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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case LU-2020-11/488 – measures in Luxembourg

Possibility to refuse or cancel leave in essential sectors of activity

Possibilité de refuser ou d'annuler les congés dans les secteurs essentiels

Country Luxembourg , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 11 March 2020 – 20 August 2020
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Change of work arrangements (working time, rota schemes)
Author Patrick Thill (LISER) and Eurofound
Case created 11 April 2020 (updated 03 May 2020)

Background information

Based on COVID-19 grand-ducal legislation from March 2020, the government decided to adapt some initiatives regarding essential business activities in Luxembourg. During the current crisis situation, the government identified a series of essential business activities that are vital in order to make the country functioning smoothly. The list is stipulated by the crisis grand-ducal legislation. Under this measure, new or existing leave demands by the employee in essential services can be refused by the employer.

Content of measure

The businesses concerned can either refuse all applications for leave or cancel each leave already approved by the employer. The following list are regarded as essential activities and authorised activities:

Commercial companies that mainly sell food products; pharmacies; opticians, orthopaedists and hearing aid specialists; businesses that mainly sell animal feed; shops mainly selling hygiene products, washing and sanitary equipment; services selling fuel and petrol stations; passenger transport activities; distributors and specialist shops selling medical and healthcare equipment; medical pedicure limited to medical and non-cosmetic care; press distribution businesses; financial and insurance institutions; postal services; dry-cleaning and clothes cleaning services; funeral services; breakdown, repair, removal and decontamination services; necessary maintenance activities for safety reasons; as far as essential activities are concerned, these apply to the following activities and sectors: public services necessary for the proper functioning of the government; the health and care sector, including hospital activities and medical analysis laboratories; the production and distribution of energy and oil products; the food sector; the production and distribution of water; the collection and treatment of waste water; the removal and management of waste; public transport; transport, transhipment and freight forwarding services; systems for the exchange, payment and settlement of instruments; postal and telecommunications services; caretaker, security, cash transportation and cleaning services; essential activities related to the operation of the financial sector and the insurance and reinsurance sector.

Use of measure

No data are available on the number of employees.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Companies providing essential services
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level


Social partners were involved through their respective professional chambers during the legislation process.

Views and reactions

Not available.



Eurofound (2020), Possibility to refuse or cancel leave in essential sectors of activity, case LU-2020-11/488 (measures in Luxembourg), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.