Article 24 of the CLA Banks 2021-2023 states that “each employee is entitled to a minimum of 5 days social leave per year. Companies are free to increase this minimum threshold. The modalities of this social leave are to be defined within each company between the Staff Delegation and the employer before 31 December 2021”. The Staff Delegation and the Management of NOMURA Bank Luxembourg have started discussions in order to define the modalities of the social leave in September 2021.

Seeing the divergence of views and the bank’s denial of the social leave, the Staff Delegation turned to ALEBA in order to unblock the situation and to assert the employees’ rights. In response to ALEBA’s request, a joint committee was held on 12 May 2022 at the ABBL headquarters between the trade unions and representatives of the bank employers in order to reach an agreement on the application of social leave at the Japanese bank NOMURA.

The social leave, following a European directive of 20 June 2019 and presented on 19 May by the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Family under the name of caregiver leave, is granted to accompany a sick relative and must be motivated by a medical certificate informing the link with the person concerned and the justification of their presence. This is different from family leave or leave to care for a dying person and, of course, from annual recreation leave.

The management of NOMURA Luxembourg does not see the need for social leave, believing that the Grand Duchy offers enough days off. They also object to the employer paying for it and insist that social leave days cannot be split up. Overtime and the possible carry-over of the 5 days of leave that can be used until 31 March would also have to be used in full before being eligible for social leave.

The Japanese bank relies on the fact that this notion has not yet been officially transposed into Luxembourg national law to consider social leave as a declinable directive, whereas a large number of banks in the market offer up to ten days of social leave!

Legally speaking, the fact that it is intended to provide assistance to a close relative of the employee invoking it prevents any confusion with legal leave, which is considered to be leisure time for the employee and not leave imposed by serious personal difficulties: the employee requesting a few days of social leave will never do so willingly, nor for comfort.

The trade unions maintain that employees must not be subjected to such arbitrary decisions, which are incompatible with Luxembourg regulations and the European trend.

In order to take advantage of this, the Delegation was ready to make concessions and reduce its demands. But while the Delegation is making concessions, NOMURA is sticking to its guns. As a result, the Delegation has refused to sign the management’s proposal imposing leave at the expense of the employee, which is far too far removed from the spirit of the European directive.

Therefore, the unions call for the social responsibility of the employer and refute the legal ambiguity on which NOMURA relies: Luxembourg tends to align itself with the legislation in force in the three neighbouring countries and with the European directives, and there is therefore no doubt that the decision of the Japanese bank is part of a marginal trend.

The right to paid social leave as enshrined in the CLA Banks 2021-2023 is a general obligation and must also be introduced at Nomura Bank. In the event that no compromise is reached, the unions will continue to support the Staff Delegation in this necessary struggle to ensure that employees’ rights are respected.


Communicated by ALEBA and the OGBL Financial Sector on 2 June 2022.