Coronavirus – Information and recommendations for Businesses

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HOTLINE SHORT-TIME WORK: 8002 9191

BUSINESSES - OPERATION

What are the restrictions on movement for the general public from 18 March 2020 onwards?

Movement on the public roads by individuals is prohibited, except when undertaking he following activities:

  • buying food, pharmaceutical products, and items of absolutely necessity,
  • buying agricultural or forestry products, and products for viticulture,
  • travelling to a health centre,
  • travelling to the workplace to carry out professional or commercial activities,
  • assisting and providing care for the elderly, minors, or dependent, disabled, and particularly vulnerable people,
  • travelling to ensure the right of access and accommodation as well as shared custody of children,
  • in relation with the essential needs of pets,
  • travelling to social security administrations in an emergency,
  • travelling to a bank or insurance company, or to postal services in an emergency,
  • because of force majeure or necessity,

Outdoor leisure activities (walking, jogging) are only allowed alone or together with people with whom you live. Gatherings are prohibited.

The national police will enforce and monitor these rules; fines are applicable in case of non-compliance.

What are the essential activities that must be maintained from 18 March 2020 onwards?

Activities essential to protecting the vital interests of the population and the country must be maintained. These include the following sectors and activities:

  • public services necessary for the proper functioning of the State and public authorities,
  • the production and distribution of energy and oil products;
  • the health sector, including hospital activities and medical analysis laboratories;
  • the food sector;
  • water distribution;
  • collection and processing of waste water;
  • removal and management of waste;
  • public transport;
  • postal and telecom services;
  • surveillance, security, cash transport and cleaning services
  • those activities essential to the functioning of the financial, insurance and reinsurance sector;
  • systems for currency exchange, payments, and the settlement of financial transactions.
Can a manager of a company carrying out those essential activities turn down holiday requests from employees?

 Yes, those companies turn down requests from employees to take holiday during the state of crisis period.

Which professional occupations are requested to cease their activities from 18 March 2020 onwards?

All commercial activities (including shops in shopping malls) and in the service and craft sector (including driving schools, beauty salons, hairdressers) normally accessible to the public remain closed.

Are construction sites closed?

Yes, construction sites are closed as of 20 March 2020, 17:00h. This restriction does not apply to construction sites for hospitals or in relation to critical infrastructure, in case of need.

Are home construction works and other works at home allowed?

No, all handcraft activities from skilled professionnals out of their workshop are prohibited as of 20 March 2020, 17:00h.

Exceptions are possible only for breakdown and troubleshooting services, for repair works, for moving services and for decontamination. Safety relevant maintenance services are allowed. It is also possible to deliver appliances ordered by phone or online (washing machine or fridge for example).

Is it possible to move houses?

Yes, in case of necessity, for example if the lease ends, it is possible to move. Required travel for such a move are authorized.

The move can be made:

  • by a specialized moving company,
  • privately by people living together, without any gatherings.

 

Which professional activities are being maintained from 20 March 2020 onwards?

In light of the overriding public health demands, and more specifically while ensuring a proper distance between the customer and the professional providing the service, the closure of professional activities does not include:

  • shops mainly selling foodstuff,
  • dispensing chemists,
  • opticians,
  • orthopaedists and audioprosthesists,
  • shops mainly selling animal feed,
  • telecommunication service shops,
  • shops mainly selling hygiene and washing products and health equipment,
  • fuel sale services and petrol stations,
  • passenger transport,
  • distributors and specialist shops selling medical and health equipment,
  • medical pedicure (limited to medical treatments, no cosmetic treatments),
  • newsagents,
  • postal services
  • financial and insurance institutions,
  • dry-cleaners and services for cleaning clothes,
  • funeral services,
  • the sale of products other than food using a drive-in system or delivery,
  • the sale of products other than food between professionals (BtoB),
  • breakdown and troubleshooting services, repair works, moving services and decontamination services,
  • safety relevant maintenance services.
Are medical, veterinary and physiotherapy practices open?

