Under the joint presidency of Dan Kersch, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity Economy, and Franz Fayot, Minister of Economy, the social partners represented on the one hand by OGBL President Nora Back and LCGB President Patrick Dury, and on the other hand by the President of UEL, Nicolas Buck, agreed on June 9th the new modalities to grant partial unemployment to companies affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
With the end of the crisis state, the emergency procedures established to help companies through a special mechanism of partial unemployment by “force majeure COVID-19” will expire. The meeting agreed that companies affected by the health crisis should continue to receive support through partial unemployment, preserving as many jobs as possible.
Taking into account that a good number of companies will continue to suffer the negative effects of the health crisis beyond the end of the crisis state, it has already been decided to continue supporting them with the instrument of partial unemployment until the end of the current year.
To take into account the fact that certain sectors have been more severely affected and will delay the return to the same level of activity as before the health crisis or will not achieve it in the near future, four possible ways of benefiting from the agreement were agreed upon partial unemployment:
- Industrial companies will continue to benefit from the cyclical scheme of short-term unemployment to be able to react to shocks in international markets. By applying the system of partial unemployment from cyclical sources, industrial companies undertake not to fire workers for economic reasons.
- The social partners have recognized the particularly difficult situation of companies in vulnerable sectors that continue to be strongly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, companies in the hotel, tourism and events sectors will be able to benefit from rapid access to partial unemployment from a structural source, without limiting the number of employees who will be entitled to it. If necessary, these companies may resort to economic dismissals within the maximum limit of 25% of their employees until December 31, 2020. The social partners have explicitly insisted on the fact that the provisions of general jurisdiction provided for by the Code of the Labour Law relating to collective dismissal remain fully applicable. The social partners have agreed that, in the event of a return to an improvement in activity, the companies that have carried out layoffs must, in the event of subsequent recruitment of staff, rehire their former laid-off employees as a matter of priority.
- Companies affected by the health crisis, in addition to industrial companies and those from vulnerable sectors, can also resort to short-term work from structural sources along the accelerated route provided, however, without dismissing workers. This measure aims to preserve the jobs in the companies involved as best as possible. In this case, however, the number of employees covered by partial unemployment cannot exceed 25% in the months of July and August, 20% in September and October, and 15% in November and December. In this context, an employee is defined as each employee who has been declared partially unemployed during the current month, regardless of the number of hours of partial unemployment.
- Finally, the demands of companies in vulnerable sectors that lay off more than 25% of their workers, as well as those of all the other companies that want to make layoffs, must submit a “traditional” application for partial unemployment.
In fact, it was agreed in these situations that admission to the partial unemployment regime could only be granted if the companies proceeded to establish restructuring plans. These plans will be established in the form of a recovery plan in the case of small companies of less than fifteen people, respectively, and in the form of a job retention plan in accordance with the provisions of Article L. 513-1 et seq. Labour Code for companies that employ more than fifteen employees.
The social partners expressed their willingness to negotiate as far as possible the sectoral plans for job retention to use the temporary labour loan instrument.
All these proposals for partial unemployment were approved by the Government in the Council.
The Economic Committee also reserves the right to give negative notice to requests from companies that are clearly not affected at all or only slightly by the health crisis.
The secretariat of the Economic Committee is in the process of implementing, in collaboration with the services of the State Center for Information Technology (CTIE) and ADEM, computer applications to send applications as described above electronically through the myGuichet.lu platform.
Accurate information for business, staff and employee delegations will be quickly prepared and made available on the Guichet.lu website.
Communicated by the Ministry of Economy / Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social and Solidarity Economy