If you’ve just moved to Luxembourg and have started work, you might already be paying into the social security system. As an expat in a new country, it’s important to get your head around how the various rules and allowances work, as you never know when you might need them. This guide to social security in Luxembourg includes advice on the following:
- Social security in Luxembourg
- Receiving social security in Luxembourg
- Unemployment benefit in Luxembourg
- Sickness benefit in Luxembourg
- Maternity benefit in Luxembourg
- Child benefit in Luxembourg
- Disability benefit in Luxembourg
- Pension insurance in Luxembourg
- Survivor benefit in Luxembourg
- Social security and health insurance in Luxembourg
- Social security in Luxembourg for self-employed and freelancers
- Social benefits for low earners in Luxembourg
- Useful resources
Social security in Luxembourg
Luxembourg’s social security system was founded in 1901, with the advent of compulsory health insurance for workers. The social security system provides employees and self-employed workers with sickness and maternity insurance, pension insurance, and accident and long-term care cover. The Joint Social Security Centre (Centre commun de la sécurité sociale – CCSS) administers the system.
Employees and employers both make contributions to the social security system. Employers submit a monthly declaration of their staff’s salaries, and the CCSS calculates the total amount due. Workers have their contributions deducted directly from their wages.
Employees and employers contribute around 25% of the worker’s salary to the social security system, paying just over 12% each. Employee contributions cover sickness, pension insurance, and long-term care insurance. Employer contributions also cover accident insurance and occupational health. Pensioners and retirees do not need to contribute to social security in Luxembourg.
Who has to register for social security in Luxembourg?
Anyone who lives or works in Luxembourg, regardless of nationality, must enroll with the social security services. People living in Luxembourg but working in another country (cross-border workers) may also need to register. When you start a job in Luxembourg, your employer must file a declaration with the CCSS. The CCSS will then issue a social security card, and you can begin making contributions.
Receiving social security in Luxembourg
All workers in Luxembourg can benefit from the social security system, regardless of their country of origin. If you’re not in employment, you may qualify for protection under your home country’s social security system. However, this depends on whether your country has a social security treaty in place with Luxembourg.
Luxembourg has agreements with all EU countries and others such as the United States and China. Some bilateral agreements allow you to transfer or combine your benefits. For example, the EU’s agreement ensures residents only make social security contributions in one country, allowing them to avoid double taxation. Furthermore, periods of insurance, work, and paying tax in your home country will be taken into account if you need to make a claim.
Unemployment benefit in Luxembourg
Who can get unemployment benefit in Luxembourg?
Unemployment benefits support workers who are actively searching for employment in Luxembourg. To qualify for unemployment benefits, you need to be a resident of Luxembourg. Cross-border workers who work in Luxembourg but live abroad may need to apply for unemployment benefit in their country of residence.
You’ll need to prove you’ve worked at least 16 hours a week for 25 weeks to qualify for unemployment payments. How much you receive depends on how much time you’ve contributed to Luxembourg’s social security system. In addition, it may be possible to boost your record by including years worked in other EU countries, or in countries with which Luxembourg has a social security agreement.
Employees, self-employed people, and school-leavers can claim unemployment benefits. To qualify, you must have signed up for unemployment insurance at least six months before you lost your job.
Unemployment benefits correspond to 80% of the worker’s previous salary, or 85% if they have one or more children. However, there is a cap of two-and-a-half times the social minimum wage for the first six months. The benefit reduces to two times the social wage thereafter.
How to claim unemployment benefit in Luxembourg
If you’re about to become unemployed, you’ll need to apply for benefits within 15 days of your employment contract ending. You should register with your unemployment office online via MyGuichet.lu or by calling the National Employment Agency (Agence pour le développement de l’emploi – ADEM).
While registering, you must provide your details and documents relating to your previous employment. Once you have registered, you will meet with a guidance counselor who will be in touch with you during your job search. You will need to show them an up-to-date CV and prove that you are taking steps to find work.
Sickness benefit in Luxembourg
Social security in Luxembourg includes sickness benefit, which offers protection to workers who suffer from an illness that prevents them from attending work.
If you become sick, you must declare this to your employer immediately. If your absence lasts more than two days, you must provide your employer and your health insurance fund with a medical certificate from your doctor. You’ll also need to submit this medical certificate to the National Health Fund (CNS).
Salaried employees are entitled to their full salary up to the end of the calendar month in which the 77th day of sickness occurs. After that, the employer stops paying the worker’s salary, and the National Health Insurance Fund takes over paying benefits. While on sick leave, there are several conditions you must follow to avoid warnings and fines.
Some additional sickness benefits are available in Luxembourg. These include leave for parents or guardians in the event of a child’s sickness, compassionate leave to support a terminally ill family member, and grants to help with funeral costs.
Child sickness leave at full pay is available for up to 12 days (if the child is up to four years old), 18 days (four to 13 years old), or five days (13 to 18 years old). Compassionate leave is available for up to five days. Funeral grants are provided at a flat sum, set at €1,085 in 2022. You can find out more about these allowances on the European Commission website.
Maternity benefit in Luxembourg
To access maternity allowances from Luxembourg’s social security system, mothers-to-be must live in the country and (in most cases) must have worked for at least six months prior to their pregnancy. Maternity leave lasts for eight weeks before the planned due date and up to 12 weeks thereafter.
Maternity leave benefit amounts are the same as sickness benefits – 100% of the previous salary, capped at five times the social minimum wage. The National Health Fund (CNS) pays this allowance, not your employer. If you adopt a child, one parent will be granted up to 12 weeks’ leave under the same conditions.