Activities of independent medical, veterinary and physiotherapy practices, as well as of other health professions are strictly limited to severe and/or urgent health cases.

What measures apply concerning establishments open to the public, particularly in the hotel and catering sector, as from 18 March 2020 onwards?

All activities of a cultural, social, festive, sporting and recreational nature are suspended. Playgrounds are closed.

All establishments in the cultural, recreational, sporting, hotel and catering sectors are to remain closed (museums, bars, restaurants, cinemas, cafés, discotheques, libraries, swimming pools, sport facilities, etc.).

The ban does not cover take-out, drive-in and home delivery services.

Hotels may remain open. Bars and restaurants in hotels, except for room service and take-out, are to remain closed. People living in furnished rooms rented by café owners can still benefit from room service.

 

The national police will enforce and monitor these rules; fines are applicable in case of non-compliance.

What measures has the government taken to maintain good governance of companies?

These measures with immediate effect allow the governing bodies of any company or legal entity to hold their meetings, in particular meetings of shareholders and boards of directors, without requiring the physical presence of their members.

The effective participation of these members and the exercise of their rights is guaranteed through the use of:

  • distance voting; or
  • written circular resolutions; or
  • videoconferencing; or
  • any other means of telecommunication.

These measures also concern public institutions, public interest groups and not-for-profit associations (ASBL).

Furthermore, regarding the holding of annual general meetings, companies, ASBLs, public establishments and other legal persons may, despite any provision to the contrary in the articles of association, convene them on a date that falls within a period:

  • 6 months after the end of their fiscal year; or
  • in a period up to 30 June 2020.
What do the authorities recommend regarding trips abroad?

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs advises against all non-essential travels to other countries.

Luxembourgish nationals and residents currently outside of Luxembourg who wish to come back to the country will have to contact their travel agency, tour operator or airline.

 

IMPACT ON THE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP WITH EMPLOYEES

Which employees are vulnerable and should be protected in particular?

Anyone over 65 years of age and anyone already suffering from one of the conditions listed below has a higher risk of developing serious complications. These conditions are:

  • diabetes;
  • cardio-vascular conditions;
  • chronic disorders of the respiratory tract;
  • cancer;
  • lowered immunity caused by illness or treatment.

The following general recommendations apply in such cases:

  • do your shopping when the shops are not busy, if possible;
  • postpone unnecessary travel;
  • avoid large-scale events and places bringing together a large number of people in a confined space (cinema, concert hall, sports venue) where it is not possible to maintain a distance of 1 to 2 metres;
  • avoid public transport as much as possible.
Is it OK for employees who are vulnerable to work?

Yes, employees who are considered vulnerable may work, but their employers are required to provide extra protection in the workplace for them, for example by separating them from their co-workers, or suggesting that they work from home.  It is recommended that employers invite vulnerable employees to make their employer aware so that a solution can be jointly found to provide the best protection for the health of those employees.

If the referring doctor considers that the vulnerable person should not work any more, he needs to issue a sick-leave certificate for the employee.

What to do when an employee falls ill?

For details relating to treatment in general, diagnostic tests, isolation and quarantine, please refer to the information and recommendations issued to the public

Can an employee refuse to show up at work out of worry or fear of COVID-19?

No.

Can an employer deny access to an employee because of the coronavirus?

If the employer has a justified concern that its employees would risk infection, he may take such measures.

Can an employer oblige its employees to take their annual leave or unpaid leave, or use any time accumulated out of concern for the coronavirus spreading within the company?

 

No. If an employer makes the decision to oblige its employees to stay at home as a precautionary measure, it must specifically waive their obligation to perform their work, and continue to pay their salaries.

How to manage the relationship with domestic help in private households?

Cleaning services are activities that remain authorised.

Household staff who do not have a medical certificate cannot refuse to come to work out of concern for COVID-19. They will have to take leave if they prefer not to go to work.

