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FAQ Coronavirus

updated on 22.09.2021 at 16.36

Content

 

I. Short-time working

II. Impacts on the employment relationship

III. Measures to support businesses

IV. The exit strategy

 

I. Short-time working

 

Under what conditions can my company benefit from short-time working ?

 

As of 1 July 2021, access to short-time working will be defined in accordance with the legal provisions set out in the Labour Code, Book V, Title I: "Preventing redundancies and maintaining employment".

There are now 4 ways to access short-time working :

  • Short-time working due to cyclical economic difficulties : it is intended to support companies in industries which are part of an economic sector or branch in crisis and are experiencing cyclical economic difficulties.
  • Short-time working due to economic dependance : it is aimed at businesses facing economic difficulties following the loss of one or more of their main customers or due to difficulties encountered by their customers.
    In addition to the application to be submitted via MyGuichet.Lu, the company must, before the 12th of the current month, send an e-mail to the Economic Committee (chp-ld-cf@eco.etat.lu) explaining and documenting its dependency.
  • Short-time working in the event of force majeure : it can be applied in exceptional circumstances to businesses who encounter economic difficulties following the occurrence of an event beyond their control and which prevents the continuation of their normal economic activity.
    In addition to the application to be submitted via MyGuichet.Lu, the company must, before the 12th of the current month, send an e-mail to the Economic Committee (chp-ld-cf@eco.etat.lu) explaining and documenting its dependency.
  • Short-time working due to structural economic difficulties : it is intended to support businesses that are experiencing difficulties of a structural nature and/or are forced to lay off staff for economic reasons but wish to qualify for short-time working benefits.
    In order to benefit from it, companies must draw up an employment maintenance plan or a recovery plan. It should be noted that this may be a plan negotiated at sectoral level.

For which employees?

The short-time working scheme may apply to employees (on permanent and fixed-term contracts) who are not covered by a certificate of incapacity for work and who can no longer be employed at all or can no longer be employed on a full-time basis when the company can no longer ensure the normal operation of its business.

Employee on short-time working continue to acquire statutory leave during the period of short-time working.

Amount of aid

For inactive hours, the employer pays to the employee a compensatory allowance corresponding to 80% of the normal worker's reference wage and capped at 250% of the minimum social minimum wage for unskilled employees. . This compensation may not be less than the amount of the social minimum wage for unskilled workers (2,201.93 €).

In the event of an agreement, the Employment Fund (Fonds pour l’emploi) reimburses the employer the compensatory allowance (80 % of the salaries normally received) paid for the inactive hours up to a maximum of 250 % of the minimum wage for an unskilled worker ( 5,504.825€) and up to a maximum of 1.022 hours per employee and per year. Any difference between the compensatory allowance and the minimum wage for an unskilled worker will be assumed by the Employment Fund.

In the event that short-time working would be refused to the company, the employer is required to pay fully the employees at 100%. The same applies to the foreign companies without a physical address in Luxembourg

Steps to take

  • The initial application for short-time working

In order to speed up and facilitate the procedure for applying for short-time working, ADEM, has set up a new automated system that enables companies to submit their short-time working applications via an online form, at the Guichet.lu.

Regardless of the type of short-time working you are claiming, you will need to submit an online application on the MyGuichet.lu platform as in previous months. The form is identical to the 4 types of short-time working.

Before submitting an application via MyGuichet.lu, the employer is required to confirm, by means of the declaration provided for this purpose for businesses with or without staff delegation, that the employees respectively the staff delegation and, where applicable, the trade union organisations (in the event of a collective agreement) have been informed of the application for short-time working.

Businesses must renew their application each month.

For more information :
https://guichet.public.lu/en/entreprises/sauvegarde-cessation-activite/sauvegarde-emploi/chomage-partiel-technique/chomage-partiel-apd-1-juillet-2021.html

  • Normally, which is the deadline to submit the application for short-time working ?

Applications for short-time working must be sent at the latest on the 12th day of the month preceding the period of short-time working requested (for example, at the latest on 12 June for the application for short-time working in July 2021).

Applications cannot be submitted outside these dates. Short-time work benefits can never be granted retroactively.

  • The detailed statement

After the end of the month in which short-time working occurs, businesses must complete an online procedure on MyGuichet.lu so that ADEM can draw up a statement. The declarant also has the possibility of downloading an XML list before starting the procedure on MyGuichet.lu.

In practice, for each month of short-time working, the employer or their representative receives an email/mail from ADEM inviting them to fill in the online form.

