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20 February 2019

Luxembourg: the year 2019 brings several legislative changes

At the beginning of 2019, the Ministry of social security issued a new set of 'social parameters' that are due to come into force on 1 January 2019. The figures include the country's latest regulation amendments. As a consequence, the gross minimum social wage and the social protection benefits will increase.

As per 1 January 2019, a series of new laws have been implemented which have serious implications for workers and their families. Most of the measures are seen as an answer to 2017 data provided by the national statistical office Statec on risk of poverty that indicated an increase in all categories of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion. The at-risk-of-poverty rate went up to almost 30% of the population, including 13.7% of the country's workers.

Starting 1 January 2019, the country’s minimum wage has increased by 1.1%, or 22 euro, to a monthly gross of 2,071.10 euro for unskilled workers (over the age of 18 years) and 2,485.32 euro for skilled workers (over 18 years). The law increasing the amount allocated for social inclusion income (REVIS) effects the amounts of a number of social benefits in upward direction. Pensions will be adjusted upwards by 0.8%. The changes are the result of a constant rise in salaries between 2016 and 2017. The change of sickness allowance entitles workers to sickness benefits up to 78 weeks over a 104-week period (it was 52 weeks under the previous legislation). Workers with long-term illnesses are entitled to a full salary for a reference period of 18 months, an increase with 6 months compared to the previously 12 months.

The cost of living allowance has been renewed for 2019 with the same amount given as in 2018. In January 2018, the government modified this allowance slightly, allowing back-to-school and childbirth benefits not be considered when calculating a household's total income. The ministry of social security also published its annual report 2018, which provides a very comprehensive overview of all social protection schemes and the responsible government bodies and institutions.

Furthermore, the incoming government has suggested to parliament increasing the total of days off that workers can take as holiday, which would take the minimum number of holidays up from 25 days a year to 26.

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