Beginning of deconfinement in Luxembourg: Shops reopened and social contact restart on May 11th

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Health announced on Monday the end of the containment and the resumption of several activities on May 11th. Shops will be able to reopen, and social contacts will restart on a limited basis by continuing to respect the safety measures.

It’s a return to normality“, but not a return to the way things were before. By announcing the end of the containment or “Bleift Doheem” at a press conference late Monday afternoon, Xavier Bettel (DP) and Paulette Lenert (LSAP) were intransigent on the respect of the measures to contain the spread of the virus: barrier gestures and social distancing. Discipline must be combined with solidarity.

Four more people were tested positive compared to Sunday, bringing the number of people affected by Covid-19 to 3,828. There were no additional deaths reported. 113 people are hospitalized, 21 of them in intensive care.
Considering the positive results over the last few days and the systematic monitoring of health facilities, the Government decided to start a new phase on May 11th:

  • Shops can reopen. A precise list of authorized businesses will be released in the coming hours. With a ministerial announcement to come, the modalities of attendance will be adapted this Wednesday.
  • The personal care sector, such as hairdressers and beauticians, will be able to return to work only by appointment.
  • It will be possible to regain some form of social contact with up to six people (exceptions may apply to people living under the same roof) with the necessary discipline to limit the risk of spreading the virus. “The aim is to resume limited social contact with others, paying attention to the multiplier factor“, specifies Xavier Bettel. “And if it’s the same six people (each time), so much the better“. It’s not yet time for a barbecue or a party at home, says the Prime Minister, as if to better illustrate the idea of moderation that prevails, including in the denunciations that the authorities want to avoid.
  • Gatherings and other outdoor events will be allowed, limited to 20 people.
  • Cultural venues will be able to welcome the public again, avoiding queues and preserving distance and barrier gestures. Outdoor events that allow this, such as drive-in cinema, will also be possible.
  • Outdoor sports will be allowed again, except team and contact sports. The changing rooms will remain closed.
  • Indoor leisure areas, such as fitness rooms, casinos, discos or nightclubs, will remain closed.
  • The same applies to the sector of tourism and services – forced to survive via delivery for restaurants – for which additional accompanying measures are being discussed. Pastry tasting salons are also affected. If the evolution of Covid-19 continues to unfold positively, the Prime Minister has indicated that bars and restaurants will once again serve meals on their premises on June 1st, subject to adjustments.

Discussions are ongoing within the government to adjust the specific measures that have been implemented to support the economy.

The same discussions will have to continue with neighboring countries concerning teleworking and the tolerance threshold allowed for cross-border workers. Xavier Bettel clarified that telework remains a good measure of social distancing and would continue to be favored in the coming weeks.

 

50 masks per inhabitant and cross-border

The Government, which has been busy with working groups modelling the evolution of the pandemic according to deconfinement scenarios, has not recorded a significant increase in infections following the reopening of construction sites on April 20th.

Xavier Bettel said he wanted to take the time to conduct the necessary analyses and exchange views with the specialists before taking the decisions announced on Monday. Concerned representatives of the economic sectors were waiting for these measures.

The masks, which have become indispensable elements in daily protection against Covid-19, will remind everyone that ” the virus is now part of our daily life“, and “we must learn to live with it“.

The Prime Minister has announced that a new massive distribution of masks will take place in the coming days. Each person over the age of 16 will receive 50 masks.

The same applies to cross-border workers“, adds Xavier Bettel. “Discussions are ongoing to determine how the distribution can be done, so that people who work in that sector have the same opportunity to protect themselves“.

Paulette Lenert remarked that if the strict measures, the personnel mobilized and the infrastructures deployed did not ensure  a minor impact of the pandemic, the possibility that containment will tighten again remains if the virus resurges.

As Xavier Bettel said on 20th March: Everyone remains part of the solution.

 

Source: Paperjam.lu

 

Financial support measures for small businesses in Luxembourg

Micro and small commercial and artisanal companies will be able to benefit from additional financial support measures after the adoption last Wednesday of the regulation of the Governing Council of the Grand Duchy.

Companies with between 10 and 20 workers may benefit from a compensation that amounts to a lump sum of 12,500 euros.

In addition, companies with fewer than 10 workers will also benefit from new measures. An additional compensation of 5,000 euros will be awarded to those who, forced to close or stop their activities, suffered a loss of at least 50% of their turnover during the period between April 15th and May 15th.

“We are strengthening immediate financial support for micro and small businesses because they are generally the most vulnerable to unpredictable events like Covid-19. Effective and prompt support is essential in times of crisis,” said the Minister for the Middle Classes, Lex Delles.

