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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 20 February 2014

Labour law: Commission refers Luxembourg to Court over protection of fixed-term staff

The European Commission has decided to refer Luxembourg to the EU's Court of Justice for breaching its obligations under the Fixed-Term Work Directive (1999/70/EC) to effectively protect certain fixed-term workers.

In particular, Luxembourg has failed to respect the requirements of the Directive as regards:

  • The explicit exclusion from national legislation of certain staff in the entertainment sector from protection against abusive renewals of fixed-term employment contracts.

  • Insufficient provisions in national legislation to ensure that fixed-term staff are informed when an employer makes permanent vacancies available.The relevant rules in Luxembourg provide only for indirect communication, namely that the works council is informed. Nothing in the Luxembourg national rules ensures that the information is actually made available to the fixed-term staff in question. This problem is particularly acute in small undertakings, where no works council exists.

The Commission became aware of these problems following an assessment of the implementation of Directive 1999/70/EC. The Commission sent a 'reasoned opinion' to Luxembourg under EU infringement procedures in April 2013 (MEMO/13/375) but Luxembourg failed to inform the Commission of measures taken to ensure compliance.


The Fixed-Term Work Directive requires Member States to ensure that all types of fixed-term staff are protected against the abuse of successive fixed-term employment contracts. However, Member States have some discretion about how to protect employees against abusive practices and can choose to introduce between one or more of the following measures:

(a) objective reasons justifying the renewal of such contracts or relationships

(b) the maximum total duration of successive fixed-term employment contracts or relationships

(c) the number of renewals of such contracts or relationships.

For more information

Fixed-Term Work Directive

More information on infringement procedures

On the general infringement procedure: MEMO/12/12

On the February infringement package decisions: MEMO/14/116

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