Business Citizens

Incapacity for work and sickness benefits

Coronavirus / Covid-19

A number of measures have been taken in the area of social security, particularly concerning the incapacity for work due to illness.

Suspension of the counting of the 78 weeks of incapacity for work

The legislation provides that an employee may not exceed 78 weeks of incapacity for work due to illness over a reference period of 104 weeks.

Due to the exceptional situation caused by the spread of Covid-19, the government decided to exclude the days of incapacity for work due to illness since the beginning of the state of crisis in the calculation of the 78-week limit.

In practical terms this means that any days of incapacity for work between 18 March 2020 and the end of the state of crisis are not taken into account for the calculation of this limit.

This measure concerns all insured persons who are unable to work due to illness duly attested by a doctor.

Financial coverage of benefits in the event of incapacity for work

Furthermore, when an employee is unable to work due to illness, the employer must continue to pay the concerned employee's salary for a period determined by law. Up to 80 % will the be reimbursed to the employer. After this statutory period, the financial compensation is directly covered by the sickness and maternity insurance.

The government has decided that as of 1 April 2020 and until the last day of the month in which the state of crisis ends, all days of incapacity for work due to illness or for a gradual return to work will be charged directly to the sickness and maternity insurance.

Employers will therefore not need to continue to pay wages for the days of incapacity to work due to illness or for a gradual return to work between 1 April and the last day of the month in which the state of crisis ends.

The insured person must therefore send their medical certificate to the National Health Fund (CNS) as soon as possible, and no later than the 3rd day of incapacity for work.

The CNS will transfer the financial compensation due on the basis of the medical certificate received. The CNS will send the insured person a salary statement containing the details of the transfer at the end of the month.

The amount of the compensation is established on the basis of the data available to the CNS at the time of the calculation according to the rules determined by the Social Security Code.

After the end of the state of crisis, the employer must provide the employee concerned with a statement. This statement gives details of the remuneration that would have been due for the period in question under the continuation of pay mechanism ("Lohnfortzahlung"). The employer must regularise any discrepancies with the compensation transferred by the CNS.

This measure applies only to financial compensation due for incapacity for work due to illness and for the periods of gradual return to work for therapeutic reasons granted.

Days of special leave, which are fully reimbursed to the employer by the competent social security institutions, are excluded from this derogation. This concerns:

  • leave for family reasons (including the leave applicable in the event of an epidemic or pandemic);
  • family hospice leave;
  • the new family support leave introduced on 3 April 2020 (applicable retroactively from 18 March).
For these days of special leave, the usual procedure still applies: the employer pays the employee's salary during the special leave, then the employer is reimbursed by the Employers' mutual insurance scheme on the basis of the monthly declarations that they have to send to the Joint Social Security Centre.

 

FAQ for insured persons

Insured individuals

What is this about?

Given the economic and financial impact of the spread of Covid-19 on a large number of companies and businesses, the Government has decided that, starting on 1 April 2020 and until the last day of the month during which the state of crisis will end, all days of incapacity for work resulting from illness or the gradual return to work of both salaried and non-salaried workers are to be paid for directly by the sickness and maternity insurance, i.e. by the CNS.

To what extent does this represent a change?

Under normal circumstances, employers continue to pay their employees' salaries for 77 days. It is only after this period that the sickness and maternity insurance scheme starts paying the allowance.

Which allowances are involved?

This only applies to the benefits for sickness and accidents.

The various types of special leave for family reasons, family support and nursing a dying or seriously ill person (family hospice leave) are not included. These are paid in advance by the employer who will be reimbursed by the competent social security institutions.

What does the insured person have to do?

The insured person must send the certificate of incapacity for work to the CNS as soon as possible and no later than the third day of incapacity for work.

The original of the certificate should be sent by post to the CNS – Service Contrôle et gestion des CIT – L-2980 Luxembourg.

If this is not possible, it may exceptionally be sent by e-mail to saisieCIT.cns@secu.lu, but only during the current crisis.

Please note that for teleconsultations carried out on the eConsult platform of the eHealth Agency, certificates of incapacity for work are automatically sent to the CNS and the insured person. The insured must notify his/her employer and transfer a copy of the certificate of incapacity for work to him/her.

How will the CNS process the certificates of incapacity for work it receives?

The CNS enters the certificates in its systems and will pay the benefits to the insured person directly. This payment will take account of the certificates of incapacity for work registered up to the cut-off date for compiling the statement covering the current month. The statement gives details of the payment that has been made. It is sent to the insured person at the end of the month.

The certificates of incapacity for work received after the statement has been compiled for the current month that could not be taken into account will be paid for subsequently; a statement will always be sent to the insured person before payment is made.

The monthly cut-off dates are determined in advance and can be consulted here.

How is the amount of sickness benefit determined?

