New laws for Luxembourg in 2019
From 1 January 2019 a string of new laws will come into force in Luxembourg.
From health care – including salary entitlements, reporting diseases and free vaccinations – to a new crèche structure and better access to public information, the following new laws will take effect from the beginning of the year.
Employees will be entitled to sickness benefits for up to 78 weeks over a 104-week period – up from 52 weeks under the previous legislation. Under the changes, employees with long-term illnesses will also be entitled to a full salary for a reference period of 18 months. Full pay was previously available for 12 months.
Small-sized crèches which will take up to 11 children at a time will open for the first time on 7 January. The new model – dubbed the mini-crèche – aims to offer a middle ground between the family home and a larger infrastructure. The crèches will be able to take children from newborns to 12-year-olds, who will use it as a maison relais. Only four babies up to a year old will be allowed at each mini crèche and opening hours will run from 5am to 11pm.
Access to information
Public administration bodies will have to share documents with anyone who makes a request. In a bid to give people better access to information and increase transparency, public bodies will have one month to reply and must share the information if it is available. Bodies include government departments, communes, the Chamber of Deputies (parliament), the council of state, the ombudsman, the court of auditors and professional chambers.
Reporting infectious diseases
Doctors and medical laboratories will have to register certain diseases on an official list from 1 January in a bid to better monitor contagious or spreadable diseases. Lyme disease, measles, sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) and tuberculosis are among the diseases which will have to be registered. All medical experts will be bound by law to list the information.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine will be available free of charge to all children aged between nine and 13 years and to anyone at specific risk. HPV is a common virus but usually comes with no apparent symptoms or health problems. The virus can cause cancers, in particular cervical cancer and genital areas of women and men. The vaccines will be funded by the Health Ministry.
Dietary consultations reimbursements
Dietary consultations will be reimbursable on the national health service (CNS) in a bid to improve people's overall healthcare.
State financial aid for higher education will increase by 2.5% from the start of the next academic year, in September 2019.
End of free plastic bags
Shoppers will have to pay for plastic bags at stores and supermarkets from the start of the new year. In an attempt to reduce the number of single-use plastic bags the government will put a stop to some free-of-charge plastic bags. The new law means shoppers will have to pay for plastic bags thicker than 15 micrometres. Thinner ones will continue to be free of cost only if a bag is necessary for hygiene purposes or to help prevent food waste. The goal is to encourage people to use reusable bags when shopping.
Cost of living allowance
The cost of living allowance will be renewed for 2019 and the amount given will remain the same as last year. In January 2018 the government made slight changes to the allowance, allowing back-to-school benefits and childbirth benefits to not be taken into consideration when calculating a household's total income.
Minimum wage increase, REVIS
Minimum wage in Luxembourg will increase by 1.1% – up to €2,071.10 gross per month for unskilled workers and €2,485.32 for skilled workers. A new law increasing the amount allocated for social inclusion income (REVIS) – previously known as RMG – will also up the amounts of a number of social benefits. The changes come as a result of a constant rise in salaries between 2016 and 2017. Pensions will also be adjusted upwards by 0.8%.
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