What is the purpose of development cooperation leave?

The purpose of development cooperation leave is to enable members of approved non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to participate in development programs and projects to help people in developing countries, both for missions in Luxembourg and abroad.

Who is eligible for development cooperation leave?

Experts and representatives of NGOs (except employees of such an organisation) who are engaged in another professional activity, whether salaried or self-employed in Luxembourg, may obtain development cooperation leave, provided that they meet certain specific conditions:

  • be of legal age;
  • be a national of a Member State of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development;
  • be called upon to provide services to the population of a developing country as part of a development program or project;
  • collaborate in the implementation of a development program or project for the benefit of the populations of developing countries, whose implementation is the responsibility of an approved non-governmental organisation;
  • have the necessary training, skills and preparation to perform their duties.

If the person concerned is a salaried employee, he or she must have been employed by the same employer for at least one year in order to be eligible for development cooperation leave.

Which type of missions are eligible for development cooperation leave?

The following types of missions may be considered for granting of leave:

  • travel relating to the identification, formulation, implementation, monitoring, control and evaluation of cooperation programs or projects to assist the populations of developing countries;
  • the administrative and financial management of a cooperation program or project aimed at the populations of developing countries, the implementation of which is the responsibility of an NGO;
  • meetings of experts and NGO representatives in the framework of international organisations;
  • exchanges organised in the framework of programs or projects in the field of development cooperation;
  • any kind of meeting relating to development cooperation to which a Luxembourg representative is delegated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for development cooperation.

What process should be followed to obtain development cooperation leave?

Development cooperation leave must be requested by the person concerned by sending a form to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at least two months before the start of the leave requested.

If applicants are salaried employees, they send the completed application to their employer, who then completes the part of the form reserved for them and signs it.

The employer may reject the application if the employee’s absence is likely to be detrimental to the smooth running of the company or to disrupt annual leave for all the company’s staff.

The applicant then sends the duly completed and signed form, in triplicate, to the Development Cooperation Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at least two months before the start of the leave.

The decision by which the Minister of Foreign Affairs grants or refuses to grant leave shall be notified to the applicant within one month of the application.

The request, together with the Minister’s decision, shall be submitted by the persons concerned, and if applicable to their employer, at least 15 days before the leave is to begin.

How long is development cooperation leave?

Development cooperation leave may not exceed six days per year. This leave may be split.

Is development cooperation leave considered as actual working time?

The period a person is on development cooperation leave shall be treated as a period of actual work. During the period of leave, the legal and regulatory provisions on social security and labour law shall continue to apply to beneficiaries.

Experts and representatives of NGOs working in the private sector are entitled to a compensation allowance equal to the average daily wage paid by the employer, but not exceeding four times the minimum social wage (see Social parameters). The employer advances this allowance, which will be reimbursed by the State.

Upon receipt of a certificate from the competent NGO certifying the employee’s actual participation in the activity for which the leave was granted, the employer may request reimbursement by sending a reimbursement statement to the Development Cooperation Directorate.

The declaration shall be drafted on a sheet of paper and shall be accompanied by the following documents

  • the certificate of participation in the event provided by the competent NGO;
  •  the payslip for the corresponding period.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reimburses the employer for the amount of the compensatory allowance, as well as the employer’s share of social security contributions.

Experts and NGO representatives employed in the public sector shall continue to receive their remuneration and benefits during the period of leave.