Termination of a company practice (“usage d’entreprise”) in Luxembourg
According to the Luxembourgish employment law, a company practice (“usage d’entreprise”) is a practice that is habitually followed within a company that takes the form of a benefit for employees or a group of employees, in addition to what they are entitled to according to the law, a collective agreement or an employment contract.
The recognition of a “usage” implies a general, consistent, fixed practice. This practice may be introduced on the employer’s initiative, or be the result of the employer’s tacit acceptance of the practice in question.
In a ruling on 13 November 2015, drawing on a (stand-alone) decision of the Court of Appeal in 2012 (Court of Appeal, 10 May 2012 role no. 37069) the Employment Tribunal of Esch-sur-Alzette reiterated that to bring an end to a “usage”, the employer cannot just stop applying it: the employer must explicitly terminate it.
This means that employees must be informed of this termination sufficiently in advance. With this in mind, the Tribunal found that
“the sufficiency of the notice must be accepted by the judge. This means that the termination will only take effect at the end of a notice period, details of which must be included with the information about the termination given to the employees”.
The Tribunal then clarified that
“this termination is binding on the employees, who cannot claim to see this as a change to their employment contract, as the benefits involved are not included in that contract” and concluded by saying that “when the termination comes into effect, no benefit acquired can continue”.
In other words, to bring a “usage” to an end, the employer must terminate it by informing the employees, explaining that the termination will only come into effect after a certain period that must not be too short.
Employment Tribunal of Esch-sur-Alzette, 13 November 2015, n°2669/2015