Luxembourg has recently reformed the right to sporting leave in order to adapt the existing law to the needs of modern society, broaden the eligibility criteria and clarify certain concepts to avoid questions and disputes about interpretation. Bill of law n°7955_ was passed by Parliament on 4 July 2023 and exempted from a second constitutional vote by the Conseil d'État (State Council) on 14 July 2023. The law of 21 July 2023 1 was published on 31 July 2023(the "Law").
The Law will enter into force on 1 January 2024, with the exception of certain specific provisions that will enter into force on 4 August 2023.
The main changes introduced by the Law and the primary features of sporting leave from an employment law perspective are summarised below.
1. Objective of the leave
The Law encourages the ability to continue pursuing sports while also being employed, with a view to creating a better work-life balance. It also aims to revitalise volunteer activity in sports, which has been declining in recent years 2.
2. Individuals entitled to leave
Sporting leave was previously only available to elite athletes who were likely to represent Luxembourg in official international competitions (such as the Olympic Games) and their managerial staff, as well as judges, referees and technical and administrative directors.
The Law widens the scope of those who will be entitled to sporting leave to athletes registered with an affiliate club in a sports federation, support staff, volunteers and technical and administrative managers appointed by their clubs.
Therefore, the Law adds the following individuals to those
entitled to sporting leave (in addition to those who were entitled
- Athletes likely to represent Luxembourg who are part of
national adult individual or team selection with an accredited
sports federation governing a sports competition.
- Athletes registered with an affiliate club of an accredited
sports federation, with a view to participating in official
international club competitions, such as the Europa League or the
- Athletes who are members of an accredited sports federation
that is participating in an official international competition,
provided that they obtain a joint agreement from the Luxembourg
Olympic and Sports Committee (Comité Olympique et
Sportif Luxembourgeois - COSL) or the Luxembourg
Paralympic Committee (LPC) and the Minister of Sports.
- Administrative and technical managers, in order to support
their training and allow them to perform their duties.
- Individuals who want to pursue a course of study with
the École Nationale de l'Éducation
Physique et des Sports.
- Volunteers (individuals) selected by an accredited sports federation, an affiliate club, the COSL or LPC to participate in organising international sporting events that are recognised by international sporting federations and taking place in Luxembourg.
The Law now specifies what is meant by "elite athlete" (sportif d'élite) and "managerial staff" (encadrants) and defines the concepts of "administrative manager" (cadre administratif) and "technical manager" (cadre technique).
3. Duration of sporting leave
The duration of sporting leave varies depending on the specific person eligible and the Law sets out the number of hours available to athletes, on the one hand, and clubs and federations, on the other.
Sporting leave may range from two working days (administrative managers) to 90 working days (athletes training for the Olympic or Paralympic Games). However, an eligible person is not able to take more than 40 days per year in total (except for elite athletes who are training for a specific event 3 and their technical managers).
The number of days of leave that can be granted by accredited sports federations and affiliate clubs depends on their membership numbers as of 1 January every year.
Sporting leave cannot be combined with holiday leave in case this results in a total absence that is longer than the employee's total annual leave entitlement, unless this has been agreed with the employer. Sporting leave can be divided into units of not less than four hours each. It cannot be transferred from one calendar year to another.
4. Conditions for accessing the right to leave
Civil servants, private sector employees and the self-employed are entitled to the leave. They must also meet certain eligibility criteria, which vary depending on the individual. An employee requesting sporting leave must meet, inter alia, the following conditions:
- Be affiliated with Luxembourg's social security system for
mandatory insurance for at least six continuous months ; and
- Carry out their activity as an "amateur".
It is not possible to grant sporting leave to more athletes than there are vacancies in an international competition (including substitutes).
The number of managerial staff cannot exceed:
- Five people for a maximum group of ten athletes; and
- Six people for a group of 11 or more athletes.
5. Practical information
The accredited sports federation, the affiliate club, the COSL or the LPC must submit requests for sporting leave using a specific, preset form at least one month before the date of the event for which the sporting leave is requested, unless the reason for entitlement to the leave takes place less than one month from the date of the event.
The Minister of Sports will accept or reject the request taking into account compliance with the aforementioned criteria, specify, if necessary, the duration of sporting leave in line with the maximum permitted by law, and inform the applicant and employer of this in writing before the start of the leave.
6. Rights of the employer
The employer must agree to the sporting leave and can refuse to grant it if the employee's subsequent absence would risk having major detrimental impacts on their business, the good operation of public administration or public services or to paid annual leave for other staff members.
7. Financial compensation
Self-employed individuals younger than 65 years old receive financial compensation that cannot exceed four times the social minimum wage for unskilled workers (i.e. EUR 10,032.96, index 921.40). Public and private sector employees continue to receive their remuneration and enjoy the rights granted with their role.
Employers receive financial compensation, which cannot exceed four times the social minimum wage for unskilled workers.
The financial compensation is paid in advance by the employer. The State then reimburses the employer up to the limit mentioned above for the gross amount of the employee's remuneration and the employer's portion of social contributions on presentation of a certificate provided by the accredited sports federation, the affiliate club, the COSL or the LPC, which the employer must attach to their reimbursement request.
1. The law of 21 July 2023 modifying i) the amended law of 29 November 1988 on the administrative organisation of physical education and sports; ii) the amended law of 3 August 2005 on sports; iii) the amended law of 31 July 2006 introducing the Labour Code.
2. Bill of law n°7955, submission document, page 6.
3. This includes the Olympics ("projet olympique"), the Olympic qualifiers ("projet de qualification olympique"), another future event ("projet perspective"), an elite event ("projet élite") or the Paralympics ("projet paralympique") with the COSL or LPC.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.