On this form, only the names and national identification numbers of the employees concerned will need to be filled in. ADEM will receive the other necessary data from the Joint Social Security Centre (CCSS).

The employer has a period of 2 months to submit the statement. After this period, he is no longer entitled to compensation. Example: for the application for short-time working in July 2021, the employer must submit the statement by 30 September 2021 at the latest.

Who to contact

Ministry of the Economy – Economic Committee
Hotline “short-time working”, from Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm : 8002 9191

National Employment Agency (ADEM)
Contact Center for employers, from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 11.30 am and from 1 pm to 5pm : (+352) 247-88000
FAQ ADEM : https://adem.public.lu/en/support/faq/faq-chomage-partiel.htm

 

Public holiday and short-time working : How does it work ?

 

If a public holiday falls during the period of short-time work, this day can be compensated under certain conditions:

  • Companies that can no longer operate due to a government decision and in which all employees are on short-time working:
    • The public holiday is compensated for short-time work at a minimum rate of 80%. Thus, the employer will pay his employee 80% of his gross hourly wage and will be reimbursed 80% by the Employment Fund.
  • Enterprises that continue to work and in which some of the employees have been placed on short-time working:
    • Employees who are on short-time working on the day before as well as the day after the public holiday are entitled to short-time working compensation for the public holiday. The employer will pay the employee at least 80% of his/her gross hourly wage and will be reimbursed 80% by the Employment Fund.
    • For employees who do not meet the above criteria, the employer must pay them 100% for the public holiday.

 

II. Impacts on the employment relationship

 

What is the family support leave ?

 

Is concerned anyone wanting to request "leave for family support" to enable them to look after a disabled adult or an elderly person following the closure of a day-care structure or a training or employment structure.

Leave for family support may be taken by an employee in the private sector or a self-employed person if there is no other way of caring for the disabled adult or elderly person.

The following conditions must be met:

  • the approved structure that would normally take care of the disabled adult or elderly person must have notified the Minister that it has ceased all or part of its activities in the context of the state of crisis;
  • the private-sector employee or self-employed person must look after the disabled adult or elderly person in the home where they both live;

If necessary, where several people live in the same home as the adult disabled or elderly person, they may alternate taking leave for family support. In this case, each person wishing to take the leave must submit a duly completed form.

The leave may be divided among the members of a household, but they may not take the leave at the same time.

The person who needs to take leave for family support must inform his/her employer as quickly as possible, either verbally or in writing. Then, he/she must fill in a specific form: https://guichet.public.lu/dam-assets/catalogue-formulaires/coronavirus/certificat-conge-soutien-familial/demande-certificat-conge-soutien-familial-fr.pdf

Employees, self-employed workers must apply to the Minister to certify the need for leave for family support.

The duly signed form should be sent to the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region

  • by email to soutien.familial@fm.etat.lu (a good quality scan or photo of the signed original or a PDF with a LuxTrust digital signature), or
  • by post (no registered mail): 12-14 Avenue Emile Reuter, L - 2420 Luxembourg.

This measure has been extended until 25 November 2021. It should be noted that the leave for family support shall end if the approved care structure notifies the Minister that it has resumed all or part of its activities and that there is a place available in the approved service for the person concerned.

For more information :
https://guichet.public.lu/en/citoyens/travail-emploi/conges-jours-feries/situation-personnelle/covid-certificat-conge-soutien-familial.html

 

What is the family leave in the event of the Covid-19 pandemic ?

 

As part of the measures implemented in schools and childcare facilities to combat the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (COVID-19), a child may have to be placed in quarantine or isolation by order or recommendation of the Health Directorate, respectively the competent authority.

In order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, and depending on the evolution of the number of infections, it is necessary to take all measures likely to curb the spread. Therefore schools and childcare facilities (education and care services for young or schooled children, mini-crèches and childminders) may be obliged to suspend their activities, partially or entirely, for a given period of time. In this context, a specific procedure has been put in place allowing one of the parents to benefit from the extended leave for family reasons. These provisions apply until 18 October 2021 inclusive.

  • Who is concerned ?

Are concerned, any parent (employee, self-employed, apprentice) affiliated in Luxembourg who is responsible for a child of less than 13 years of age (until 18 years of age in the case of a hospitalisation) to benefit from this extended leave in case of:

  • quarantine or isolation of a child on the order or recommendation of the Health Directorate;
  • the child's vulnerability to COVID-19 and the contraindication of attending school or a childcare facility;
  • partial or total suspension of activities in schools and childcare facilities.
  • How to proceed ?