If a family member of the household staff is infected with the coronavirus, it is possible to invoke the employer's legal obligation to protect the health and safety of their employee. In this case, the employee may be exempted from work and will continue to receive their salary.

If an employer wishes, as a simple precautionary measure, to exempt their cleaning staff from work, the employer will have to continue to pay them their salary. An employer cannot force their employee to take time off work.

It is also not possible for the employer to claim any right to short-time work. This provision is reserved for businesses only.

An FAQ section on this topic can be found on guichet.lu

Cleaning services are activities that remain authorised.

Household staff who do not have a medical certificate cannot refuse to come to work for fear of COVID-19. They will have to take leave if they prefer not to go to work.

If a family member of the household staff is infected with the coronavirus, it is possible to invoke the employer's legal obligation to protect the health and safety of their employee. In this case, the employee may be exempted from work and will continue to receive their salary.

If an employer wishes, as a simple precautionary measure, to exempt their cleaning staff from work, the employer will have to continue to pay them their salary. An employer cannot force their employee to take time off work.

It is also not possible for the employer to assert any right to short-time work. This provision is reserved for businesses only.
Can teleworking be imposed as a preventive measure for employees whose work allows it?

Yes, on the basis of the employer's statutory obligation to ensure the health and safety of its employees (Article L. 312-1 of the Labour Code). To be able to introduce this new form of working in a company, it is necessary to conclude either an amendment to the employment contract or another type of bilateral agreement allowing teleworking for reasons duly justified by taking precautionary measures in the context of curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Can an employee ask his/her employer to allow him/her to work from home out of fear of the coronavirus?

Yes, but the employer theoretically has no obligation to comply with the request.

However, since employers are required to encourage their employees to work from home, requests will only be refused due to operational requirements.

What is the simplified procedure for registration and application for unemployment benefits when workers lose their job due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Workers who lose their job due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are requested to complete the online form made available on ADEM's website: https://adem.public.lu/en/support/inscription.html.

ADEM's employment counsellors will then contact the jobseekers by phone or email to finalise their registration.

The data mentioned on the online form will also be used to check whether the conditions for obtaining unemployment benefits are met. ADEM employment counsellors will contact the jobseekers concerned by telephone in order to prepare the application for unemployment benefits.

It is therefore not necessary to go to an ADEM agency in person to register or to apply for unemployment benefits.

How does the JobSwitch platform for temporary loans of labour work?

This text is currently being translated, please refer to the French Q&A or to jobswitch.lu

What about third-country nationals currently in Luxembourg with a residence document that is expiring?

The residence document of third-country nationals holding one of the following documents, expiring on 1 March 2020, shall remain valid for the duration of the state of crisis, without need to make any request:

  • 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 valid for the duration of the state of crisis.

As regards applications for international protection, the application certificates for international protection, i.e. the "pink papers", which are about to expire, are extended for the same period.

The above measures are automatic there is no need to submit an application and no new document will be issued.

The counters of the Directorate of Immigration will stay closed until further notice. For duly justified emergencies, a meeting can be arranged upon request explaining the reason for rhe emergency and addressed to immigration.public@mae.etat.lu.

SPECIAL LEAVE FOR FAMILY REASONS

What are the general principles governing extraordinary leave for family reasons?

In the context of the measures adopted by the Government to contain the spread of the coronavirus, a special leave for family reasons has been set up for those parents who have to look after their child(ren) under 13 years of age, and have no other possible option for childcare.   

The parents may alternate their special leave for family reasons, one parent at a time. It is not possible for both parents to take this special leave for family reasons at the same time. This family leave is not cumulative with short-time work.

This special leave for family reasons in the context of the COVID-19 crisis has no impact on the number of days of normal leave for family reasons parents are usually entitled to.

As from 30 March 2020 a new form for the family leave in the context of COVID-19 needs to be introduced. Further information, a Q&A section as well as the form to request the special leave for family reasons are available on guichet.lu.

