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FAQ Coronavirus

updated on 06.04.2021 at 15h25

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 ?

 

In order to continue to support companies and their employees impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, special arrangements for short-time working remain in force until 30 june 2021. These arrangements, which apply to all businesses during this period of economic recovery, take into account that certain sectors or economic branches have been more severely impacted than others.

According to the arrangements in force, the state continues to pay the compensatory allowance of 80 % of salaries during periods of short-time working. Under certain conditions, the businesses concerned may lay off workers

For which businesses?

  • From January to April 2021

The social partners have agreed on 4 possible scenarios for businesses to benefit from the short-time working scheme for the period from January 2021 to April 2021 :

  • 1- Industrial businesses will continue to benefit from the short-time working scheme due to economic problems in order to be able to react to disruptions on international markets (e.g. supply problems). By applying the short-time working scheme due to economic problems, industrial businesses undertake not to make people redundant for economic reasons;
  • 2- Businesses in vulnerable sectors such as horeca, tourism and events benefit from an accelerated access to short-time work due to structural economic problems, with no limit on the number of employees concerned. Where there is a proven need, these businesses will be able to resort to redundancies for economic reasons up to a maximum limit of 25 % of their staff (in relation to the total workforce as at 30 June 2020) until 30 April 2021. It has been agreed between the social partners that, in the event of an improvement of the situation, businesses that have made redundancies will, in the event of subsequent recruitment of staff, have to re-employ their former employees who have been made redundant as a matter of priority. It should be noted that the common law provisions of the Labour Code concerning collective redundancies remain fully applicable;
  • 3- Businesses impacted by the health crisis other than industrial businesses or businesses in vulnerable sectors may resort to short-time working due to structural economic problems using the accelerated procedure, provided that they do not make redundancies. In this case, the number of inactive (lost) working hours may not exceed 15 % of the total number of monthly working hours of the business. The standard number of working hours may not exceed 40 hours per week and per salaried worker;
  • 4- Businesses:
    • from vulnerable sectors (horeca, tourism, events) dismissing more than 25 % of their total number of staff (headcount as of 30 June 2020);
    • from other sectors impacted by the health crisis and that proceed with making redundancies or whose total number of inactive working hours exceeds 15 % of the total number of monthly working hours of the business;
    are only allowed to do so provided that they present a recovery plan, for small businesses employing less than 15 persons; or a job protection plan in conformity with the provisions in articles L.513-1 and thereafter of the Labour Code, for businesses employing more than 15 persons.

 

  • From May to June 2021

Consequently, for the period from 1 May 2021 to 30 June 2021, the following arrangements will apply:

  • 1- Industrial firms will continue to benefit from the short-time working scheme. By applying the short-time working scheme, industrial undertakings undertake not to make workers redundant for economic reasons.
  • 2- Businesses in vulnerable sectors such as horeca, tourism and events benefit from an accelerated access to short-time work due to structural economic problems up to a maximum limit of 50% of the firm's total normal monthly working hours, provided that they do not make people redundant for reasons not inherent to the individual. Normal working hours may not exceed 40 hours per week per employee.
    In the event that firms in the above-mentioned sectors were again forced to close down by administrative decision, they would again benefit from unlimited short-time working during the period of closure.
  • 3- Businesses impacted by the health crisis other than industrial businesses or businesses in vulnerable sectors may resort to short-time working due to structural economic problems using the accelerated procedure, provided that they do not make redundancies. In this case, the number of inactive (lost) working hours may not exceed 10 % of the total number of monthly working hours of the business. The standard number of working hours may not exceed 40 hours per week and per salaried worker.
  • 4- Businesses from vulnerable sectors, industrial businesses and businesses from other sectors impacted by the health crisis :
    • which would nevertheless have to make redundancies or
    • whose lost working hours would exceed 10% of the firm's total normal monthly working hours
    are only allowed to do so provided that they present a recovery plan, for small businesses employing less than 15 persons; or a job protection plan in conformity with the provisions in articles L.513-1 and thereafter of the Labour Code, for businesses employing more than 15 persons.

 

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. Are not eligible the employees who are teleworking and the apprentices.

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 (2,141.99€).

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 ( 5,354.975€) 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.

However, the hours of short-time work used during the period from 1 January 2020 to 31 July 2020 are not counted against the maximum working time reduction of 1,022 hours.

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 : http://guichet.lu/cocp.

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.

  • 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 December for the application for short-time working in January 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 October 2020, the employer must submit the statement by 31 December 2020 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 - A new one is available as of 25 November 2020 : 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 24 May 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, particularly in view of the increase in infections over the last few weeks, it is necessary to take all measures likely to curb the spread. Thus, educational and childcare establishments, mini-crèches and parental assistants may be obliged to suspend their activities partially or entirely for a given period of time. In this context, a specific procedure (applicable up to 17 May 2021) has been put in place allowing one of the parents to benefit from the extended leave for family reasons.

  • Who is concerned ?