A parent who needs to take leave for family reasons must inform their employer as quickly as possible, either verbally or in writing, and indicate the start and end date of said leave.

The parent must then fill in the NEW form for leave for family reasons in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, sign it, and send it to both the National Health Fund (Caisse nationale de santé - CNS) and their employer, together with:

  • the required supporting documents issued by the Health Directorate in the context of a quarantine or isolation measure for a child; or
  • a medical certificate attesting to the child's vulnerability and the contraindication of attending school or a childcare facility; or
  • a certificate issued by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth.

For children residing abroad but whose parents are affiliated to the social security in Luxembourg, it is the competent authority in the country in question which recommends or takes the decision to place the child in quarantine or isolation. It must then draw up a certificate or attestation of this decision or recommendation. As in the case of educational establishments and structures located abroad, it is for the competent national authority of the competent country to issue an official document.

The employee must then send the form and the required documents to the CNS by post or by email.

  • Duration of and conditions for granting leave

Days taken as leave for family reasons because a child is quarantined or isolated or because of the suspension of activities are not deducted from the legal days of leave available per age group, the length of which depends on the age of the child.

The leave for family reasons can be split, i.e. it can be taken in hours or half-days.

Both parents cannot take leave for family reasons at the same time (same day/hour).

For more information :
https://guichet.public.lu/en/citoyens/travail-emploi/conges-jours-feries/situation-personnelle/covid-conge-quarantaine-isolement-enfant.html

 

What rules for teleworking ?

 

How does telework impact the cross-border commuters ?

It should be noted, however, that telework is likely to trigger certain effects in terms of :

  • Social security affiliation : take into account during the current year the limit of 25% of the total work time in the residence country as mentioned in Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004.
    Concerning the cross-border employees : The authorities of the border countries have decided that the periods of telework performed on their territory by frontier workers due to coronavirus will not be taken into account for the determination of the applicable social security legislation. This measure is applicable until :
    • 15th of November for the French residents
    • 31st of December 2021 for the Belgian and German residents
  • Taxation : take into account the tolerance threshold laid down by the tax treaty applicable between Luxembourg and the neighbouring country concerned in case of cross-border employees:
    • Threshold of 24 days in Belgium - (extended to 34 days as of 2022)
    • Threshold of 19 days in Germany
    • Threshold of 29 days in France
      These limitations do not constitute a prohibition to work in the country of residence. In principle, they may be exceeded but cross-border employee will be taxed in his country of residence for all days of telework performed.
      Concerning the cross-border residents : It has been decided that, as from March 2020, the working days during which these cross-border workers are teleworking during the Covid-19 pandemic, will not be taken into account in calculating the above threshold.
      This measure is applicable until 31st December 2021 concerning the German, Belgian and French cross-border residents.

What about work accident when the employee work at home ?

Work accident is define as an "Accident occurring at or in connection with work".

Usually, teleworking is covered by AAA (Accident Insurance Association) provided that the provisions of the collective agreement about teleworking are respected.

However, during this crisis period, in case of accident at home, it is sufficient for the employer to confirm that the employee was authorized to work at home. The AAA will check the exact circumstances of the accident.

Please note that it is no longer necessary to request A1 certificates for teleworking in the context of the COVID19 pandemic. An exceptional arrangement has been made with foreign authorities.

 

What about the protection against dismissal ?

 

During the state of crisis, the 26-week period of protection against dismissal in the event of incapacity for work was suspended. In principle, this period was to be resumes its course the day after the end of the state of emergency.

However, the article L. 121-6 of the Labour Code indicate that an employee whose illness began between 18 March and 24 June 2020 is protected against termination (except for gross misconduct) as long as he delivers, during the post-emergency period, medical certificates on time to the employer.

The text of the law therefore makes an exception here. The employee concerned will therefore be protected for a maximum of 78 weeks in accordance with article L.125-4 2) of the Labour Code, which provides for the automatic termination of the employment contract after expiry of the employee's rights to statutory sick pay.

However, the employer must continue to be vigilant because the computation of the 78 weeks had also been suspended during the state of emergency. Therefore, periods of illness between 18 March and 24 June 2020 are not taken into account.

The employer is therefore confronted with the following situations depending on the starting date of the sickness period:

  • The employee's sick leave began before the state of emergency or between 18 March and 24 June 2020 = the employee benefits from a protection against termination for a maximum duration of 78 weeks.
  • The employee's sick leave began on 25 June 2020 or later hence = the employee benefits from a 26 weeks’ protection against termination.

 

 

III. Measures to support businesses

 

Regarding payment of social contributions, what measures are taken ?