Detailed information is available since April 24th on the Guichet.lu website. The form to send applications, which will be processed by the General Directorate of the Middle Classes, is also available on that same website.

 

Source: Paperjam.lu

Extension of the measures taken by the National Security Council in Luxembourg due to Covid-19

On 15th April 2020, the Government Council fixed the guidelines for a deconfinement strategy balanced between public health imperatives and the psycho-social and economic aspects of the current confinement.

As a reminder, the amended Grand Ducal Regulation of 18th March introducing a series of measures in the context of the fight against COVID-19 introduced restrictions or even prohibitions on commerce and artisanal activitiesincluding the closure of construction sites, to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Beyond these regulatory prohibitions, educational activities and the activity of the recycling centres have been suspended.

In the Grand Duchy, the rate of new infections shows a downward trend and thus reflects the effect sought by the confinement measures put in place on 16th March 2020. However, the government has decided to proceed only with a cautious lifting of the confinement measures.

Thus, the deconfinement strategy consists of:

  • Protecting in particular vulnerable groups.
  • Implementing a gradual exit from confinement in phases sufficiently separated from each other.
  • Ensuring, at all times, sufficient hospital capacities in normal and intensive care to be able to handle serious cases in health care institutions.
  • Making the population aware of its responsibilities and to reduce as far as possible the risk of uncontrolled spread by maintaining, or even strengthening, the barrier measures to be observed in any place where people congregate.
  • Implementing preventive measures at work.
  • Ensuring the isolation and close follow-up of new cases of infection.
  • Developing testing capacities and support research in particular with regard to serological tests to measure the acquired immunity of the population.

The resumption of activities can therefore only take place in successive phases that are well thought out in terms of impact. The decision to launch a phase is taken by the Government on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health, and it is based on close monitoring of the evolution of the number of newly infected people in the population and an estimate of available hospital capacity in the short and medium term.

It is also clear that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health may submit to the Government Council at any time a proposal to reintroduce stricter confinement measures when, on the basis of the monitoring of the evolution of the situation, it appears that hospital capacities are likely to reach a critical level which could jeopardise the proper care of patients.

It is important to note that any resumption of activities will be accompanied by very strict barrier gestures and complemented by the mandatory wearing of a mask or any other device that covers the nose and mouth for interpersonal contact situations if the safety distance of 2 metres cannot be guaranteed.

 

Deconfinement strategy in phases:

Phase 1 – Reopening of construction sites (tentative date 20th April 2020).

The first phase thus covers the following activities:

  • Reopening of construction sites.
  • Educational aid and assistance activities (Services in child and family aid, Competence centres in special psycho-pedagogical care and measures to benefit children who are on the verge of dropping out of school).
  • Activities of gardeners and landscapers.
  • Businesses whose main activity is do-it-yourself.
  • Reopening of recycling centres.

This list will be completed on 4th May by the resumption of senior classes, as well as internships and practical work at BTS and university level.

Phase 2 – resumption of secondary education (tentative date 11th May 2020).

Phase 3 – resumption of fundamental education as well as the reopening of crèches and childcare facilities (tentative date 25th May 2020).

This will be followed, in later phases, by the resumption of commercial activities and the reopening of the HORECA sector. At this stage, however, it is premature to give a detailed assessment of the lifting of restrictions in this sector. A final decision will be taken in due course by the Government Council on the basis of an analysis of the situation.

Companies, businesses and administrations are generally encouraged to continue to promote teleworking throughout the transition period out of confinement.

Gatherings will remain prohibited until 31st July, except for funerals and civil weddings, which will be allowed for a maximum of 20 people and provided that an interpersonal distance of 2 metres is respected. The prohibitions laid down in Article 2 of the amended Grand Ducal Regulation of 18th March introducing a series of measures in the context of the fight against COVID-19 will be maintained.

The confinement measures currently in place for vulnerable persons and persons over 65 years of age will continue to be in force at least until the end of the first phase. The gradual lifting of the current restrictions also entails the need to develop, in consultation with the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region a strategy for the protection of vulnerable persons in care centres and persons over 65 years of age.

Workers belonging to the vulnerable category may consult their doctor to determine whether the severity of the illness prevents them from going to work. This assessment must be done on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the recommendations of the Health Directorate and the working environment of the person concerned.

