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 

Participate in the PICE Mobility Plan through the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg

This initiative of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce is part of the Qualification and Employment Program (PICE) and aims to improve the employability of young beneficiaries of the National Youth Guarantee System of Spain through internships in European companies.

As the local contact point in Belgium and Luxembourg, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg will help you find young and qualified talent.

What are the advantages of joining the PICE Program?

  • Incorporate qualified young people with the specific skills that your company needs.
  • Facilitate the contact with young people with the qualifications and competencies needed to join your company.
  • As a collaborating company, you will be able to obtain the Seal of Commitment to Youth Employment.

¿What are the requirements to participate?

  • To be a company or organization located in a country of the European Union.
  • To comply with the labor legislation of the country in which you want to incorporate the young person.
  • Identify the requirements for the vacancy offered and include a detailed job description.
  • Internships must have a minimum duration of 3 months and a maximum of 6 months.

To find out how to register your company in the PICE and publish an internship offer, contact us.

Contact:

Soraya Bravo/ Javier Rincón
info@e-camara.com

You can find more information here.

Webinar on “Where are the business opportunities during the coronavirus?”

On April 16th, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce of in Belgium and Luxembourg, organized a webinar on “Where are the business opportunities during the coronavirus?”, by the mentor Karine Brück, founding partner of Karine Bruck International (Ecosolve SL). The webinar was attended by a dozen companies.

The webinar was aimed at European companies interested in learning how to identify the sectors of opportunity that still exist during this global crisis and how SMEs can take advantage of them.

She mentioned the difficult and unprecedented situation that we are going through and that implies a drastic change in the global economic environment. Several topics were mentioned like the supply chain and demand collapse, the financial constrain, the investment freeze in addition to some global economic impact estimations.

Then, some clear guidelines for companies to confront this crisis were given, such as, workforce protection, supply chain stabilization, customer engagement, financial stress testing and nerve-center integration. She also proposed the creation of a Crisis Management Center as a key instrument for monitoring the situation and creating crucial future strategies for the survival of the enterprise. Ms. Brück recommended, especially for the short- and medium-term wellbeing of the company, to modify the sales strategy and to improve communication within and outside the company for reducing uncertainty and strengthen coordination.

In a broader perspective, an overview of the situation by sectors was given including the identification of the ones that will be leading the market in the coming months. Moreover, from a macroeconomic perspective, she provided the participants with the most helpful tools to identify new international tradepartners that could play a decisive role in the future trade activity of the companies.

Finally, she also gave some insights on multisectorial opportunities and she focused on potential tenders that could be interesting for most of the industries.

After the presentation, a Q&A was featured where the participants could ask their doubts about the information explained.

The Chamber wants to sincerely thank Karine Brück for her amusing and enriching presentation.

Industry foresees 50 million euros in aid to companies affected by the coronavirus crisis

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism has approved a new aid amounting to 50 million euros to “companies that had to significantly alter their production to adapt to the needs generated by the Covid-19 health crisis”.

This is stated in the budget impact report of the decree law approved this Tuesday by the Council of Ministers in which the facilities provided by the Government to the industry in the face of the coronavirus emergency are quantified.

Within the support for industries, the Government has expanded the budget of the Compañía Española de Reafianzamiento (Cersa), within its guarantee line for the crisis, granting a credit supplement of 60 million euros from the ‘Support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises’ program.

This Covid-19 line of guarantees has an amount of 1,000 million euros of risk assumed by Cersa and will allow mobilizing 2,000 million euros of financing to companies, benefiting 20,000 pymes.

All this in a section dedicated to the support of industries, which modifies the deadlines to present guarantees to the calls for loans granted by the General Secretariat of Industry and Small and Medium Enterprises (SGIPYME), which were pending resolution when it entered the alarm state is in effect.

In the decree law, the Government opens the door to exempt the return of the financing of Industry by the companies that accredit a fulfillment that “approaches significantly to the total fulfillment and it is verified that the objectives of the project have been reached initially raised”.

In these cases, 100% compliance with the project will be considered and no refund of the aid will be proposed, with partial reimbursements based on the different degrees of compliance recognized.

Modifications in loans until 2023

The refinancing of the loans granted by this General Secretariat is also regulated, establishing the possibility of requesting amortization modifications for two and a half years from the entry into force of the state of alarm, as well as the scope of the modifications for companies that have suffered periods of inactivity, supply interruptions in the value chain or their sales have been reduced.

These variations will be limited to the “maximum levels of aid intensity and the same levels of risk as at the time of granting”, and will include aid when the modification of the amortization conditions is granted, with the possibility of modifying the interest rate and the guarantees associated with the loans, and also subrogate these obligations to a credit institution.

SOURCE: Expansion.com

Workshop on “Communication for EU projects”

On April 1st and 2nd, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, organized an online workshop on “Communication for EU projects”, in collaboration with the member company Vision Communication.

 

This workshop, divided in two 4 hour sessions, was taught in English and featured with an international audience. During the first session a wide introduction of the communication for EU projects was made with a detailed explanation of the different existing EU projects (Horizon 2020, AMIF, etc.) and how to design and manage the communication within each one. The different realities of the consortiums in European projects were explored as well as the need to adapt the project to the different contexts in order to have a performing communication strategy (for example in developing countries).

 

In the second session, some deeper look toward the European projects communication was done by highlighting the different communication products that must come by this projects and the need of a right management of the different events. The need of an accurate selection of the target audience, messages and channels were also highlighted. The workshop featured additionally different practical exercises in which the participants had the chance to interact in smaller groups.

 

All along both journeys, participants had the chance to get to know several cases of success and failure of communication in various European projects from both public and private institutions. Additionally a great interaction between the speaker and attendants was noticed as they could ask their questions at any time.

The Government approves an allowance of 440 euros for unemployed people who have no right to subsidies and a moratorium on social security contributions of self-employed workers for 6 months

On Tuesday, the Council of Ministers approved new support measures against coronavirus, especially for the most vulnerable groups. One of them is an extraordinary allowance for people whose “contract has been terminated and do not have the minimum time required to claim unemployment benefit”, as detailed by the Vice-President for Social Affairs and 2030 Agenda, Pablo Iglesias. This benefit will be 440 euros per month and will also be available for domestic workers in the same situation.

The Council of Ministers also approved a moratorium on the payment of social security contributions for the self-employed workers, in addition to other housing measures.

 

Nadia Calviño, Vice-President of Economic Affairs, explained at the press conference following the Council meeting that the executive has adopted the “extension of social security contributions for six months, without interest”. These are the measures that affect freelancers:

 

  • Extension of six months of interest-free social security contributions
  • Possibility for SMEs and the freelancers to defer debts with the Treasury for up to 30,000 euros for six months, with a three-month grace period
  • A moratorium on the payment of contributions – without interest – is provided for the days worked in the month of March
  • Mortgage moratorium is extended, including self-employed workers who have no activity due to the state of alarm or have suffered significant losses

 

What about the March fee they have already charged to self-employed workers?

Government stated that “What we have established today is that a moratorium can be given for the payment of those amounts that correspond to the days worked in the month of March. Those amounts that have already been paid in I understand that the self-employed may request a refund of the part that does not match.”

 

The extraordinary edition of the Official State Bulletin (BOE), published on late Sunday, on the other hand, confirmed that the self-employed can continue to work despite the tightening of the state of alarm to preserve only essential activities as they are outside the scope: they are not employees and would not be eligible for recoverable paid leave. As they would not be able to make up those hours or recover those payments, they must have the right to continue working. However, this new measure does apply to their employees. “Self-employed workers will be able to continue with their activity by proving that they are and that their activity is not suspended by the state of alarm” (referring to the certificate published this Monday in the BOE), explained Nadia Calviño in a press conference.

 

SOURCE: Cadenaser.com

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