 

Although social contributions remain due and are billed monthly, the CCSS will not receive default interest in the event of late payment of contributions until December 31, 2021. .

 

Aid to compensate for the increase of the social minimum wage

 

This compensation aid for the increase of the social minimum wage is intended to support businesses active in sectors that are the most severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and for which this new burden, resulting from the increase of the social minimum wage since 1 January 2021, is more difficult to overcome due to their financial situation

The aid is only aimed at businesses that carry out certain activities and that are active in the following sectors, more particularly:

  • businesses in the tourism sector;
  • businesses in the events sector;
  • the HORECA sector;
  • businesses in the culture and entertainment sector;
  • companies operating a retail trade in shops and similar businesses.

The amount of aid is calculated by multiplying by EUR 500 the number of employees concerned who are in employment during a period of one month between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2021.

The aid is calculated on the basis of the company's employees:

  • whose monthly pay is greater than or equal to the social minimum wage and less than or equal to the social minimum wage for skilled workers;
  • who were hired before 31 December 2020;
  • who are in employment during a monthly period between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2021;
  • who are assigned to an eligible activity.

The aid takes the form of a one-off capital subsidy and tax-exempt.

ATTENTION :

It should be noted that companies only have to submit one single application for this aid.

Moreover, employees on short-time working are excluded from the calculations for the amount of aid.

So, in order to maximize the aid that will be granted, you should wait until the end of June before applying for aid and choose the month, from January to June 2021, in which you have the fewest employees on short-time working.

Applications for aid must be submitted via MyGuichet.lu by 30 September 2021 at the latest. This time limit, therefore makes it possible to analyze after the above-mentioned period, which month is the most beneficial for your company in order to maximize the aid.

For more information
https://guichet.public.lu/en/entreprises/financement-aides/coronavirus/compensation-augmentation-ssm.html

 

How to receive a repayable advance to remedy temporary financial difficulties ?

 

Large, medium-sized and small companies as well as the liberal professions can apply for aid in the form of a repayable advance from the Ministry of the Economy.

The aid can be up to 50% of costs (staff costs and rent) for the period from 15 March to 15 September 2020.

The application can be made directly online using MyGuichet.lu.

Repayment of the aid will be made according to a repayment plan that must be agreed on between the business and the Ministry of the Economy one year after the granting of the aid at the earliest.

More information is available : https://guichet.public.lu/en/entreprises/financement-aides/coronavirus/aides-difficultes-financieres-temporaires.html

 

New aid for costs not covered

 

As part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, a new monthly financial aid for costs not covered has now been made available:

It is for businesses operating:

  • in sectors hard hit by the health crisis (Horeca, tourism, events, culture, entertainment and continuing vocational training institutes); and
  • for which the economic recovery after the first confinement was almost non-existent but which nevertheless continue to have a structure with high costs.

This aid:

  • can be applied for from the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (Department for Support to SMEs);
  • thisaid is available for the months between November 2020 and June 2021 inclusive.
  • is non repayable.

Applications can be submitted, each month, until 15 September 2021 inclusive via MyGuichet.lu.

For more information :

https://guichet.public.lu/en/entreprises/financement-aides/coronavirus/demande-aide-couts-non-couverts.html

 

IV. The exit strategy

 

What are the employer’s obligations regarding health and safety at work ?

 

New obligations and rights are in force both for employers authorised to resume their activity and for their employees.

Thus, as far as employers are concerned, they must in particular:

  • limit, if necessary, the number of employees exposed or likely to be exposed to risks;
  • inform and train their employees on the possible risks and the precautions to be taken;
  • post signs indicating the risks and the preventive measures taken;
  • arrange workstations and other premises or workplaces;
  • provide employees with individual and collective protective equipment and products (mask, hydroalcoholic gel, appropriate protective clothing, soap, disposable towels, etc.);
  • ensure that their employees:
    • respect the social distance (2 meters between people) and, if this is not possible;
    • wear a mask or any other device to cover the nose and mouth, etc.

Employees must:

  • use the protective equipment and clothing made available to them correctly;
  • report immediately to the employer and/or to the safety officers and to the safety and health representatives any serious and immediate danger to safety and health

 

Is wearing a mask, as an additional precautionary measure, mandatory for employees ?

 

"Protective mask" is compulsory if it is not possible to keep a distance of at least two meters from another individual. In public transport, this obligation is systematic, regardless of the distance from other users. However, wearing a surgical mask as such is not mandatory. It is enough to protect your nose and mouth with something, a cloth mask, or even simply with a scarf.