Short-time working due to cyclical economic problems in the construction sector

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On 24 January 2024, the Government Council, on the advice of the Extraordinary Economic Committee of 23 January 2024, decided to declare certain branches of activity in the construction sector to be in crisis for a period of 6 months, from February to July 2024. Throughout this period, companies in the branches of activity concerned will be able to benefit from short-time working due to cyclical economic problems. Any extension of this decision will be decided at the end of the 6-month period. In the event of an improvement in business activity, an early lifting of the decision remains possible.

Businesses making use of short-time working due to cyclical economic difficulties commit to not making employees redundant for economic reasons.

Access to short-time working for a company is limited to 20 % of the total amount of hours normally worked on construction sites (mainly manual labour). Depending on the assignment, the employer allocates the non-working hours to their employees with predominantly manual tasks on construction sites.

During the short-time working period, the State reimburses the business 80 % of the salaries normally received by the employees during the non-work periods. Reimbursement is limited to 250 % of the social minimum wage. The business still has to pay social security contributions and salaries in respect of hours worked.

Who is concerned?

Eligible businesses

This scheme is designed for businesses in branches of the construction sector declared to be in crisis by the government:

  • construction of residential and non-residential buildings (NACE code 41.200);
  • demolition and site preparation (NACE code 43.1).

Further information on the NACE statistical classification of economic activities and a detailed description of the different activities can be found by following this link.

Eligible employees

The short-time working scheme for cyclical economic difficulties can be applied to construction site workers with predominantly manual tasks (on permanent or fixed-term contracts) whose place of work is in Luxembourg and who:

  • are not covered by a certificate of incapacity for work; and
  • do no longer have any work to do or can no longer be occupied on a full-time basis when the company can no longer ensure the normal operation of its activity.

Short-time working schemes cannot be applied to apprentices, to temporary workers or workers having tendered/received their notice.

Prerequisites

To apply for short-time working due to cyclical economic difficulties, the business must:

  • be established in Luxembourg;
  • hold a business permit granted by the competent authority;
  • belong to a sector declared to be in crisis by the government;
  • not be suffering from structural difficulties;
  • commit to not making any employees redundant for economic reasons.
  • have the NACE code 41.200 (construction of residential and non-residential buildings) or 43.1 (demolition and site preparation).

Short-time working due to cyclical economic difficulties comes within the scope of complementary job protection measures which, if the company's economic situation so requires, can be combined and/or applied simultaneously.

Preliminary steps

Before submitting an application via MyGuichet.lu, the employer is required to confirm, by means of the declaration provided for this purpose for businesses with (French, Pdf, 462 Kb) or without staff delegation (Pdf, 586 Kb), that the employees respectively the staff delegation, and, where applicable, the trade unions (in the event of a collective agreement) have been informed of the application for short-time working.

Deadlines

Short-time working applications must be submitted at the latest by the 12th day of the month preceding the requested short-time working period (for example, before 12 March 2024 for a short-time working application relating to the month of April 2024).

Applications cannot be submitted outside these dates. Short-time work benefits can never be granted retroactively.

Exceptionally, applications for short-time working for the month of February 2024 may be submitted from 1 to 12 February inclusive.

If a business wants to apply for short-time working for the months of February and March 2024, it must send 2 short-time working applications covering the respective months.

How to proceed

Submitting the application

Regardless of the situation that applies to the business, the employer, or their representative (e.g. a fiduciary), must submit the application to benefit from the short-time working scheme electronically using their business eSpace on the MyGuichet.lu platform. The person submitting the application needs:

  • a LuxTrust product (e.g. Token, Smartcard or Signing stick); or
  • an electronic identity card.

How to create a business eSpace on MyGuichet.lu

There are 2 possible scenarios:

  1. You are a new user of MyGuichet.lu. You must:
    • first register on MyGuichet.lu; and
    • then create a business eSpace.
  2. You already have a private eSpace on MyGuichet.lu. You can directly create a business eSpace without having to register again.

Further information as well as tutorials in relation with the business eSpace are available in our dedicated help page.

This online application tool was developed by the Ministry of the Economy and ADEM, with the support of the Government IT Centre (CTIE). Each request will be treated confidentially.

All requests made through any other communication channel will not be considered and will not be processed.

Admissibility of the application

The Economic Committee assesses the application for short-time work and submits a written opinion to the Government Council (Conseil de Gouvernement) which will decide whether or not to grant short-time work.

The Economic Committee sends an information email to the company informing it that the acceptance or refusal letter can be consulted in their eSpace on MyGuichet.lu.

If the application is approved, the company is authorised to resort to short-time working.

The company must nevertheless renew its application each month and inform the secretariat of the Economic Committee of any change in the situation.

Please note: the reduction in working hours covered by the short-time working scheme cannot exceed 1,022 hours per calendar year per full-time employee. For persons working on a part-time basis, the limit of 1,022 hours are prorated.

Validity period

Businesses must renew their application each month by logging back into the MyGuichet.lu assistant.

Amount of allowance

The payment of short-time working benefits is made on the basis of a statement.

During the period of short-time work, the State will reimburse the employer the compensatory benefit paid up to the amount of 80 or 90 % of the employee's normal hourly salary (provided the employee participates in continuing vocational training programmes during the non-work periods ).

The reimbursement is limited to 250 % of the social minimum wage for unskilled workers aged 18 or over. However, if this calculation indicates that the compensatory allowance ends up being lower than the social minimum wage for unskilled workers, the social minimum wage will be used instead.

Submitting the statement

Businesses must complete the online procedure on MyGuichet.lu so that ADEM can draw up a statement.

The declarant also has the possibility of downloading an XML list (French, Zip, 2 Kb) before starting the procedure on MyGuichet.lu.

In practice, for each month of short-time working, the employer or their representative receives an email/mail from ADEM inviting them to fill in the online form.

On this form, only the names and national identification numbers of the employees concerned will need to be filled in. ADEM will receive the other necessary data from the Joint Social Security Centre (CCSS).

The statement, together with the individual monthly statements (individual forms), must be submitted to ADEM, on pain of debarment, within 2 months of the month during which short-time working occurred.

Sanctions

All subsidies granted on the basis of deliberate misrepresentations will have to be repaid.

Subsidies granted on the basis of deliberate misrepresentations and as soon as there is deliberate failure to pay the compensatory allowance to one or more employees concerned or if the subsidies were used to other ends than the payment of salaries must be paid back. The beneficiary must reimburse the totality of the amounts received on the basis of all applications submitted and the benefits of short-time working will be withdrawn with immediate effect from the business concerned.

These offences are punishable by a fine of between EUR 251 and EUR 5,000.

Online services and forms

Who to contact

Ministry of the Economy – Economic Committee

National Employment Agency

2 of 18 bodies shown

Related procedures and links

Procedures

Job protection plan Short-time working and temporary layoffs

Links

Further information

Legal references

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