To apply for maternity benefit, you’ll need to make a request to the CNS and provide a medical certificate giving the expected date of birth.
Child benefit in Luxembourg
A number of allowances may be available once the child is born. These include birth allowance, family allowance, and a back-to-school allowance. Residents will need to fill out application forms and submit these to the Children’s Future Fund (Caisse pour l’avenir des enfants – CAE) for each benefit.
Birth allowance is paid in three installments of €580.03. Each grant is subject to specific conditions. For example, the first payment is a pre-natal allowance, and expectant mothers must demonstrate they’ve attended their scans to qualify for it.
Family allowance is payable at €278.45 a month in 2022, increasing by €21.05 for children over six and €52.23 for children over 12. Back-to-school allowance is paid annually in August each year – in 2022, the payment is €115 for children over the age of six, or €235 for children over the age of 12.
Disability benefit in Luxembourg
Disability insurance reimburses fees paid to help a dependent person access care at home or in a nursing home.
Disabled adults who cannot find work due to their disability can apply for the severely disabled persons’ income allowance (revenu pour personne gravement handicapée – RPGH). The allowance is available to adults under 65 who exhibit at least a 30% reduction in their ability to work because of a physical or mental illness. The amount payable is in line with social inclusion income (revenu d’inclusion sociale – REVIS).
If you have the nationality of another EU or EFTA country, you need to show that you have the right to reside in Luxembourg for more than three months to receive this benefit. Otherwise, you must have lived in Luxembourg for at least five years in the last 20. Family members of those from Luxembourg, elsewhere in the EU/EEA, or Switzerland, do not need to prove their residency rights to receive this benefit.
To apply for RPGH, you must contact the Medical Commission (Commission médicale) of the ADEM. They will send you an application form and decide whether to grant the benefit.
An allowance is also available for disabled children (Allocation supplémentaire pour enfant handicapé).
Pension insurance in Luxembourg
To claim a full state pension in Luxembourg, workers must have contributed to social security for at least 40 years. Partial pensions are available for those who have made at least 10 years of contributions before the age of 65.
Survivor benefit in Luxembourg
The death of your partner – married or cohabitating – may entitle you to survivor benefits in Luxembourg.
There are two instances in which a survivor pension may be available – if the deceased was receiving a pension, or if they were actively employed and had made contributions for at least three years before their death. To apply for a survivor’s pension, you’ll need to contact the CNAP providing the relevant documentation, such as:
- bank account information
- a death certificate from the communal authority
- a family status certificate
- a marriage or civil partnership certificate
Social security and health insurance in Luxembourg
Once you’re enrolled in the social security system, you’ll be entitled to sickness and maternity benefits through your health insurance fund.
- The National Health Fund (Caisse nationale de santé – CNS or Gesondheetskees) covers workers in the private sector.
- The Health insurance fund for civil service and state employees (Caisse de maladie des fonctionnaires et employés publics – CMFEP) and Health insurance fund or civil service and communal employees (Caisse de maladie des fonctionnaires et employés communaux – CMFEC) cover public sector workers.
- The CFL Health Insurance Fund (Entraide médicale des CFL – EMCFL) covers railway workers
Any dependent family members covered by the main policyholder’s insurance can benefit from health insurance. To clarify, this extends to the spouse, partners, children, and some relatives who form part of the policyholder’s household. Family members of cross-border workers who reside in France, Germany, or Belgium may also be entitled to healthcare coverage.
Social security in Luxembourg for self-employed and freelancers
Self-employed workers and freelancers in Luxembourg must enroll for social security. This involves completing a ‘declaration of start of employment for self-employed persons’ form and sending it to the CCSS. You can fill out the form on MyGuichet.lu.
Self-employed workers must make contributions themselves. These contributions are based on either your last recorded taxable income or, if you’re new to the system, the social minimum wage for unskilled workers. If your income differs, you can adjust the amount you pay by contacting the CCSS. You will also receive a letter from them each year detailing your income and expected contributions.
Self-employed workers are exempt from social security if their professional income doesn’t exceed a third of the minimum social wage. Unemployment insurance covers workers for at least two years, with benefits calculated based on income.
Social benefits for low earners in Luxembourg
Residents of Luxembourg who require financial assistance may be able to apply for additional benefits.
Low-earners who earn below the minimum social wage in Luxembourg can apply for social inclusion income (REVIS). You must be:
- legally resident in Luxembourg
- registered on the National Registry of Natural Persons (RNPP)
- living at the address of your usual residence
- over 25 years old
- receiving an income below the legal threshold
- a registered job seeker
EU and EEA citizens must have lived in Luxembourg for at least three months before claiming REVIS. Third-country nationals must have been legally resident in Luxembourg for five years within the last 20 or have long-term residence. The amount of social income you can claim varies depending on your household – for example, people with children can claim an additional sum.
Families with lower incomes could also benefit from the cost of living subsidy and energy allowance (allocation de vie chère). To qualify, you’ll need to earn below a specific threshold, which varies depending on the number of people in your household. The cost of living benefit you’ll receive is also based on this – single people are eligible for payments of €1,652, while households of five or more people make double this amount – €3,304. Energy allowances range from €200-€400.
- Ministry of Social Security – information about the government department responsible for social security
- Guichet.lu – details on processes for registering and receiving social security, including leave and benefits
- ADEM – resources for jobseekers in Luxembourg
- CAE – information about family benefits
- CNS – Luxembourg health service website