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FAQ Coronavirus (Covid-19)

updated on 03.30.2020 at 12h43

Content

Under what conditions can my company benefit from short-time working?
Following the school closures, can my employee benefit from family leave?
Can teleworking be imposed as a temporary solution to the coronavirus?
How to cross the border?
What aid is in place to support SME?
Regarding social contribution, what measures are taken to support businesses?
What aids are in place for very small businesses and self-employed persons ?
What about the 2019 tax return?
What about the training assistance ? (INFPC)
Which specific measures are in place for third-country nationals currently in Luxembourg
What about the placed in quarantine of one of my employees?
What about the isolation measure of one of my employee?
Is the employer allowed to exempt from work his employees?

 

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

 

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, an accelerated procedure for short-time working (chômage partiel) in the event of force majeure related to the coronavirus has been made available to all Luxembourg companies impacted by the coronavirus.

For which businesses?

The short-time working scheme in the event of force majeure applies in principle to businesses in all economic sectors where the causes invoked are directly linked to the coronavirus.

For instance, this may occur if the supplier of raw materials of the business in question can no longer supply or ensure the necessary volume of raw materials due to the coronavirus or if there is a significant drop in customer or user demand due to the coronavirus.

Regarding short-time work, the companies must comply with the following rules :

  • prior exhaustion of the company's own resources: non-renewal of fixed-term contracts that have expired, no recourse to new fixed-term contracts, exhaustion of the remaining leave (2019), no recourse to temporary employees and the introduction of temporary loans for labour;
  • prohibition of dismissals for reasons not inherent to the individual.

For which employees?

The short-time working scheme in the case of force majeure can be applied to employees 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.

Are eligible the employees on permanent and fixed-term contracts (the contracts must be in force at the time of the occurrence of the force majeure event), and the apprentices in initial and adult learning.

Good to know :

  • Employees who are teleworking are not eligible.
  • Short-time working takes precedence over the coronavirus-related leave for family reasons. An employee who should be covered by the partial unemployment scheme cannot benefit from leave for family reasons.
  • 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 worker's normal salary. 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.

Steps to take

In order to speed up and facilitate the procedure for applying for short-time working in cases of force majeure linked to the Covid-19 crisis, 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.

This application form has been designed to be as simple as possible for companies. The company, or its representative (e.g. a fiduciary), can submit the application using an online assistant available in their business eSpace in MyGuichet.lu. The person submitting the application must have a LuxTrust product (e.g. Token, Smartcard or Signing stick) or an electronic identity card. This request will have to be made every month. This application form has been designed to be as simple as possible for companies. The data collected will be processed automatically by ADEM.

Based on the information provided on line by the business, the system has identified 2 possible scenarios:

  • businesses that remain open but nevertheless suffer the negative impact of the coronavirus on their activity. Their application will be automatically transferred to the secretariat of the Economic Committee at the Ministry of the Economy;
  • businesses that have had to completely or partially stop their activities following a government decision, such as those covered by the ministerial order of 16 and 18 March 2020. These businesses are directly eligible for short-time working from the effective date of the government decision causing the total or partial closure of their business activity.

Businesses whose application is approved will receive advances based on the expected number of employees unable to carry out their normal activities. These advances enable companies to obtain the cash needed to pay the salaries of their employees.

The advance is equivalent to 80 % of the wage costs for employees on short-time working.

After the end of the month, the company must draw up a detailed statement showing the actual inactive work hours and the sums actually owed by the state. In the event that the advance was greater than the sums actually owed by the state, the company will be required to reimburse the amounts overpaid.

ATTENTION : As of 27th of March, ALL companies must use the SAME online form at the Guichet.lu. Requests by mail, e-mail or fax will no longer be accepted.

The applications received by the secretariat of the economic development committee by post, email or fax are being processed. Given the extremely large number of applications received, this processing could take until 3 April 2020. Companies whose application was incomplete and therefore cannot be processed will be contacted by ADEM.

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

 

Following the school closures, can my employee benefit from family leave?

 

The Luxembourgish Government decided to suspend all activities in all education structures from Monday 16 March to Sunday 19th April 2020. Parents will be able to exercise their leave for family reasons.

Such leave is so extended until the end of the suspension period for all school and childcare facility activities, currently scheduled for 19 April inclusive - including during the Easter holidays.

Who is concerned?

One parent who is affiliated to the Luxembourg social security scheme (including non-residents) of one or more children under 13 years old (< 13 years). The statutory age limit for the child is the day before its 13th birthday. Parents of children who are 13 or older cannot take leave for family reasons under the present arrangements.

For disabled children who are over 12 years old, the Government will soon be deciding on special measures aimed at supporting the parents concerned. These measures will be communicated as soon as possible.

How can this leave be taken?

Leave for family reasons may be taken by a parent of such a child if no other childcare options are available.

Attention : The employee on short-time working is not entitled to this extraordinary leave for family reason. Since he/she is released from all work, he/she is available to take care of a dependent child. The same applies for the employee whose the partner or spouse who is on short-time working and thus available for childcare.

