Economy & Politics

Short-time working out of the “covid crisis” mode

This is now the end of “simplified conditions” for access to partial unemployment measures. The files submitted will now be subject to the same rules as before the pandemic after having benefited nearly 15,000 Luxembourg companies.

Patrick JACQUEMOT

Patrick JACQUEMOT

This is now the end of “simplified conditions” for access to partial unemployment measures. The files submitted will now be subject to the same rules as before the pandemic after having benefited nearly 15,000 Luxembourg companies.

For the social partners meeting on Thursday within the Conjuncture Committee, the 3,676 requests approved recourse to short-time work for June have a special flavor. A scent of fading crisis. In fact, companies which now submit an application to benefit from the coverage of 80% of their employees’ remuneration will have to refer to the same terms as at the start of 2020. When the covid had not yet disrupted the country’s economy.


Wirtschaft, Jugendarbeitslosigkeit in der Corona-Krise, Adem, Arbeitslos, Arbeitsamt, Foto: Lex Kleren / Luxemburger Wort

If the decline is not as spectacular as in March, the number of unemployed people fell further in Luxembourg in April, said Adem on Thursday. Vacancies are on the rise.


As of June 30, this is the end of the exceptional regime that had been put in place in March 2020, then amended in July. “Structural, simplified partial unemployment” has lived. From now on, the State considers that companies have had all the time necessary to organize themselves and consider the resumption of an activity adapted to the new face of their respective markets. This seems to be the case in view of the decreasing number of aid requests submitted to the Conjuncture Committee in recent months. Between May and June alone, this figure has decreased by almost 300 cases. Passing from 4,061 to 3,709 applicant companies, and in fact from 31,342 employees covered to 27,030.

Thus, to benefit from the payment by the State of 80% of the remuneration of employees in reduced activity, companies will have to prove one of the four basic circumstances. Namely: structural, economic, dependency and force majeure. Moreover, it is this last mode that has enabled several companies in the construction sector to benefit from partial unemployment from mid-May to the end of June. Indeed, despite a large order book, some face such shortages of raw material supply that it is impossible for them to work.

With this “return to normal” announced for partial unemployment, won’t companies lose a crutch that was still necessary for them not to fall? On the union side, the answer is no. Thus, for the LCGB, it is “obvious that no one has an interest in seeing companies shut down. So if we feel that the time is finally not for the recovery, we will adapt the aid system as happened over the months of this very special period ”, (r) assures the president of the LCGB, Patrick Dury.

Same tone from Stefano Araujo, OGBL representative within the conjuncture committee: “Short-time working is an instrument so that companies can continue to have their workforce, the qualifications that are essential for them to restart. Obviously there will be no miracle on July 1 and that suddenly the whole economy will restart as before; it will therefore always be necessary to support structures that are still in difficulty ”.

And unions, employers and ministries agree on one point: we must maintain a “phase of increased vigilance” especially vis-à-vis fragile sectors such as hotels and restaurants or events. “For these areas, like others, it is high time to reflect with the federations or at the level of the companies themselves on the signing of a job retention plan,” said Robert Fornieri of the LCGB who fears “of breakage without it ”.


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