Are concerned, any parent (employee, self-employed, apprentice) affiliated in Luxembourg who is responsible for a child :

  • vulnerable to COVID-19 (the condition applies since 28 December and until 20 January 2021 inclusive); or
  • born before 1 September 2017 and under 13 years of age or who has not left the basic education system and cannot attend the school or education and care facility, or who benefits from distance education; or
  • born after 1 September 2016, who cannot attend a childcare facility provided that it also cares for young children; or
  • less than 13 years of age attending a school or child care facility which, for reasons related to the health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, had to be closed on individual decision or ;
  • between 13 and 18 years of age and hospitalised under a quarantine or isolation measure decided or recommended by the Health Directorate.

These limitations do not apply in the case of telework that remains work performed from home and during which the parent cannot provide care for the child.
Therefore, when one parent is teleworking, the other parent can benefit from leave for family reasons during the other parent's hours or days of telework.

Employees who are placed on short-time work are not eligible for leave for family reasons in cases applicable up to and including 17 July 2021 (vulnerability, closure of schools and child care 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; 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

 

Can teleworking be imposed as a temporary solution to the coronavirus ?

 

Can telework be imposed ?

Based on the employer’s legal obligation to ensure the safety and health of employees in all aspects related to work (Article L. 312-1 of the Labour Code), the employer could impose homeworking on its employees.

In order to introduce this new form of work, it is necessary to conclude either an amendment to the contract of employment or another bilateral agreement permitting the use of teleworking for objectively justified reasons related to precautionary measures in the fight against coronavirus. It is important to defining teleworking conditions, particularly working hours.

Telework should be offered as an alternative to your employees for a certain period of time if this working arrangement is compatible with the duties of the employee concerned.

What about the impact from 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 : Belgian, German and French authorities 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 30th of June 2021.
  • 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
    • 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 Belgian and French cross-border residents : It has been decided that, as from Saturday 14 March 2020, the presence of a worker at home, in particular to carry out teleworking, will not be taken into account in calculating the above thresholds. This measure is applicable until the 30th of June 2021.
      Concerning the German cross-border residents : It has been decided that, as from Wednesday 11 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 of 19 days. This agreement is applicable until 31st December 2020. Beyond that date it will be automatically extended from month to month until it is rescinded by one of both countries.

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 it has been introduced by an amendment to the employee’s initial employment contract in compliance with the legal provisions relating to the teleworking.

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.

 

How to cross the border ?

 

For the French residents

From 3 April at 7pm and for a period of 4 weeks, new measures to curb the epidemic are in force in France. It is compulsory to have a travel certificate to travel.

The travel certificate is compulsory during the day between 6am and 7pm for journeys beyond 10 kilometers from home and for all journeys between 7pm and 6am throughout metropolitan France.

This certificate will also be required in the event of a border control.

You can find the new travel certificates here:
https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Actualites/L-actu-du-Ministere/Attestations-de-deplacement

For the Belgian residents

From Wednesday 27 January to Monday 19 April 2021, Belgian residents can only travel abroad for an essential reason. Business travel is allowed. For this, a sworn statement that the employee can download is needed.

https://travel.info-coronavirus.be/essential-travel-sworn-statement

 

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 June 30, 2021. Beyond June 30, 2021, the rate of default interest is reduced at 0% if the payment deadlines from which certain employers and self-employed workers benefit are respected.

 

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 by the end of the first half of 2021.

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);
  • this aid is available for 5 months from November 2020 to March 2021 inclusive;
  • is non repayable.

Applications can be submitted, each month, until 15 May 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.

 

How do I get tested ?

 

The Luxembourg government invites residents and cross-border workers to participate voluntarily in the free of charge large-scale COVID-19 testing, which enters the second phase starting as of 16 September 2020.

Invitations to participate in the large-scale testing are mailed by post to residents and cross-border workers divided into representative groups.

The applicant can make an appointment online using the form provided for this purpose on MyGuichet.lu. The procedure can be completed without using a LuxTrust authentication method. However, appointments can only be made if the invitation letter with the code has been received.

You will receive an appointment confirmation by email after transmitting the request. This document must be presented in paper or electronic format at the appointment.

The person tested is informed of the result by text message (SMS).

If the result is positive, the person tested will also be contacted by the services of the Health Directorate which will provide support.

For more information :
https://guichet.public.lu/en/citoyens/sante-social/coronavirus/depistage-covid-19.html

 

Business trip abroad or return to your country of residence: make your request for a test !

 

In view of the recent evolution of COVID-19 infections in Luxembourg, some countries require either a 14-day quarantine or a negative test for any person coming from Luxembourg.

Companies whose employees have to travel professionally to one of these countries can apply for a voucher to carry out a free test : https://www.houseofentrepreneurship.lu/de/nachrichten/detail/deplacement-professionnel-vers-letranger/.

The same applies to employees of service providers (installation, repair, maintenance) coming from abroad and present on Luxembourg territory beyond the tolerance thresholds provided for in their country of residence, who are thus obliged to have a negative test to avoid quarantine.

The following information must be provided as part of the application:

  • their name,
  • their serial number,
  • an email address,
  • the date and location of the trip,
  • proof of the necessity of the trip (e.g. ticket or hotel reservations, proof of business travel by the employer, etc.).

Once the application has been accepted, the applicant will receive a unique code by email which he or she can use to make an appointment at one of the collection centres.