Only one parent can take this special leave at any one time. A parent can interrupt and divide the leave as necessary.

This leave can be taken alternately, or divided between both parents (one parent at a time). Both parents can alternate leave according to their needs, on condition that both parents are affiliated to the Luxembourg social security scheme. Each parent must fill in a separate form.

What should the employee do?

The employee must fill in the appropriate form, sign it, and send it to both the National Health Fund (Caisse Nationale de Santé - CNS) and his/her employer.

Attention : A NEW certificate is available and valid from 30 March 2020. It must be completed and sent to the employer and the CNS even if a previous form has already been sent. https://cns.public.lu/en/formulaires/prises-en-charge/cprf-extraordinaire.html

To send the form to the CNS, it is possible to :

  • Print the document, sign it by hand, scan the form or take a photo and send it by email to cns-crf@secu.lu, or ;
  • Print the document, sign it by hand, and send it by post (CNS - Indemnités pécuniaires, L-2980 Luxembourg), or ;
  • Sign the form electronically with a LuxTrust smartcard, and send it by email.

Once the form is filled in, the employee must inform his/her employer, either verbally or in writing, about the exact dates on which the employees took this leave for family reason due to coronavirus.It is not necessary to indicate a start and end date on the form.

The duly completed form has the same value as a medical certificate within the meaning of Articles L.234-53 and L.234-54 of the Labour Code as far as the employer and the CNS are concerned.

What should the employer do ?

The employer have to inform Securex about the exact dates on which the employees took this leave for family reason due to coronavirus. Securex will then forward this information through the monthly declarations of incapacity.

Such as for the leave for family reason in the event of the illness of a child, the salaries are paid by the employer, who will be reimbursed all related salary costs with 2-months delay by the Employers' Mutual Insurance Scheme (MDE).

However, with a view to reducing the time limit for reimbursement of family leave, a letter was sent (by post) to employers by the CCSS in order to request an advance on reimbursement from the Employers' Mutual Fund. This advance may be transferred directly on the company's bank account. To obtain this advance, the employer must make an online request via an access code indicated on the CCSS letter. It is therefore imperative to retrieve this letter if you wish to proceed with this request. The advance will be liquidated in mid-April 2020.

For more information : https://guichet.public.lu/en/actualites/2020/mars/13-conge-raisons-familiales-covid-19.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.

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 Belgian and French cross-border residents : Belgian 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.
  • 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 further notice.

What about work accident when the employee work at home ?

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

It is important to defining teleworking conditions, particularly working hours.

In occasional teleworking, the AAA requires a written agreement between the parties and checks the exact conditions of the accident.

Moreover, for each case of teleworking by a frontier worker, the employer have to inform the Common Social Security Centre (CSSC) and request the Form A1.

 

How to cross the border ?

 

For the French residents

To make it easier for cross-border workers from France to enter Luxembourg during possible border controls, the Luxembourg government has issued a certificate to prove the employment relationship with the employee. This certificate serves as proof of the necessity to cross the border between France and Luxembourg in the context of COVID19 and must be presented at border crossings if necessary.

In addition, the French government decided the confinement from Tuesday March 17 for a period of at least fifteen days. Travels between home and the work place remain authorized when they are essential for carrying out activities that cannot be organized in the form of telework. When traveling, French residents must carry with them a derogatory travel certificate and a proof of professional travel when they go to work.

In the event of a border check, French border workers going to work in Luxembourg will have to be able to present these 3 documents to the Luxembourg authorities.

For the Belgian residents

In order to facilitate the entry of cross-border workers into Luxembourg during border controls, the Luxembourg government has issued a certificate attesting to the employment relationship with the employee.

This certificate serves as proof of the need to cross the border between Belgium and Luxembourg under the COVID19 situation. Thus, on presentation of this certificate, frontier workers residing in Belgium will be exempt from the restrictions on border crossings between Belgium and Luxembourg. https://guichet.public.lu/en/actualites/2020/mars/17-certificat-frontalier-belge.html

For the German residents

In the context of the current COVID-19 crisis, the German Federal Police carry out checks at the borders with Luxembourg.

Cross-border workers are still allowed to enter and leave the country on condition that they carry a commuter certificate and move between their place of residence and their place of work. Proof of the necessity to cross the border can be requested at any time.

The German Federal Police have drawn up a uniform certificate for commuters which can be placed behind the windscreen in a clearly visible position.

https://gouvernement.lu/dam-assets/documents/actualites/2020/03-mars/Zertifikat-Berufspendler-Nachweis-Notwendigkeit-Grenzuebertritt.pdf

 

What aid is in place to support SME ?

 

The Minister of the Middle Classes, Minister of Tourism, Lex Delles, and the Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, presented at a press conference on March 11 a draft law that introduces an aid scheme intented to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who find themselves in temporary financial difficulty following the repercussions of an exceptional and unforeseeable event of national or international scope.

