You will find below information on the measures decided by the government in relation to the exceptional situation generated by the COVID-19.
Adjustment of the extraordinary leave for family reasons
As part of the Government’s measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the authorities have designed a new form (available since March 30, 2020) for parents who must take care of their child/children under the age of 13, and/or having accomplished 18 years for child/children with disabilities, by taking the “extraordinary leave for family reasons”.
However, this alternative must be taken only if there is no other option available to ensure the child care. Indeed, if one of the two parents is not working, the other parent cannot benefit from the leave. In principle, it is not possible anymore, since March 30, 2020, for one of the parents to take the extraordinary leave for family reasons if the other parent (or member of the household) is in a short-time working scheme as stated under articles L. 511-1 and following of the Labor Code.
The two parents (or partners) cannot take the extraordinary leave for family reasons at the same time.
When both parents are teleworking, such restrictions do not apply. A parent who is teleworking cannot ensure the child care, thus it is possible to alternate the leave between the parents.
If a first form had already been submitted, the applicants must make a request again on Guichet.lu using a new form from Monday 30 March 2020.
The extraordinary leave put in place in the context of the COVID-19 crisis is time-limited, and will not impact the usual family leave balance. It has been extended until the end of the suspension of childcare facilities and schools activity, currently expected for May 3, 2020 included.
Sending of the form
Considering the exceptional context, it is possible to send the form electronically: it must be printed, signed manually, scanned or photographed, and sent by email to the following address: email@example.com
Important: do not forget to mention the 13-digit national identification number in the subject of the email.
The sending by post is still possible: in this case the form must be printed, signed manually and sent to the following address: CNS Indemnités pécuniaires L-2980 Luxembourg.
Creation of the leave for family support
To support employees in the private sector and self-employed workers who must take care of an adult dependent person with whom they live (elderly dependent person or disabled adult), and to offset the closure (due to the crisis situation) of the authorised body taking care of the person in normal times, the leave for family support has been implemented with retroactive effect from March 18, 2020. Its duration cannot exceed the duration of the crisis, and depends on the resumption of activities, or part of the activities of the authorised body.
The employee wishing to benefit from this leave must request a certificate via a form that can be downloaded on the website of the Ministry of Families, Integration and the Greater Region, or on Guichet.lu This certificate must be sent without delay to the employer and the CNS.
The employee cannot benefit from the leave if himself or another member of the household falls under the short-time working scheme during the period for which the leave is requested, or if another option is available for the care. In addition, the leave cannot be taken at the same time by the members of a household, but it can be split between them.
Changed conditions for granting short-time working
in the event of force majeure linked to the COVID-19 crisis
Considering the current exceptional situation and the consequences on companies and employees lives, the conditions to apply for and benefit from short-time working have been adjusted.
In order to accelerate and simplify the procedure to apply for short-time working in the event of force majeure linked to the COVID-19 crisis, a new automated system implemented by ADEM (Agence pour le Développement de l’Emploi) enables companies to submit their short-time working form online on Guichet.lu website.
Applications must be submitted at the latest the 12th of the concerned month.
The companies submitting the application must use a secured authentication (e.g.: Luxtrust, Token) or an electronic ID card.
The data collected will be examined by ADEM in an automated way.
Important: from Friday March 27, 2020, the applicants must mandatorily use the form available on Guichet.lu to submit their application (all requests via post, email or fax will no longer be accepted).
However, applications will be reviewed in two possible ways:
- If the company remains open, but has to slow down its activity, then the application for short-time working will be reviewed by the Comité de Conjoncture (Minister of Economy) before being processed by ADEM ;
- If the company has to close, then the application will be reviewed directly by ADEM.
Reimbursement of the inactive work hours under short-time working scheme:
It is now possible to request, at the same time as the request for short-time working, an advance on the reimbursement of salary costs.
- The amount of the advance corresponds to 80% of wages, with a maximum of 250% of the unqualified minimum social wage, i.e. EUR 5.354,98 gross;
- The amount of the advance cannot be lower than the non-qualified minimum social wage, i.e. EUR 2.141,99 gross;
- The reimbursement request must be done online via a new form that should be available in the coming days on ADEM’s website.
Furthermore, the company must make a declaration of claim, within 2 months after the end of the month concerned.
- The company must provide a detailed breakdown of the inactive work hours and the indemnity advanced by the employer for each employee. ADEM will use this data to calculate the amounts actually due. If the advance received is higher than the amounts actually due, the company must reimburse the overpayment.
- The request must be made online via a reimbursement form which should be available in the coming days on ADEM’s website.
Extraordinary increase of the working time
The length of working time permitted has been exceptionally increased to a maximum of 12 hours per day during the COVID-19 crisis (10 hours per day in normal times) and 60 hours per week (48 hours in normal times).
The request mainly concerns the health care sector, but the 14 categories of sectors that must ensure the vitality of the country can also use this measure (by reference to Article 3 Paragraph (2) of the Grand-Ducal Regulation of March 18, 2020 introducing of a series of measures in the fight against COVID-19).
Among these categories are the commercial brands which mainly sell basic necessities, opticians, orthopaedist and hearing care professionals, laundry and dry-cleaning services, funeral services, breakdown, repair, moving and depollution activities, maintenance activities necessary for safety reasons.
Hence, any recourse to overtime must be subject to a detailed and justified request, and obtain the approval of the staff delegation. In case of reluctance, the Minister of Labour will concert with the unions.
Each healthcare professional having a self-employed status can benefit from a fixed-term contract as a State employee during the crisis. Exceptionally, students will be able to get fixed-term contracts of 40 hours per week (15 hours in normal times).
New tax rules for cross-border employees
The authorities have decided that the limit of teleworking days for employees working in Luxembourg and living in France, Belgium or Germany will not apply during the COVID-19 crisis.
- France – Luxembourg: from March 14, 2020 and until further notice, the days worked from home will not be considered in the count of the 29 days. The specific conditions of application will be mentioned later.
- Belgium – Luxembourg: from March 14, 2020 and until further notice, the days worked from home will not be considered in the count of the 24 days.
- Germany – Luxembourg: from March 11, 2020 and until further notice, the days worked from home will not be considered in the count of the 19 days. These measures should be legally formalised in the coming days.
Measures initiated by the CCSS
regarding the payment of social security contributions
The CCSS (Centre Commun de la Sécurité Sociale) has initiated a series of temporary measures that are applicable since April 1, 2020, and aim at facilitating the organisation of the social security contributions payment from companies and self-employed workers.
However, all social security contributions remain due.
These measures, that will be applicable until further notice, include:
- The suspension of the calculation of default interests for late payments;
- The suspension of the initiation of procedure for the forced collection of contributions;
- The suspension of the enforcement of constraints by a bailiff;
- The suspension of fines to be pronounced against employers having delays in making declarations to the CCSS.
Deadline to submit income tax returns postponed
Finally, another measure concerns the postponement of the deadline to submit the income tax returns of 2019. Indeed, the deadline is extended to June 30, 2020.
For more information about these exceptional measures due to COVID-19 and how Grant Thornton can help, please contact our experts at the following email address: HRpayroll@lu.gt.com.