CROSS-BORDER EMPLOYEES

What has changed concerning the taxation of telework of French, German or Belgian resident cross-border workers?

This text is currently under translation, please refer to the French Q&A

Why do cross-border workers have to prove the necessity to commute between Germany and Luxembourg?

In the context of the measures adopted by the Government to contain the spread of the coronavirus, a special leave for family reasons has been set up for those parents who have to look after their child(ren) under 13 years of age, and have no other possible option for childcare.   

The parents may alternate their special leave for family reasons, one parent at a time. It is not possible for both parents to take this special leave for family reasons at the same time.

This special leave for family reasons in the context of the COVID-19 crisis has no impact on the number of days of normal leave for family reasons parents are usually entitled to.

Further information, a Q&A section as well as the form to request the special leave for family reasons are available on guichet.lu.

What documents do commuters need to cross the border between Luxembourg and France exempted from restrictions ?

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.

The certificate attesting the employment relationship with the employee must be completed and signed by the employer. This certificate serves as proof of the necessity to cross the border between France and Luxembourg in the context of COVID-19.

As a result, upon presentation of this certificate, along with:

all cross-border workers residing in France will be exempted from restrictions on border crossings between France and Luxembourg.

Which certificate does a cross-border worker from Belgium need to make it easier for him to enter Luxembourg?

In order to make it easier for cross-border workers to enter Luxembourg during border controls, the Luxembourg government has issued a certificate to prove the employment relationship of the employer with the employee.

This certificate serves as proof of the need to cross the border between Belgium and Luxembourg under the COVID-19 situation. Upon presentation of the paper, cross-border workers residing in Belgium will thereby be exempted from border crossing restrictions between Belgium and Luxembourg.

This document is available on gouvernement.lu.

How can cross-border employees working in the health and care sectors temporarily live in Luxembourg free of charge?

The Government proposes providing temporary free accommodation in hotels, holiday accommodation, etc., subject to certain conditions, for employees in the health and care sectors who live in Germany, Belgium, and the 'Grand Est' region of France.

Which cross-border workers are eligible?
  • Anyone working in the hospital sector in the Grand Duchy, regardless of job description and type of work, who lives in Germany, Belgium or the 'Grand Est' region of France;
  • any health professional working in the hospital sector, who lives in Luxembourg, in a household where a vulnrable perosn at risk also lives,
  • any health professional working in the field of care for the elderly or the disabled, or for a network of assistance and care in the Grand Duchy, who lives in German, Belgium, or the 'Grand Est' region of France.

The partner and dependent children of eligible people can also take advantage of the offer.

Who handles bookings?

The Ministry of the Economy's General Directorate for Tourism in conjunction with the Luxembourg Convention Bureau (LCB) is setting up the accommodation service.

How do I apply for accommodation?

The employer (hospital, care structure, retirement home, etc.) checks the eligibility of its employees according to the conditions set out below. Each employer designates a reference person and fills in a form (model attached) for the whole team, giving the names of those eligible, and the length of their stay. The document must be sent to the Luxembourg Convention Bureau at covid19@lcb.lu. The Luxembourg Convention Bureau then decides where the people will be accommodated, according to where they work, and the availability of accommodation.

Who pays?

The cost is invoiced to the Luxembourg State. The people provided with accommodation will not be required to pay in advance and will not be invoiced for the following services:

  • accommodation in a hotel, an apartment hotel, or holiday accommodation;
  • full board, according to the offer made by the host and previously approved by the central booking office.
Is a cross-border employee placed in quarantine by the national authorities of his/her country of residence protected from dismissal for unjustified absence?

Yes. Cross-border employees resident in France, Belgium or Germany who have been placed in quarantine in their country of residence will receive a medical certificate from their relevant national body attesting their inability to work; this has the same protective value as a certificate drawn up by the relevant body in the Grand Duchy. The certificate is called an "avis d'interruption de travail" in France, a "certificat d'incapacité de travail" in Belgium, and an "Arbeitsunfähigkeitsbescheinigung" in Germany.