The basic pay taken into account by the CNS in deciding the monthly benefits due corresponds to the highest basic remuneration received by the insured person from his/her employer in the 3 calendar months preceding the start of the period during which the CNS meets the financial cost of the sickness benefits (i.e. between January and March for benefits due in April).

In addition, supplements and additional expenses are taken into account on the basis of the average for the 12 months prior to the occurrence of the incapacity for work.

How is the amount of compensation calculated if it is not for a full month?

If the incapacity for work attested by the medical certificates does not cover a full calendar month, the amount of the basic monthly remuneration is divided by the number of days in the calendar month in question (30 days for April, 31 for May, etc.) and multiplied by the number of days of incapacity for work shown on the medical certificate(s).

Example: If the number of days of incapacity for work in April is 5 days, the sickness benefits due from the CNS is equal to 5 x 1/30 th of the calculated monthly basic remuneration.

The CNS applies this method of proportional computation (proration) because it does not know at the time of payment of the sickness benefit the exact working hours of the insured person.

IMPORTANT: The amount paid by the CNS may therefore differ from the amount the employer would have paid. For these specific cases, it is established that the employer is bound to settle this difference to his employee after the end of the state of crisis. Therefore, after the state of crisis, the employer must provide the employee with a statement detailing the remuneration that would have been due according to the usual mechanism of salary continuation ('Lohnfortzahlung')..

For questions relating to possible differences between the statement paid by the CNS and the salary that the insured person would normally have received from his employer, insured persons are invited to contact their employer..

How are CNS payments made?

Payments are made by bank transfer exclusively. The CNS must therefore have the bank details of the insured person.

On what date are the payments made by the CNS?

The dates of the monthly payments are determined in advance and can be consulted on the CNS website.

FAQ for employers

Where can I get answers to questions not included in this FAQ?

Please contact your employer if you have any questions about possible discrepancies between the settlement paid by the CNS and the salary you would normally have received from your employer.

For general questions:

  • Phone the hotline (for individuals and businesses) on 8002 8080;
  • If you are calling from outside the Grand Duchy, the hotline number is (+ 352 49 77 1 9200).

For CNS-specific questions: 2757- 4800 or the email address given on the statement.

Employers

What do employers have to do?

The cost of the benefits in the event of sickness is met in full directly by the CNS. Employers are therefore not required to continue paying sick employees their salary. They must nevertheless declare days of absence as a result of sickness to the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre commun de la sécurité sociale - CCSS). These declarations are important for the correct calculation of the sickness benefits.

IMPORTANT: Once the state of crisis is over, employers will be required to give their employees a statement (a kind of fictitious salary slip) setting out in detail the remuneration that would have been due for the period concerned in accordance with the usual mechanism for continuing to pay salaries ('Lohnfortzahlung'). If there is any discrepancy between this and the amount paid by the CNS, the employer will be required to settle the difference.

 

For how long is this arrangement expected to continue?

This is an exceptional measure which will be cancelled at the end of the month during which the state of crisis is lifted.

Does this measure also apply to leave for family reasons or leave for family support?

No - this measure does not include special leave. For these types of leave, employers are required to continue paying their employer's salary and are subsequently reimbursed.

How is payment made for leave for family reasons or leave for family support?
Employees

In principle, employees in the private sector continue to be compensated by their employer.

The benefits paid during the leave for family reasons are paid by the employer, who will be reimbursed all related salary costs during the said leave by the Employers' Mutual Insurance Scheme (Mutualité des employeurs - MDE).

During this crisis period, employers may ask for an advance in order to be able to continue paying their employees.

Non-salaried workers

Special leave for family reasons for the period from 16 to 31 March 2020 will be credited on the CCSS statement for March 2020 and which will be received by the non-salaried workers in May 2020, on condition that the non-salaried worker has submitted a corresponding application using the specific form for this, indicating the period actually not worked. The special certificate should be sent by e-mail to cns-crf-nonsalaries@secu.lu

Any credit balance on the statement may then be refunded, following the corresponding procedure with the CCSS. Leave for family reasons taken in April 2020 will then be refunded in June, and so on.

Private households

The usual provisions continue to apply.

Leave for family reasons, leave for family support and leave for incapacity for work are advanced by the employer of the private household and reimbursed by the CNS on the basis of a declaration.

For this purpose, special bulletins are sent to employers on a monthly basis which must be completed and returned by them together with a copy of the application drawn up by the employee.

How waivers are applied in calculating the 78 weeks

What about maternity leave?

Maternity leave is paid at the end of each month. The dates of the monthly payments are determined in advance and can be consulted here.

 

What about exemptions?

Exemptions from working are paid at the end of each month. The dates of the monthly payments are determined in advance and can be consulted here.

 

How waivers are applied in calculating the 78 weeks

Are the days of incapacity for work taken into account in calculating the 78 weeks?

No; days of incapacity for work during the crisis period are not included in the calculation of the 78 weeks that normally determine and limit entitlement to the benefits.

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