The granting of aid is subject to three conditions, namely:

  • that an event has been recognized as having a harmful impact on the economic activity of certain companies during a given period,
  • the company is experiencing temporary financial difficulties,
  • and that there is a causal link between these difficulties and the event in question.

For example, acts of terrorism, volcano eruptions or epidemics like the coronavirus may fall under the definition of an exceptional event.

 

Regarding social contribution, what measures are taken to support businesses ?

 

The Joint Social Security Centre (CCSS) and the Minister of Social Security, Romain Schneider, have taken a series of measures to support companies and the self-employed by offering them greater flexibility in their management of the payment of social security contributions.

The following temporary measures will enter into force from 1 April 2020:

  • Suspension of the calculation of default interest for late payments;
  • Suspension of the procedure for the forced collection of contributions;
  • Suspension of the enforcement of constraints by bailiffs;
  • Suspension of the fines to be pronounced against employers who are late with regard to the declarations to be made to the CCSS.

These measures will remain in place until the board of management of the CCSS deems that there is no longer a reason for them to be applicable. They will enable employers, in light of the Covid-19 crisis who find themselves in a precarious financial situation, to better manage payment of social security contributions in the weeks to come without having to worry about administrative sanctions.

While it is evident that all social contributions remain due, employers can nevertheless better organise their treasury in combination with other econonic measures introduced in the Covid-19 crisis.

The CCSS implicitly grants a deadline for the payment of the social contributions, however no formal request is to be introduced for the moment by the contributor.

 

What aids are in place for very small businesses and self-employed persons ?

 

In the context of the Covid-19 crisis, the General Directorate for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises has set up an emergency fund which, under certain conditions, is intended for:

  • very small businesses: 9 employees at the most;
  • self-employed workers.

This is an immediate and non-refundable financial aid of EUR 5,000.

For more information : https://guichet.public.lu/en/entreprises/financement-aides/coronavirus/fonds-urgence-petites-entreprises-independants.html

 

What about the 2019 tax return ?

 

As part of the implementation of the measures decided by the Government in order to guarantee the continuity of the Luxembourg economy in the current context, it has been decided to postpone the deadline for the submission of tax returns to 30 June 2020. This decision applies to both legal entities and natural persons. The deadline for submitting, revoking or amending an individual tax return is extended to the same date.

 

What about the training assistance ? (INFPC)

 

As a result of the measures taken to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the deadline for the submission of the application for co-financing in 2019 has been extended by 2 months, i.e. to 31 July 2020 at the latest.

 

Which specific measures are in place for third-country nationals currently in Luxembourg

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs hereby informs that, in order to avoid any undermining of the rights conferred on third-country nationals by the residence document they hold, the residence of third-country nationals holding one of the following documents, which would expire on 1 March 2020, shall remain valid for the duration of the state of crisis:

  • short- and long-stay visas;
  • temporary authorisations to stay;
  • residence cards;
  • residence permits.

Similarly, the residence of third-country nationals not subject to the visa requirement whose stay has just exceeded 90 days is legal for the duration of the state of crisis. It should be stressed that the above measures are automatic and that the persons concerned need not take any particular steps or submit any particular application.

 

What about the placed in quarantine of one of my employees ?

 

What is the placed in quarantine ?

This is a containment measure for a person who is in good health, but who has had proven close contact with a sick and contagious person.

During this period, the person cannot move freely and will have to stay at home or in a quarantine centre. This measure is intended to stop the spread of the virus and thus safeguard public health. This measure aimed at preserving public health is decided by the Health Inspectorate and its maximum duration is 14 days as regards the coronavirus.

What are the impacts for the employer ?

If one of your employees is placed in quarantine, he or she may benefit from a work stoppage that is equivalent to a sickness certificate and which is recognized by the sickness insurance fund.

Please note that if the quarantine is decided by a health authority of another European country, the work stoppage established by this country is recognised by Luxembourg. The employer will therefore obtain a reimbursement from the CCSS [social security office].

The employee will be also protected against dismissal.

 

What about the isolation measure of one of my employee ?

 

What is an isolation measure ?

The isolation measure is confinement of a sick and contagious person, decided by the doctor in charge of caring for the patient. The isolation measure can also be decided by the Health Inspectorate if the patient refuses for example the isolation or the therapeutic care. The duration of the isolation measure depends on the infectious periods of the illness. The isolation is usually done in a hospital, but can also be done at home.

What are the impacts for the employer ?

During the illness period, the patient is entitled to time off work, which is equivalent to a sickness certificate issued by the attending physician. The employee will continue to be paid normally and the employer will therefore obtain a reimbursement from the Employers' Mutual Insurance Fund.

 

Is the employer allowed to exempt from work his employees ?

 

The employer is authorized to ask one of his employees to stay at home and not to come to work if he or she returns from a risk area, even if there are no symptoms. In this case, the resulting absence will be qualified as an exemption from work and cannot be charged to your employee's annual recreational leave. This absence will therefore be qualified as justified. The employer will therefore be required to pay his employee during this period. Employers are advised to inform the employee of this exemption in writing.