive days including, in principle, Sunday.

Work on Sundays and public holidays

Adolescents must not be employed on Sundays and public holidays. By derogation, the employer may be authorised exceptionally to ask adolescents to work on these days, in which case he must immediately inform the director of the ITM stating reasons. A period of one whole day’s compensatory time off must then be granted within the next twelve days. Work on Sunday is remunerated with a supplement of 100% and work on public holidays as on Sunday, plus the additional allowance for public holidays.

Night work

Adolescents must not be asked to work at night, i.e. for twelve consecutive hours necessarily including the period between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. In the case of companies and services which operate continuously, work is permitted after 10 p.m. but remains prohibited between midnight and 4 a.m.
In the event of assignment to night work, a health assessment will be made at regular intervals by the occupational medicine service responsible.• 

Paid leave

Adolescents are entitled to paid leave of at least 25 working days unless a more favourable agreement exists. Leave must be granted to apprentices during the holiday periods which are granted in higher educational establishments.

Remuneration

The minimum rate of agreed salaries for adolescents under the age of 18 is stipulated for a post of equal value as a percentage of the remuneration of adult workers occupying the same post (80% from 17 to 18; 75% from 15 to 17).
The minimum social pay rates are guaranteed for workers aged 18 and above.