 

Source: Gouvernement.lu

 

The Chamber of Commerce of Luxembourg informs that the distribution of protective masks to businesses, announced on Friday 17 April 2020, will take place on the following dates and according to the following procedures:

  • companies with 50 or more employees will receive the masks by direct distribution on Monday 20 or Tuesday 21 April. For these two days, companies are requested to organize a presence at their offices to receive the packages distributed by Post Luxembourg.
  • companies with fewer than 50 employees will receive a letter from the Joint Social Security Centre (CCSS) on Monday 20 or Tuesday 21 April informing them of the number of masks made available to them. The masks will be given to the companies after showing the original letter from the CCSS to a post office.

Each company will receive 5 protective masks per employee.

The provision of masks free of charge, organised jointly by the Government, the CCSS, Post Luxembourg and the Chamber of Commerce, will make it possible to equip some 60,000 companies in all sectors of activity (except the craft sector). Representing three quarters of the national workforce, these 60,000 companies will receive some 2 million masks.

Companies can contact the helpline (+352) 42 39 39 – 445 of the Chamber of Commerce or by e-mail at covid19@houseofentrepreneurship.lu for any questions. Further information on the aid measures can be found on the website www.cc.lu/covid19/.

 

Source: www.cc.lu

 

Update on support measures for employers

50% bank guarantee

A maximum amount of 250,000 euros from the Mutualité de Cautionnement.

 

Partial employment in case of force majeure

Advance payments based on the expected number of employees

Application through the MyGuichet.lu online tool

Applications by mail, email or fax will no longer be accepted

2 cases of application processing:

1) Mandatory closing: fast-track process or directly suitable

2) Open but with reduced activity: agreement of the Secretariat of the Committee on Trade Conditions of the Ministry of Economy

 

Fiscal measures

Requesting a delay on the payment and the cancellation of the VAT advance payments

Reimbursement of the credit balance < 10.000 EUR and administrative flexibility

Social security contributions: measures for temporary suspension of the CCSS

 

Aid scheme for companies in temporary financial difficulties

Capital subsidy in form of reimbursable advances of up to 500.000 euros

Application through the MyGuichet.lu online tool

Calculation basis: employee expenses and rental expenses

 

Emergency financial assistance for small businesses and self-employed workers

2 cases of application processing:

1) Mandatory closing

Immediate and non-refundable financial compensation of

Admission requirements and form

2) Open but with reduced activity

Immediate non-refundable financial subsidy of 2.500 euros

Admission requirements and form

 

In the context of the Covid-19 crisis, the Directorate General for the Middle Classes has established an emergency fund for very small enterprises (0-9 full time employees) and self-employed workers.

Thanks to this measure, enterprises with a maximum of 9 employees and self-employed workers who have a valid establishment permit issued before 18th March 2020 (with a minimum annual turnover of 15,000 euros and whose activity has been interrupted after the entry into force of the Grand Ducal regulation of 18th March 2020, which introduces a series of measures in the context of the fight against Covid-19) can submit an application for an immediate and non-refundable financial assistance of up to 5,000 euros.

The aim of this measure is to provide immediate financial support to the numerous very small businesses as well as to the self-employed workers who, although they constitute an essential part of our economic structure, are generally also the most vulnerable to contingencies such as the Covid-19 crisis.

In this regard, it is important to clarify that the granting of this aid is independent of the law proposal that will complement the existing aid instruments.

 

 

SOURCES: www.cc.lu , guichet.public.lu 

Apply to join the Spanish Financial Forum of the Chamber in Luxembourg

From April 15th, all members of the Chamber whose activity falls within the framework of the financial sector in Luxembourg may submit a request to participate in the Spanish Financial Forum (SFF).

The aim of this working group is to create in Luxembourg a space for opinion and debate on economic and financial issues where professionals working in companies related to the provision of financial services who are members of the Chamber can share experiences, establish collaborations, exchange information on sector trends and generate business. It also aims to position itself as the main “hispanic” interlocutor with the Luxembourg institutions in the financial sector.
The main objectives of this initiative are:

  • To improve the image and perception that Luxembourg projects in Spain, mainly in professional environments.
  • To act as the main “hispanic” interlocutor and lobby to the Luxembourg financial sector authorities.
  • To facilitate networking among the members of the SFF, so that they can share experiences, establish partnerships and exchange information on industry trends.
  • To act as a link to Latin American markets.
  • To encourage the attraction and retention of Spanish talent to Luxembourg.

 

Participation in the SFF is exclusive for members of the Chamber.

 

Apply to join the SFF sending the REGISTRATION FORM to luxemburgo@e-camara.com.

 

More information about the SFF HERE.

New procedure for granting short-time work in cases of force majeure linked to the Covid-19

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

What is the short-time work?

Short-time working allows a company to avoid laying off its employees. The employees receive 80% of their salary from the company (this amount cannot be less than the minimum social wage or more than 250% of the minimum social wage). These amounts are fully covered by the Employment Fund.

