The next social elections will be held on 12th March 2024. We would like to take this opportunity to remind you about the rules concerning this ballot, which is subject to a long and rigorous procedure. Luxembourg-based undertakings with at least 15 employees must hold staff delegate elections, complying with strict deadlines and communication requirements set by the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines, as well as informing their employees. If you are going to organise a ballot in 2024, whether for the first time or not, it is recommended to get prepared and start now.
The social elections are scheduled every five years by the Minister of Labour, with the aim of employees electing the members of the staff delegation in their undertaking. This election, organised by the employer, will take place this year on 12th March 2024.
If these elections are to be organised in several weeks from now, careful planning is required. We can only advise you to devote the necessary time right now in order to ensure that these elections run as smoothly as possible, especially for undertakings that have never organised such elections before.
Do all undertakings have to elect staff delegates ?
Staff delegates are mandatory for all private and public sector undertakings employing at least 15 employees under an employment contract during the 12 months preceding the first day of the month in which the election announcement is displayed in the workplace. The employer has a responsibility to organise and run the elections for the appointment of staff delegates, in order to ensure that a single delegation is formed for the entire staff and through a single ballot.
It can appoint an employee or an organisational team in the company specifically to organise and run these elections.
In concrete terms, what is the purpose of a staff delegation in an undertaking ?
The main purpose of the staff delegation is to represent and defend the interests of the undertaking's employees in terms of working conditions, social status, health and employment security.
In addition, the staff delegation is responsible for issues relating to the life of the undertaking and has a role of mediator between the employees and the employer.
For undertakings with more than 150 employees, the staff delegation is also involved in certain undertaking decisions.
A few points to help your organization :
- The first step will take place on 1st February 2024 : this is the first day of the month of the official announcement of the elections. The number of employees in the undertaking needs to be determined in order to work out the number of delegates to be elected and the electoral system to be applied.
The following are included in the headcount calculation: heads of undertakings and managers/directors if they are themselves employees of the undertaking (that is to say in a subordinate relationship); full-time employees; part-time employees if their weekly working time is 16 hours or more; employees on fixed-term contracts; temporary employees in proportion to the time they have worked in the undertaking during the 12 months preceding the first day of the month on which the notice announcing the election is displayed.
However, temporary employees and employees on fixed-term contracts who are replacing an absent employee or whose employment contract has been suspended do not count towards the 15-employee requirement, nor do apprentices, pupils, students and trainees. The number of staff delegates to be elected will be determined on the basis of the number of employees thus calculated.
Finally, it is important to note that for undertakings with a workforce between 15 and 99 employees, staff delegates will be elected according to the relative majority voting system, and for undertakings with at least 100 employees, according to the proportional voting system.
- The second step will take place at least one month before the date of the social elections : the head of the undertaking will have to display an official notice announcing the organisation of the social elections. This notice must specify the date, place, and time of the ballot, the number of delegates to be elected, the electoral conditions, the voting method, and the number of employees considered for the company’s headcount. This date will also be the deadline for requesting ministerial authorisation for postal voting for employees absent the day of the election. This step marks the start of the electoral procedure and will be marked by a large number of communications and procedures to be carried out, at fixed intervals, on the dedicated Internet platform of the Labour and Mines Inspectorate. The elections must be organised in such a way that every employee has the opportunity to go to the polling station during working hours, without loss of remuneration.
- The third step takes place three weeks before election day : this is the deadline for displaying the electoral lists (alphabetical lists of eligible employees and electors).
- The fourth step takes place 15 days before the start of the elections : this is the deadline for the submission of candidatures for the elections.
- The fifth step concerns the display of candidatures within the undertaking : 3 days before the ballot. At the same time, the ballot papers must be prepared and the electoral office constituted.
The voting day and the obligations to be respected :
Each elector has the same number of votes, as there are delegates and substitutes to be elected.
When the election is conducted according to the relative majority system (the number of employees in the undertaking is between 15 and 99), the voter may only assign one vote to each candidate until the total number of votes available to him has been reached.
In an election based on the proportional representation system (where the undertaking has at least 100 employees), the elector may assign a maximum of two votes to each candidate until the total number of votes available to him has been reached.
A few tips to prepare for these social elections :
- Drawing up a plan of approach and a budget : plan now for the necessary funds in your budget for 2024, since the employer will bear the costs associated with the employee delegate elections. It is also important to consider the right questions: how many employees will be working on the project, whether a postal vote is envisaged, etc.
- Take the opportunity at the start of the new year to update your internal regulations, to ensure that the new employee representatives in March 2024 start with all their documents updated.
- Calculating the Headcount is an important step : the period for establishing the headcount is from 1st February 2023 to 31st January 2024, a 12-month period during which the number of employees must be at least 15. The number of employees obtained will contribute to determining the number of delegates to be elected and the electoral system to be used.
- The electoral procedure begins in February 2024, so make sure that your organisational team is well trained and informed of what is required of them.
If you don't have enough resources or skills to successfully carry out these social elections, don't hesitate to call in additional members of staff.
You will find more information on the organisation and procedure for the forthcoming social elections for the period 2024-2029 on the website of the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines, which published an instruction handbook on 30th November 2023.
Our labour law team is at your disposal for any advice and/or assistance you may require.