What are young workers?

All persons under the age of 18 who:

  • have an employment contract (subject to national or foreign legislation) and are working in Luxembourg;
  • are in a training programme (work practice);
  • are in an apprenticeship programme;
  • are young unemployed persons working under a work placement measure, an employment support contract (Contrat d’appui-emploi – CAE) or an employment initiation contract (Contrat d’initiation à l’emploi – CIE ), or;
  • has the status of pupils or students working during the school holidays.

In some specific cases, the age limit of 18 is raised to 21, but not regarding working time.

What is meant by working time for young workers?

Any period during which the young person is at work, at the disposal of his employer and in the exercise of his activities or duties, in accordance with the legislation on working time.

This working time does not include rest periods during which the young person is not at the employer’s disposal, unless the work is carried out in a continuous day (working almost without interruption for 8 hours including a reduced lunch break of a minimum of 30-45 minutes).

Where a young person is employed by several employers, the different working hours are added together.

Employers must allow young people to take time off work to attend compulsory vocational education. The hours spent at school, as well as the time spent on training in the company, are counted as working hours and give the right to remuneration.

If the company has a work organisation plan, a chapter shall deal with the work of adolescents.

What are the limits to working time applicable to young workers?

In principle, young workers should not spend more than eight hours per day and 40 hours per week at work.

What are the young worker's rest periods?


Young workers shall have a paid or unpaid rest period of at least 30 consecutive minutes after working for four hours.

Where young people are engaged in production work and are incorporated into a work team consisting of adult and young workers, they are entitled to the same break time as adult workers. Breaks are only counted as actual work if the work is done in a continuous day.

The daily working hours may be interspersed with only one period of paid or unpaid rest time.

Daily rest

For each 24-hour period, young workers shall have an uninterrupted daily rest period of not less than 12 consecutive hours.

Weekly rest

During each seven-day period, adolescents must have a regular rest period of two consecutive days, in principle including Sunday.

Where justified by objective technical or organisational reasons, this rest period may be reduced to a maximum of 44 consecutive hours.


The Minister of Labour may grant written exemptions from the daily and weekly rest periods of young people for work performed as part of official vocational training organised and supervised by the competent public authorities, to include:

  • in hospitals, clinics, institutions for the care and custody of the elderly or dependent persons, children’s homes and establishments active in the field of child care or education and similar establishments;
  • in the socio-educational field;
  • in the hotel and catering sector;
  • in the armed forces.

However, such exemptions may only be granted if justified by objective reasons and on condition that appropriate compensatory rest is granted to adolescents shortly after work periods. This period may not extend beyond 12 days.

In such cases, the ministerial authorisation sets out the duration of the compensatory rest and the period within which it must be taken.

Furthermore, exemptions must not endanger the safety, health, physical, psychological, mental, spiritual, moral and social development of adolescents and must not prejudice their attendance at school, their participation in vocational guidance or training programmes approved and supervised by the competent authorities, or their ability to benefit from the instruction received.

In all cases, uninterrupted daily rest shall not be less than ten consecutive hours. Uninterrupted weekly rest period shall not be less than 36 consecutive hours.

Can young workers work overtime?

In principle, young workers are prohibited from working overtime, except in certain exceptional cases, as follows:

  • in “force majeure” events;
  • where the existence or the security of a company requires their labour;
  • However, only to the extent necessary to avoid exposing a company to a serious impediment to its normal operations.

The work for which young workers are required to work overtime shall not be of a permanent type, nor shall it be subject to any delay. Under no circumstances may overtime be used for teaching or training, or for in-company activities as part of their training, including work-study.

Furthermore, the employer may only have young workers work overtime if no adult is available. All safety and protective measures related to young peoples’ work shall be complied with.

The Inspectorate of Labour and Mines must be informed without delay, indicating the reasons that the young workers are needed to work such overtime.

In this case, young workers shall be entitled to a rest period identical to the time worked on an overtime basis. The period during which the compensatory rest must take place is set by the Minister of Labour, based on a recommendation of the Director of ITM. This period may not exceed 12 days from the day on which the overtime was performed.

Young employees and apprentices are entitled to a supplement to their pay equal to 100% of their hourly rates in addition to the rest periods they have been accorded.

Can young workers work at night?

Young workers cannot work at night.

For young workers, the term “night” means a period of at least 12 consecutive hours, which shall include the period between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

For companies and services working in a continuous cycle, however, young workers are allowed to work until 10:00 p.m.

The Minister of Labour may grant written exemptions from the prohibition of night work for work performed as part of official vocational training organised and supervised by the competent public authorities:

  • in the field of the health professions;
  • in the socio-educational field;
  • in the hotel and catering sector, for young workers working under an apprenticeship contract. Night work is limited to 10:00 p.m. in the evening;
  • in the armed forces;
  • in the bakery-pastry sector.

In all cases, night work between midnight and 4:00 a.m. is prohibited.

In applying for an exemption, the employer must indicate the name of an adult person supervising the young worker.

The Minister will only grant exemptions if there are objective reasons for doing so and on condition that a young worker is given appropriate rest within a short period, no later than after 12 days of night work.

Furthermore, any exemptions cannot endanger:

  • the health and safety of young workers;
  • the participation of young workers in vocational training.

Prior to any assignment to night work, and at regular intervals thereafter, young workers must undergo a free assessment of their health and abilities carried out by the competent occupational health services.

Can young workers work on Sundays or legal holidays?

In principle, young workers may not work either on Sundays or on legal holidays.

However, in force majeure events or where the existence or the security of a company requires their labour, an employer can cause young people to work on a legal holiday, but only to the extent necessary to avoid exposing a company to a serious impediment to its normal operations, and if they are legitimately unable to secure adult workers for these purposes.

The company Director must immediately inform the Labour Inspectorate of such labour, indicating the reason(s) for this work on Sunday or on a holiday.

In addition, the Labour Minister can extend authorisation for holiday work by young people employed in hotels, restaurants, cafés, eating establishments, clinics, health and care facilities for the elderly and/or dependent persons, children reception centres and institutions working in the education and childcare sectors. The Minister’s decision shall specify the period such authorisation shall be valid.

Young workers must, however, be exempted from working every second Sunday, with the exception of the months of July and August in the hotel and catering sector, when this limitation does not apply.

For young workers, work on a Sunday or a public holiday is paid with a supplement of 100%.

Furthermore, a full rest day shall be awarded for legal holiday work within the 12 days immediately following the legal holiday in question.

Can the working hours of young workers be made flexible?

As part of a WOP or a flexitime system, the working time of young workers may be spread over a maximum reference period of four weeks if the collective agreement so provides, or, failing that, with the written authorisation of the Minister of Labour.

The reference period, if any, shall not apply to hours spent on education or training, or to activities in companies that form part of their training, in particular via a sandwich course or with a view to increasing the number of hours that can be devoted to such work.

Moreover, a reference period may be introduced for young people only in exceptional cases and where justified by objective reasons.

However, the maximum actual working time may in no case exceed nine hours per day, nor may it exceed the normal maximum working time applicable in the company by more than 10%, or the maximum figure of 44 hours per week.

Average weekly working time calculated over the reference period of four weeks may not exceed either 40 hours or the normal maximum weekly working time set by agreement.

In the case of part-time work, the maximum effective daily and weekly working time may not exceed the daily and weekly working time laid down in the employment contract by more than 10%.