Conditions that the company must complete

Eligible employees: permanent, fixed-term, apprenticeship, etc.

– be legally established in Luxembourg

– a significant go down on activities/income following the crisis

– undertake not to dismiss any employee for economic reasons

 

In order to maintain employment and, consequently, avoid redundancies, Luxembourg labour law provides that firms may, under certain conditions, have recourse to different short-time working schemes, depending on the nature of the difficulties encountered. This system enables firms to keep their trained employees in employment with skills that are essential to the smooth running of their activities.

The short-time working scheme is therefore one of the major instruments enabling enterprises to cope with the fall in economic activity due to the Covid-19 health crisis.

In view of the current exceptional situation and the repercussions on the life of companies and their employees, the conditions for applying for and obtaining short-time working have been adjusted.

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, in close collaboration with the Secretariat of the Economic Conditions Committee and the State Information Technology Centre (CTIE), has set up a new automated system that enables companies to submit their short-time working applications via an online form at: http://guichet.lu/cocp

This request will have to be made every month

Companies make their request using secure authentication (LuxTrust product (e.g. Token, Smartcard or Signing stick) or electronic identity card). They also have the possibility of having their application submitted by their authorised representative (a trustee), e.g. if they do not have a LuxTrust product. The data collected will be processed automatically by ADEM. The application has been designed to be as simple as possible for companies. As of today, companies must use the form available at the Counter to make their request (requests by mail, e-mail or fax will no longer be accepted).

Applications from companies that can no longer operate following the government decisions of March 2020 will be processed directly by ADEM. Applications from other companies will only be processed after the agreement of the Comité de conjoncture. In both cases and as soon as the request is accepted, ADEM will pay an advance to the companies. This advance corresponds to 80% of the salaries of the staff affected by short-time working and will enable the firms to obtain cash quickly. After the end of the month, the company will be required to submit a detailed statement showing the hours actually worked. On the basis of this statement, ADEM will calculate the sums actually owed by the Employment Fund. In the event of an overpayment, the company will be required to reimburse it.

Which companies are eligible for the new partial unemployment scheme linked to COVID-19?

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

All other companies that have to suffer a drop in activity due to the coronavirus crisis must receive the agreement of the economic development 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.

Both types of companies must apply using the same form at the counter.

Which employees are eligible for the new partial unemployment scheme linked to COVID-19?

  • Employees on permanent and fixed-term contracts (the contracts must be in force at the time of the occurrence of the force majeure event)
  • Apprentices in initial and adult learning.

What about companies that have already applied on the basis of the old form?

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.

 

Link: http://guichet.lu/cocp

Source: ADEM

Attached files: 200327_DemandeDeChomagePartiel.pdf

Economic and social measures for companies taken in Luxembourg due to Covid-19

From the Chamber, we want to be with our members and strengthen all our actions and activities, to give an answer to the companies and the self-employed to react to the situation that we are currently facing.

For this reason, the Chamber will periodically publish all the legal, administrative or new measures that are being produced and taken in Luxembourg to inform our members and facilitate the updated information that could be useful for them.

Here you can find the latest economic and social measures for companies in Luxembourg due to Covid-19.

The Chamber’s Yearbook 2020 is already available

The Yearbook 2020 of the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce of Spain in Belgium and Luxembourg is already available.

All members will receive a copy in the next few weeks by mail.

You can also read it through the Intranet by clicking on this link.

This publication includes information about the available services to our members, the report of the activities organized by the Chamber during 2019, a description of the employment and entrepreneurship programs in which we are involved, as well as a directory of members by activity sector.

The Chamber wants to thank the support of all the member companies, which allow us to continue improving and responding to the needs of our members.

The Yearbook is available in English and Spanish.

In addition, we would like to thank the advertisers their collaboration in the Yearbook 2020, which have helped funding this publication:

                   

 

Conference on companies act and liability of managers

On February 25th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, in collaboration with Philippe & Partners & Estudio Legal Muñoz Gonzalo, organized a conference on The companies act and the liability of managers. A comparative vision with the Spanish corporate law“ at Cercle Munster in Luxembourg.

The conference had about twenty participants, including the H.E. Ambassador of Spain in Luxembourg Bernardo de Sicart Escoda. During the conference, the speakers, Ernesto Muñoz (Estudio Legal Muñoz Gonzalo) and Denis Philippe (Philippe & Partners), presented the different types of companies in Spain and Luxembourg, as well as the liability regime of company managers.

Finally, it was made a comparison through the similarities and the differences between both countries in this area, and the speakers could answer the questions raised by some of the participants.

 

In collaboration with: