Given the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chamber of Commerce invites its members to follow some essential recommendations in order to reduce the disruption of their activities in the event of a potential outbreak of the virus.
To help companies whose business will be impacted by the pandemic, the Chamber of Commerce, with the House of Entrepreneurship and Mutualité de Cautionnement, has established a new range of support measures.
As a professional chamber and legal representative of the interests of businesses in all economic sectors, apart from crafts and agriculture, the Chamber of Commerce intends to act in a pragmatic, rapid and effective manner to provide support to the country's businesses.
Bank guarantee for companies with cash-flow difficulties
A first measure decided to help companies to face financial difficulties and especially liquidity problems, is the setting up of a specific surety in the form of a guarantee that the Chamber of Commerce offers via its Mutualité de Cautionnement to companies that need credit or a bank loan. This guarantee will be up to 50% of the credit and covers a maximum amount of EUR 250,000 per guarantee. 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.
New helpline for businesses
A second measure presented is the implementation by the House of Entrepreneurship of the Chamber of Commerce of a new helpline to provide businesses with real-time information. The number of the helpline is: 42 39 39 – 445 and it will be open as of Monday 16 March, during working days, from 9am-12pm and 2pm-5pm to answer questions from businesses on a variety of topics, such as short-time working/partial unemployment benefits and state and public aid provided by the authorities and the Chamber of Commerce. It will also be possible to reach this helpline via e-mail at covid19(at)houseofentrepreneurship.lu. This new helpline is not intended to answer health questions, which are handled by the Ministry of Health.
Remote assistance from the House of Entrepreneurship
In view of the increasing risk of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the House of Entrepreneurship partner on-site consultation services, usually held on Tuesdays at the one-stop shop, have been suspended. However, these entities can still be contacted by email. The House of Entrepreneurship will continue to keep its information desk open via remote processing by telephone: 42 39 39 - 330 and email: info(at)houseofentrepreneurship.lu for all requests or questions regarding startup applications, creating a business, administrative procedures, VAT, or social security questions, etc.
Last update: 19.03.2020
About the aid
In the context of the Covid-19 crisis, the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises has set up an emergency fund for very small companies and self-employed persons.
With this aid measure, businesses with up to 9 employees and self-employed persons who have a valid business permit issued before 18 March 2020 (with an annual turnover of at least EUR 15,000 and whose activity had to be interrupted following the entry into force of the Grand Ducal regulation of 18 March 2020 introducing a series of measures in the fight against Covid-19) can apply for an immediate and non-repayable financial aid of EUR 5,000.
It is important to point out that the granting of this aid is being done independently of the bill of law which will complement the existing aid instruments.
Who is concerned and how to apply?
As a reminder, the aid is intended for the most vulnerable very small businesses and self-employed persons in Luxembourg affected by the Covid-19 crisis, who can be granted a non-refundable financial aid of EUR 5,000. Only one application can be made per business company (or group)*.
Those eligible, based on 3 criteria to be met simultaneously, are:
- businesses (moral persons legal entities) or the self-employed sole-proprietors (natural persons) with a valid business permit issued before 18 March 2020 by the General Directorate for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and which have between 0 and 9 employees (in full-time positions);
N.B.: self-employed persons with no employee are eligible
- businesses (legal entities) or the self-employed (natural persons) that have had to fully or partially interrupt their activity following the entry into force of the Grand Ducal regulation of 18 March 2020 introducing a series of measures to combat Covid-19;
- and businesses (legal entities) or the self-employed (natural persons) that have an annual turnover of at least EUR 15,000. N.B.: if entrepreneurs have not been through a complete fiscal year, they can still apply or the aid, demonstrating the generation of a certain turnover, prorated to the number of months worked in the year. Their applications will then be reviewed on a custom case-by-case basis.
The complete file, dated and signed by a person authorised to commit do so for the business, together with a bank account identification document, must be sent to the General Directorate for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises by email via corona.pme(at)eco.etat.lu. Each application should be submitted using the official PDF form.
The application form can be downloaded on this link
Elements to be listed in the form:
- information about the applicant company;
- the number of the valid business permit issued by the General Directorate for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises;
- the national identification number (matricule);
- the description of the activity;
- the applicant's bank details (if the application is made in the name of a company, the company must hold the account; if the application is made by a self-employed person working in their own name, the bank account must be in the name of this person);
- the number of staff in full-time positions;
- the consent given to the General Directorate for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to verify the accuracy of the information provided with the Joint Social Security Centre, the Luxembourg Inland Revenue and the Registration Duties, Estates and VAT Authority;
- the annual turnover for the last financial year;
- a sworn and signed declaration on the accuracy of the information provided.
*Where the applicant is the economic beneficiary of more than one business, they may apply for aid for only one of the businesses, provided that the total number of staff in the one business (or group) eligible for the aid does not exceed a total of 9 (in full-time positions).
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.
Webinars to provide information on aid measures applicable for start-ups
Webinars will also be organised from 8 April onwards in order to inform about the main support measures that startups 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.
The government has published a series of specific information and measures for businesses on its website, which can be found here: gouvernement.lu
- Business operations
- Impact on employment relationship with employees
- Special family leave
- Cross-border employees
- Support for businesses
- Short-time work/partial unemployment
- COVID-19 information and hotline: 8002-8080
For any other questions related to COVID-2019, please consult the sites of the Ministry of Health www.sante.lu/coronavirus, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) www.ecdc.eu, or the World Health Organization (WHO) www.who.int.
Last update: 19.03.2020
During the period of short-time working, the state shall pay compensation up to 80 % of the salaries. Reimbursement is limited to 250 % of the social minimum wage for unskilled workers aged 18 or over. This compensation may not be less than the amount of the social minimum wage for unskilled workers. Any difference between the amount of the compensation and the social minimum wage for unskilled workers will be borne by the Employment Fund.
A company that resorts to short-time working in cases of force majeure commits not to dismiss employees for economic reasons as long as the relevant government decisions remain in force.
The short-time working scheme in the event of force majeure applies in principle to businesses in all economic sectors where the causes invoked are directly linked to the coronavirus. In the case of requests from a non-profit organisation (including sports clubs and federations), they will be analysed on a case-by-case basis in order to avoid double funding.
The short-time working scheme in the event of force majeure related to the coronavirus crisis may apply to employees (under a permanent or fixed-term contract in force at the time of the event of force majeure) who are not covered by a certificate of incapacity for work and who can no longer be employed at all or can no longer be employed on a full-time basis when the company can no longer ensure the normal operation of its activity. Apprentices are also eligible with respect to the share of the salary to be borne by the employer. Temporary work agencies are also eligible with regard to their employees whose assignment contract is ongoing but who can no longer carry out their activity.
The company, or its representative (e.g. a fiduciary), can submit the application using an online assistant available in their business eSpace in MyGuichet.lu. Based on the information provided by the business, the system has identified 2 possible scenarios:
- businesses that remain open but nevertheless suffer the negative impact of the coronavirus on their activity. Their application will be automatically transferred to the secretariat of the Economic Committee at the Ministry of the Economy;
- businesses that have had to completely or partially stop their activities following the Ministerial Order of 16 March 2020 on various measures to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus and the Grand Ducal regulation of 18 March 2020 introducing a series of measures to combat the Covid-19 virus. These businesses are directly eligible for short-time working from the effective date of the government decision causing the total or partial closure of their business activity.
Businesses whose application is approved will receive advances based on the expected number of employees unable to carry out their normal activities. These advances enable companies to obtain the cash needed to pay the salaries of their employees.
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.
As the application is only valid for the current or previous month, the business must renew its application each month using the MyGuichet.lu assistant.
Before being able to benefit from the short-time working scheme, all possibilities of maintaining a normal level of employment by the company's own means must be exhausted. The arrangement of holidays is part of the company's own means for maintaining a normal level of employment. Employees must therefore discount the holidays of the years prior to 2020 before benefiting from the short-time working scheme.
The short-time working scheme takes precedence over leave for family reasons. Since the employee who is affected by the short-time working scheme is in principle freed from all work, he is available to keep a dependent child without having to resort to leave for family reasons. Employees on the short-time working scheme are not entitled to benefit from the leave for family reasons. The same applies to one whose partner or spouse is in the short-time working scheme and therefore available to keep the common child or the child who is part of the same household.
For more information, please consult the ADEM FAQ (only in French).
Last update: 30.03.2020
Given the current crisis resulting from the spread of COVID-19, the government has decided to implement several tax measures in favour of legal entities (companies) as well as natural persons. The main objective of these measures is to overcome the need for financing and cash flow of businesses and self-employed persons ('indépendants') who are greatly impacted by the current economic situation.
Further information and FAQ (only in French) here:
Direct taxes: Cancellation of the advance payments due for the first semester of 2020
Legal entities (companies) and natural persons carrying out an activity generating a business/commercial income, an agricultural or a forest-linked income, or an income coming from a liberal profession, facing cash flow issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, can make a simple request to the Tax Authorities to cancel the tax advance payments for the two first quarters of 2020.
Taxes covered: Corporate Income Tax ('Impôt sur le Revenu') and Municipal Business Tax ('Impôt Commercial Communal')
How to proceed? You need to complete and sign the following form and send it to the relevant Tax Authorities ('Bureau d'imposition'). The form only exists in French for the time being.
In addition to the above, the same persons can request a 4-month extension of the payment deadline for taxes due after 29 February 2020. The extended payment term will not induce any kind of late payment interests of fines.
Taxes covered: Corporate Income Tax ('Impôt sur le Revenu'), Municipal Business Tax ('Impôt Commercial Communal') and Net Wealth Tax ('Impôt sur la Fortune')
How to proceed? You need to complete and sign the following form and send it to the relevant Tax Authorities ('Bureau d'imposition'). The form only exists in French for the time being.
Direct taxes: Postponement of the tax return filing deadline to 30 June 2020
This measure is again applicable to all legal entities (companies) and individuals. This new deadline is also to be taken into consideration by any taxpayer willing to request, amend, or revoke its individual tax assessment method.
Starting this week, the relevant Tax Authorities ('Administration de l'Enregistrement et des Domaines') will automatically reimburse all the credit balances in terms of VAT that amount to EUR 10,000 or less. It is estimated that this measure should be helpful for about 20,000 companies in Luxembourg.
Last update: 20.03.2020
In order to allow the employer who, following the COVID-19 crisis, is in a financially precarious situation, to better manage the payment of social contributions in the coming weeks, the CCSS will put in place temporary measures as of 1 April 2020 (and until the CCSS board of directors finds that they are no longer necessary to be applied):
- Suspension of the calculation of default interest for late payments;
- Suspension of the procedure for forced recovery of contributions;
- Suspension of the execution of restraints by bailiff (‘huissier de justice’);
- Suspension of fines to be imposed on employers who are late in reporting to the CCSS.
The aforementioned measures apply not only to future contributions, but also to the current balances of social security contributions, regardless any further remarks (interest, fines, etc.) on the CCSS account statement dated 14 March 2020.
It should therefore be understood that all social security contributions remain due, but the employer will nevertheless be able to better organise its treasury, without having to fear administrative sanctions.
In addition to these measures, the CCSS will proceed with the settlement of an advance on the financial compensation induced by leave for family reasons in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. This measure aims to advance a substantial part of the reimbursement of wages that employers must continue to pay to the parents concerned and which would normally only be done in May 2020 through the ‘Mutualité des Employeurs’. The CCSS will contact the employers potentially affected by such leave for family reasons in order to provide them with the information necessary to request such an advance on reimbursement from the ‘Mutualité des Employeurs’. The advance will be settled in mid-April 2020.
The current payment periods have thus been put on hold. A new deadline for payment of social security contributions has been implicitly granted by the CCSS without formal request. Assuming that a contributor has accumulated significant delays in social contributions towards the end of the COVID-19 crisis, the CCSS will contact him with a proposal to settle his debt.
There is no cancellation or graceful remission of social security contributions. Social security contributions are due on the professional income actually affected. However, a drop in professional income can be communicated to the CCSS. To do this, you can order the provisional income adjustment form, fill it out and send it by mail to the CCSS. Contributions will be lowered or increased accordingly.
Last update: 26.03.2020
Mediation is a voluntary process for settling disputes in which an impartial, independent third party trained in mediation techniques organises exchanges between people or institutions to improve their relationship or to manage a dispute between them. The mediator is a qualified person, attentive to the interests of each party. He or she structures the meetings by guaranteeing a dignified environment and by making mutual understanding possible. The mediator is bound by professional secrecy. The mediation centre is open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30am to 11:30am and from 2pm to 4pm, and on Wednesdays from 2pm to 4pm. They can be reached on +352 27 85 42 1.
Last update: 23.03.2020
Companies of all sizes and the self-employed, who has been carrying out an economic activity before the unpredictable event, can benefit from this aid in the form of a repayable advance. The aid is subject to three conditions:
- an unforeseeable event, officially recognized by the Government for its harmful impact on different economic activities over a certain period of time (which is the case of the COVID-19 pandemic),
- that the company is experiencing temporary financial difficulties,
- that there is a causal link between these difficulties and the event in question.
Any company, legal or natural, that has commercial, craft, industrial or liberal activity, established in Luxembourg and having a business permit is eligible. This includes small, medium and large businesses, as well as self-employed people / freelancers. Self-employed people with the following main activities are also eligible: scientific, artistic, literary, teaching or educational activity, the professional activity of doctors, dentists, veterinary, midwives, physiotherapists, masseurs, lawyers, notaries, bailiffs, executors of wills, administrators of property, accountants and tax experts, engineers, architects, chemists, inventors, consultants, journalists, photograph reporters, interpreters, translators and similar professional activities.
The fishing sector, aquaculture, primary production of agricultural products and processing and marketing/commercialization of agricultural products are excluded. Companies with financial difficulties before January 1st, 2020 are also excluded.
The aid can cover up to 50% of staff and rent costs, where the latter are capped at EUR 10,000 monthly per company (group). The costs are eligible for the months that fall into the crisis period (2 months). The period used for COVID-19 crisis is from March 15th to May 15th, 2020. The eligible costs are based on the annual accounts for the lastest completed fiscal year. Staff costs cover:
- company personnel costs;
- income from the exercise of a professional activity carried out as a self-employed person under the condition that the person in question is affiliated as such at the Social Security Code. However, these incomes are capped at an amount equivalent to 2.5 times the minimum social wage per person;
- income paid by an association, a company or another group formed by one or more freelancers carrying out their activity within this association, company or other group as a self-employed person under the condition that the person in question is affiliated as such at the Social Security. These costs are capped at an amount equivalent to 2.5 times the minimum social wage, per person.
If the company does not have annual accounts for the lastest completed fiscal year, the eligible costs can be calculated:
- based on any available financial data, or;
- if the company is not subject to the obligation to keep double-entry accounts, based on the last tax declaration.
The amount of the aid (in the form of a repayable advance) may not exceed the maximum amount of 500,000 euros per single undertaking (including the requiring group and its connected companies).
To get this financial aid, companies must apply through the online myGuichet assistant before 15th August 2020, which will be available online at the end of the week. Need to be added:
- the name of the applicant company / applicant;
- documents providing proof that the company is experiencing temporary financial difficulties and that there is a direct causal link between the unforeseeable event and the company's temporary financial difficulties;
- the name, registered office and registration number of the companies which form a single company with the requiring company;
- the annual accounts of the lastest completed fiscal year, or, as the case may be, any other available financial data, such as double-entry accounting or the declaration for income tax;
- a list of eligible business costs and their amount;
- a simplified recovery plan (included in the form) which:
- the causes of the difficulties suffered, allowing to verify the direct causal link with the event;
- its temporary financial difficulties during the period between March 15th, 2020 and May 15th, 2020 (for example drop in turnover, liquidity problem, etc.);
- explains how the proposed recovery measures allow to overcome these temporary financial difficulties (for example recourse to short-time working, SNCI loan, bank guarantee, etc.);
- a declaration proofing the absence of a conviction for illegal employment of a third-country workers;
- a bank identity statement.
The request for assistance may contain any other useful document in order to allow the Minister to assess the merits of its request.
The repayment of the aid with an annual interest of 0.5% must not begin until 12 months at the earliest after the first payment of the repayable advance. The repayment plan considers the result achieved by the company during the fiscal year in which the aid was granted as well as the following fiscal years. This repayment plan will be established together with the company with the aim of facilitating reimbursement in order to preserve the continuity of its economic activity.
This aid may be cumulated for the same eligible costs with other State aid, provided that cumulation does not lead to exceeding the most favorable maximum aid amount provided by applicable schemes.
Last update: 02.04.2020
In order to facilitate the entry of frontier workers into Luxembourg during checks at the French, German and Belgian borders, the Luxembourg government has issued certificates to prove the employment relationship with the employee.
These certificates serve as proof of the need to cross the borders between France/Germany/Belgium and Luxembourg and must be presented on request at border posts. On presentation of this form, cross-border commuters are exempted from the restrictions applying to border crossings.
Crossing the border between Germany and Luxembourg
The form of the Luxembourg government is accessible via this link.
The German Federal Police has drawn up a uniform certificate for commuters which can be placed behind the windscreen in a clearly visible place.
The German Federal Police certificate can be consulted here.
This certificate is valid immediately, but the form provided by the Luxembourg government remains valid and will continue to be accepted by the German Federal Police.
Crossing the border between France and Luxembourg
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 the documents requested by the French government, all cross-border workers residing in France will be exempted from restrictions on border crossings between France and Luxembourg
Crossing the border between Belgium and Luxembourg
The certificate attesting to the employment relationship can be accessed via this link
As a result of the health situation due to the COVID-19 crisis and the measures taken to limit the spread of the virus, many French cross-border workers will be requiredto telework more in the coming days and weeks.
Since the entry into force of the new Franco-Luxembourg tax treaty, signed in 2018, French cross-border workers can telework from France for up to 29 days for the benefit of their Luxembourg employer without the remuneration being taxed in France.
The French and Luxembourg authorities consider that the current coronavirus situation constitutes a case of force majeure. It has therefore been agreed that, as of Saturday, 14 March 2020, the presence of a worker at home to carry out a work-related activity there will not be taken into account when calculating the 29-dayperiod. This measure is applicable until further notice.
The specific arrangements for the application of these decisions, which take effect as of 14 March 2020, will be specified at a later date.
Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance, stated, 'I am thrilled that we have reached this agreement with our French partners, which is not only excellent news for the more than 100,000 French cross-border commuters and our businesses, but also an important illustration of the solidarity between neighbouring countries and EU Member States in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic'.
Press release by: Ministry of Finance
Translation by: Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce
Last update: 23.03.2020
Due to the spread of COVID-19, the government has decided to suspend activities in the education sector until 19 April 2020. The National Health Directorate will continue to reassess the situation and the date for resuming activities may be adjusted in light of developments.
This decision has repercussions on vocational training, including internships, the evaluation of modules, and the organisation of projects.
Following the meetings that were held on 19, 20, and 23 March, respectively, with the professional chambers and the vocational training working group of the college of directors in order to plan the end of the school year, it was decided that:
- The common objective is to enable students and apprentices to graduate during the 2019/20 school year.
- A certain flexibility in terms of evaluation of the modules will be implemented. If it is materially impossible to evaluate a given module, the evaluation system will allow the evaluation to be postponed to the following semester.
- The tutors will not evaluate the modules of the second semester. These modules are therefore considered acquired.
- Students who are not in their final year are exemptfrom all internship modules in progress or still to be completed until the end of the 2019/20 school year.
- Students who are in their final year are exempt from internship modules that cannot be evaluated.
- The duration of final and intermediate integrated projects will be adapted and their content will be limited to the subject matter that was treated until the end of the first semester of the 2019/20 school year.
- The commissioners in charge of the final integrated projects organised in the form of modules during the year will communicate the modalities as soon as possible to the high schools concerned.
- The deadline for signing an apprenticeship contract, initially set for 31 October, will be extended
Companies in the personal care sector that would like to propose their apprentice(s) (of age) as volunteers will need authorisation from the National Health Directorate.
The Department of Vocational Training and the professional chambers would like to thank you for your valuable collaboration during these exceptional circumstances.
Letter by: Ministry of Education, Children and Youth
Translation by: Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce
Last update: 24.03.2020
It is important to remember that employers have a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of their employees, especially during the COVID-19 situation. Read more here.
Please consult the relevant pages of the government website, which are updated on a regular basis.
To stay up-to-date on the events that have been cancelled or rescheduled at the Chamber of Commerce, click here.
Our "International Affaits"-Programme, is available on this link.
Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chamber of Commerce and its House of Entrepreneurship have reorganised to maintain their services and continue to support businesses during this time of crisis. Take a step back and use this time to stay informed remotely.
The House of Entrepreneurship has set up digital workshops for the coming weeks that can be followed online!
For more information and registration, click here
Detailed information on the current situation, identification of COVID-19 symptoms and measures to be taken in the event of positive symptoms is available on both the website of theASTF (Association for Occupational Health in the Tertiary and Financial Sectors) and the Ministry of Health.
However, standard recommendations can be applied to prevent the spread of infection:
- regular hand washing
- use alcohol-based solutions and gels for hand disinfection
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with anyone with symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing.
- avoid shaking hands
- avoid contact with sick people
The Ministry of Health has provided an information sheet with recommendations for hygiene measures to help reduce the risk of possible infection at work.
In view of the risk of propagation of the COVID-19 virus, more information is available on the following sites:
- Association for Occupational Health in the Tertiary and Financial Sectors (ASTF)
- Ministry of Health
- World Health Organization
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Practical advice in case of travel and flu-like symptoms:
Legal obligations of the employer regarding the safety and health of employees:
FAQ for businesses published by the Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy:
Information from professional organisations:
- The Luxembourg Bankers’ Association
- · Confédérationluxembourgeoise du Commerce (website in FR & DE)
- · Fedil
- · Horesca (website in FR)
- · Luxembourg Business Union (UEL)
- · Chamber of Skilled Trades and Craft (website in FR & DE)
- · Fédération des Artisans (website in FR)
Please also note that a hotline for the general public has been in operation since 2 March 2020 under the number 8002-8080. This number can be called by anyone who has had proven close contact with an infected person and who shows symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, respiratory problems).