Will this attestation be accepted by Luxembourg National Health Fund (CNS), and by the employer?

Yes.

Can cross-border employees ask their employer to allow them to work from home out of fear of the coronavirus?

 

Yes, but the employer has no obligation to comply with the request.

 

However, since employers are required to encourage their employees to work from home, requests will only be refused as a result of operational requirements.

 

 

Can a cross-border employee refuse to show up at work simply for fear of the coronavirus?

No.

SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES

What support measures for companies exist in the context of the COVID-19 crisis?

The government has set up a stabilization plan for the economy. The measures and target groups of those measures are exposed in this document.

All measures and the related procedures will be explained on guichet.lu:

How does the support measure of a reimbursable advance of the ministry of the Economy for companies and self-employed people work with financial difficulties?

This text is currently under translation; please refer to the French Q&A or to the article on guichet.lu.

 

How does the 5,000 euro direct aid for very small businesses and self-employed persons work?

In the context of the Covid-19 crisis, the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises from the ministry of the Economy has set up an emergency fund for very small companies and self-employed persons.

Businesses with 9 employees at the most and self-employed persons who have a valid business permit and have had to stop their activity due to a government decision in the context of the COVID-19 crisis can apply for an immediate and non-refundable financial aid of 5,000 euro.

The granting of this aid is independent of other existing and future aid instruments.

The criteria, procedure and form for this aid are available on guichet.lu.

Is there a specific support for start-ups impacted by the Covid-19 crisis?

Financial aid for young innovative enterprises strengthened

In order to support young innovative businesses during the period of crisis caused by Covid-19/Coronavirus, the Ministry of Economy has decided to increase the maximum co-financing rate from 50 % to at least 70 % for any financial aid for young innovative enterprises granted. This temporary support measure will remain in force at least until 31 December 2020. Details regarding the financial aid for young innovative enterprises are available on guichet.lu

Call for projects “StartupsVsCovid19”

In order to support the Luxembourg start-up ecosystem, the Ministry of the Economy, in collaboration with Luxinnovation, will launch a call for projects entitled “StartupsVsCovid19” on 9 April 2020.

Targeting young innovative enterprises, the call for projects focuses on the development of technology-based innovative products and services intended to limit, or even overcome, the economic, health and societal effects of the crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Up to 20 projects will be selected, each of which will benefit from a financial support of up to €150,000. Selected projects should be developed and put on the market within a period of 6 months.

Project proposals should be submitted on 30 April 2020 at the latest. More information on the call for projects and the conditions for participation will shortly be available on https://www.startupluxembourg.com/startups-vs-covid19.

Webinars to provide information on aid measures applicable for start-ups

Webinars will also be organised from 8 April onwards by the Ministry of the Economy, in collaboration with Luxinnovation, in order to inform about the main support measures that start-ups can benefit from in the context of the economic stabilisation programme presented by the government.

The experts participating in the webinars will answer questions that young innovative enterprises ask themselves in the current economic context. Information regarding the agenda and registration process for the different webinars is available on https://www.startupluxembourg.com/webinars.

Table with relevant aid measures for start-ups

In order to make the most relevant aid measures for start-ups easier to understand, a table presenting the main instruments can be viewed and downloaded on https://www.startupluxembourg.com/support-measures-startups.

What tax measures support businesses and self-employed people?

As long as they are experiencing liquidity problems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, legal and natural persons who make a commercial profit, an agricultural and forestry profit or a profit resulting from the exercise of a liberal profession may apply for:

  • a cancellation of their quarterly income tax advances (corporate tax) and of the communal business tax for the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2020 (template "annulation avances") - the request should be made online;
  • a payment deadline for income tax (corporate tax), communal business tax and wealth tax (template "délai de payemement") - the request should be made online.

Requests for cancellation of advances and payment deadlines are automatically accepted by the administration, requests should be made online

In addition, the deadline for submitting tax returns has been extended to 30 June 2020. This decision applies to legal and natural persons, as well as to taxpayers wishing to request, modify or revoke the selection of their individual tax scheme.

An FAQ on the subject has also been set up on the website of the Luxembourg Inland Revenue

The measures of the Tax administration only apply for legal and natural persons that have paid quarterly advance tax payments for the year 2020 for (corporate) income and municipal business taxes or for whom taxes are due after 29 February 2020.

No requests regarding quarterly advance tax payments or tax payments that were due before 29 February 2020 should be made, to avoid overburdening the department in question.

What indirect tax measures (VAT) are ther to support businesses?

The Registration Duties, Estates and VAT Authority (Administration de l'enregistrement, des domaines et de la TVA) has announced that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is no administrative penalty for exceeding a deadline for filing VAT returns. This measure applies until otherwise indicated by the administration.

With regard to indirect taxes, the Administration de l'enregistrement, des domaines et de la TVA will reimburse from March 16 all VAT credit balances below 10,000 euros. This measure will address the liquidity needs of around 20,000 companies established in the Grand Duchy.

Which measures to support businesses are taken with regards to employers’ social contributions?

In light of the impact of Covid-19 on companies and independents in Luxembourg, the Social Security office (CCSS) and the Ministry for Social Security have introduced a series of measures to support companies and independents by offering them an increased flexibility in payment of social contributions.  From now on, the CCSS will put in place the following temporary measures as of 1 April 2020:

  • suspension of moratory interest calculations on payment delays;
  • suspension of start of proceedings for forced repayment of contributions;
  • suspension of procedures involving bailiffs;
  • suspension of fines to employers for delays in declarations 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 measures outlined apply not only to up and coming contributions but also to current outstanding social contributions, notwithstanding eventual additions (interest payments, fines) registered with the CCSS on 14 March 2020. Completing these measures, the CCSS will go ahead with payment of an advance on financial compensation for extraordinary leave for family reasons granted to the parents of children affected by the temporary closure of primary ad seconary educational facilities, professional training, care centre etc. This measure is aimed at advancing a substantial part of the reimbursement of salaries which employers have to continue to pay to parents concerned and which, during normal times, would only be done in the month of May 2020 by the employers’ Mutualité.  The CCSS will contact employers potentially affected by the extraordinary leave for family reasons in order to provide them with the necessary information to request such an advance on the reimbursement from the employers’ Mutualité. The advance will be paid mid April 2020.

How does the guarantee facility for new bank loans work?

This text is currently being translated; please refer to the French Q&A

Is there a suspension of the time limits in jurisdictional matters?

This text is currently being translated; please refer to the French Q&A

 

Has the « Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement » (SNCI) put in place support measures?

Yes. The SNCI, a public-law banking institution specialized in medium and long term financing of Luxembourg based companies, has put in place measures to support companies during the COVID-19 crisis.

How should the companies that already have a loan or credit with the SNCI face their reimbursements?

The SNCI decided on March 17, 2020 to be more flexible in the reimbursement of outstanding direct and indirect loans.

  • Reimbursement of capital for the quarterly terms of March 31st, and June 30th of all its outstanding direct and indirect loans is suspended.
  • The duration of all loans benefitting from said moratorium is automatically prolonged for 6 months.
What is the special anti-crisis financing (« Financement Spécial Anti Crise ») set up by the SNCI?

This text is currently being translated; please refer to the French Q&A

Did the Office du Ducriore (ODL) take specific measures in the contect of the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis?

The Office du Ducroire is a public establishment that offers Luxembourgish exporters two tools to accompany them in their international development:

  • financial support via the partial reimbursement of the cost of international promotion;
  • insurance covering the risks connected with international transactions and foreign investments.

