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Unpaid training leave

Temporarily interrupt your professional commitments for training

Employees from the private sector with at least 2 years of service with their employer, regardless of the type of employment contract that they have with their company, can request unpaid training leave.

01 Purpose

Eligible training in the context of a request for an unpaid training leave, is provided by:

  • Institutions with public or private school status (college, university, higher education institution) recognised by the public authorities, and issuing certificates recognised by these same authorities,
  • The ministry of national Education and vocational Training (Ministère de l'Education nationale et de la Formation professionnelle - MENFP)
  • Professional chambers,
  • Municipalities,
  • Private associations individually approved for such purpose by the ministry responsible for vocational training.

02 Example

Didier, an employee, wishes to undertake a 3-month training course at his own initiative

Didier, 24, a young employee in the banking sector, wishes to undertake a high-level training course in the United States that is recognised in Luxembourg. He is prepared to pay all of the costs of the training himself, and to temporarily suspend his professional commitments.

However, he does not yet have 2 years of service with his current employer. Therefore he has to wait a certain amount of time before submitting his request for unpaid training leave in order to obtain his desired certification.

03 Process

The employee must submit his request by registered letter with an acknowledgement of receipt or by a hand-delivered letter with an acknowledgement of receipt.

The request must contain information relating to:

  • The type of training course,
  • The length of the training course,
  • The training body,
  • The period(s) of leave sought together with a note stipulating that no response from the employer within 30 days is deemed as an automatic acceptance of the request.

At the employer's request, the employee must produce an attendancecertificate for the training for which he/she has received the unpaid leave.

Employer's opinion

The employer should respond within 30 days in writing, with an acknowledgement of receipt.

The unpaid leave request may be:

  • Accepted by the employer. At the latter's request, the employee must produce an attendance certificate for the training for which he/she requested the unpaid leave

  • Refused by the employer if the applicant is a high-level executive or if the company regularly employs less than 15 employees

  • Deferred by the employer, for a period of up to:
    • 1 year if the duration of leave sought is lower or equal to 3 months;
    • 2 years if the duration of leave sought exceeds 3 months

A deferment may apply if:

  • A considerable proportion of the employees in a department are absent during the period of leave sought for an extended period, and as a result the organisation of the work would be seriously affected,
  • A replacement for the applicant cannot be organised during the notice period given due to the specific nature of his/her role or a shortage of labour in the sector/profession in question,
  • The work is of a seasonal nature, and the requested leave is during a seasonal period.

Multiple requests

In the event of multiple leave requests in one department or company which cannot all be accepted, if no agreement is reached between the employees concerned and no deferment of leave is granted, priority will be given to the request made by the employee with proof of thelongest service with the company.

04 Length

  • The maximum length of leave is 6 consecutive months.
  • The minimum length of leave is 4 consecutive weeks.
  • The maximum cumulative length of leave is 2 years per employer.

The duration of leave is always expressed in whole weeks or months, and must be in proportion to the length of the training.

For the duration of leave, the employment contract is suspended, constituting a temporary suspension of the contract's effects without the contract being broken.

The employer must retain the job of the employee on leave, the latter recovering on his/her return all of the accrued benefits prior to the start of the leave or, where this is not possible, a similar job matching his/her qualifications, with an equivalent or higher salary and the same accrued benefits.

05 Suspension

Acceptance of the unpaid leave request represents a binding agreement, both for the employee and the employer.

However, in the event of a force majeure, the employer's acceptance or the employee's commitment may be cancelled under certain conditions:

  • If the employee initiates the cancellation, the employer's agreement is required. However, this is not possible if the employer has recruited someone under a fixed-term contract to replace the employee,

  • If the employer initiates the cancellation, the latter must compensate the employee for non-recoverable training costs that have already been incurred

Employee illness

An illness during the unpaid leave does not entitle the employee to a deferment of the remaining authorised duration of leave.

In the event of illness that extends over a period of more than 25% of the duration of the leave, or in the event of a force majeure that makes participation at all or part of the training impossible, the employee may seek the termination of his/her leave.

The employer must comply with this request, unless urgent work organisation circumstances do not allow for the employee to be reintegrated prior to the end of the leave granted.


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