Luxembourgh Times

Pressure for easier teleworking reaches parliament

Public campaign for 35-hour work week to also get parliament's focus

Hundreds of thousands of workers from abroad stream into Luxembourg each day

Hundreds of thousands of workers from abroad stream into Luxembourg each day © Photo credit: Lex Kleren

Luxembourg lawmakers will debate proposals seeking more flexibility to work from home and a shorter work week after petitions attracted thousands of supporters.

A petition calling for every Luxembourg worker, including cross-border employees, to be able to work from home two days a week received more than 9,000 signatures within 24 hours of launching in July. It gathered the support of almost 14,000 people by the time it closed at the end of August.

A second petition seeking a 35-hour working week for full-time employees received the backing of more than 6,000 people.

Lawmakers will now discuss both issues in the coming weeks after both campaigns easily crossed the threshold of 4,500 signatures, a statement on parliament’s website said on Wednesday. No date has been fixed.

Tax rules which discourage those employed in Luxembourg from working from their homes in Germany, France or Belgium have been restored after a two-year suspension during the pandemic.

Cross-border workers from Belgium now can telework for 34 days a year, while those living in Germany just 19 - less than one day a week.

French residents working in Luxembourg can do so for a maximum of 29 days per year without being taxed in both countries. A group of left-leaning French opposition parliamentarians from the Lorraine region, bordering Luxembourg, met with France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire last week to urge him to start negotiations between the two countries to extend that limit.

Luxembourg is an economic magnet in the wider region, with cross-border commuters making up half of the workforce, a number that continues rising.

Some 250,000 workers crossed into Luxembourg from abroad each day before the corona crisis, with the health care sector in particular heavily dependent on doctors and nurses residing outside the Grand Duchy.