In the context of the coronavirus COVID-19, ODL has implemented the following measures to strengthen its support to Luxembourg companies:

  • increase of the percentage of cover of limits and contracts issued during the state of crisis in the context of export insurance;
  • collaboration with the Mutualité de Cautionnement with the establishment of insurance for guarantees issued by the Mutualité, allowing them to increase their loan capacity;
  • flexibilisation of the “Bank loans insurance” which allows banks to partially reduce the risk of non-repayment of the loans they grant to Luxembourg exporters for the development of their international activities. In this context, ODL will also soften the conditions applicable to this product, in particular by increasing the percentage of insurance and by broadening the definition of eligible bank loans;
  • increase of the percentage of the insurance product for bank guarantees which is aimed at banks of Luxembourg exporters to ensure the guarantee line granted by the bank and inclusion of import guarantees in the field of insurance application;
  • reduction of the claim period which will allow companies to be compensated more quickly in the event of a claim;
  • reduction of the reimbursement delay for invoices paid in the context of financial support.

The Office du Ducroire also contines to support Luxembourgish businesses in their international prospecting efforts with financial support even if the project concerns a country or region affected by the coronavirus. Despite the possibility of longer delivery times and increased costs, the cost of transporting exhibition material to such an area is still eligible, on condition that the material is returned and not intended for sale.

If a trade fair is cancelled or postponed, the promise of aid remains valid; the business is asked to notify the Office du Ducroire accordingly by e-mail so that the necessary adjustments can be made. It should be noted that in such a case cancellation costs (for hotels, travel, etc.) are not included in the costs covered.

For further information, please contact:

Office du Ducroire

14 rue Erasme - Kirchberg L-1468 Luxembourg

Tel.: (+352) 288 554 – 1

E-mail: odl@odl.lu

Website: www.odl.lu  

 

What other general support measures are in force for businesses established in the Grand Duchy?

There are a wide range of financial aid schemes available to businesses established in the Grand Duchy, both for promoting the creation of businesses and for the development and diversification of their operations. In principle, all of the aid schemes for businesses offered by the Ministry of the Economy remain applicable; full details are available on the Guichet.lu Business Portal.

Some of these aid schemes administered by the Ministry of the Economy's General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Undertakings are aimed solely at SMUs. Businesses impacted by the coronavirus may be eligible for aid under these schemes. Specifically, investments in hygiene can be added to applications for investment, using the appropriate form. Further information on eligible costs and the practicalities of applying for financial aid may be obtained from:

Ministère de l'Economie - Direction générale des Classes moyennes (Service des aides aux PME)

Tel.: (+352) 247-74704

Fax: (+352) 247-74701

E-mail: info.aide.pme@eco.etat.lu

Businesses experiencing cashflow problems may contact one of the mutual insurance schemes (Mutualité de Cautionnement and Mutualité des PME), which stand as guarantors for part of the amount borrowed from approved credit institutions if the guarantees supplied by the business are not sufficient. This activity, supported by the General Directorate for Small and Medium-sized Undertakings, ensures that SMUs have access to funding.

The Chamber of Commerce has set up a specific surety in the form of a guarantee via its Mutualité de Cautionnement to companies that need credit or a bank loan. In order to guarantee rapid assistance to companies that request it, a procedure for analysing files within 48 hours has been put in place. Companies who would like to take advantage of this guarantee must apply directly to their bank, who will decide whether or not to release the credit. The Chamber of Commerce is in contact with the banks to organise the provision of this new service. In addition, information on this crisis intervention tool can be requested via the following number: 42 39 39 – 445 or under the e-mail address : covid19@houseofentrepreneurship.lu

What companies are eligible for the new short-time work scheme in relation with COVID-19?

Companies that can no longer carry out their activities following a government decision are automatically eligible for short-time working scheme without the need for the agreement of the economic conditions committee.

All other companies that have to suffer a drop in economic activity due to the coronavirus crisis must receive the agreement of the Economic Committee in order to be eligible for short-time work.

Temporary employment agencies are also eligible with regard to their employees whose assignment contract continues but who can no longer carry out their activity.

All types of companies must apply using the same form on guichet.lu.

Which employees are eligible for the short-time working scheme in the event of force majeure related to the coronavirus crisis?
  • Employees under a permanent or fixed-term contract
  • Apprentices in initial or adult apprenticeship
What about companies that have already submitted a request with the old form?

The applications received by the secretariat of the Economic Committee until 27 March 2020 by mail, email or fax are being processed. In view of the extremely large number of applications received, this processing may take until 3 April 2020.  Companies whose application was incomplete and therefore cannot be processed will be contacted by ADEM.

SHORT-TIME WORK

How does the short-time work scheme in case of “force majeure” and related to the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis work?

To maintain employment, and avoid redundancies, the Luxembourg labour law foresses the possibility for companies to use different short-time working schemes under certain conditions, and according to the difficulties they meet. Those schemes allow the companies to maintain the employment of their trained and skilled workers that are essential to the good functioning of the company.

Faced with the magnitude of the coronavirus crisis and its tangible repercussions on the lives of businesses and their employees, the conditions for a request of short-time work have been adapted and a simplified method to request short-time work for force majeure in the context of the COVID-19 crisis has been set up.

As from 27 March 2020 companies have to introduce their request for short-time work via on online form available on guichet.lu. This request will have to be made every month.

The requests for short-time work by companies that can no longer carry out their activities because of the government decisions of 20 March 2020 are directly treated by the employment agency ADEM. The requests by other companies that have to suffer a drop in economic activity due to the coronavirus crisis will be treated only after an agreement by the Economic Committee. Both types of companies must apply using the same form on guichet.lu.

In both cases, whose application is approved will receive advances based on the expected number of employees unable to carry out their normal activities. These advances correspond to 80% of the salary of the workers concerned by short-time work. The advance is equivalent to 80 % of the wage costs for employees on short-time working and enable companies to obtain cash.

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.

Detailed information is available under the following link : https://guichet.public.lu/en/entreprises/sauvegarde-cessation-activite/sauvegarde-emploi/chomage-partiel-technique/chomage-partiel-coronavirus.html

The employment agency ADEM also publishes a detailed FAQ.

RETAIL TRADE

What are the recommendations for conduct at points of sale?

It is recommended that 'social distancing' be enforced at points of sale - that means keeping a distance of two metres between all the people present. Shopkeepers are also advised to regulate the entrance of customers in order to limit the number of people present at any one time.

'Social distancing' also applies to the area in front of a point of sale. So customers are to be encouraged to maintain a distance of two metres from any other person present.

Cashiers at a point of sale are no more exposed to the risks of COVID-19 than anyone else, on condition - of course - that the vital rules of hygiene and prevention are observed.

Is it still possible to pay with cash?

Until now, there is no evidence that cash money would be a particular mean of spread of the coronavirus. In a communication dating of 17 March 2020, the Banque centrale du Luxembourg indicates in reference to Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, that "virus transmission through banknotes has no particular significance".

Whatever mean of payment is used (cash, credit card, mobile phone), the government wishes to remind merchants and customers to respect social distancing in sales points as well as protective recommendations like to frequently wash hands for example, to avoid the risk of spreading. All recommendations and instructions by the ministry of Health should be followed.

Will weekly markets be able to be held?

 

Markets selling only food items are the only markets allowed. It is nevertheless up to each municipality to decide whether such markets may continue within their area of jurisdiction. It is also recommended that 'social distancing' be maintained at weekly markets - that means keeping a distance of two metres between all the people present.

 

 

INFORMATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CITIZENS

For information and recommendations for citizens please select this link.

For all other questions related to COVID-19, please consult the websites of the Government www.covid19.lu, of the Ministry of Health www.gouvernement.lu/coronavirus, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) www.ecdc.eu or the World Health Organization (WHO) www.who.int.

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