Women appear to face more difficulties than men in striking a balance between full-time work and family responsibilities. This is reflected in the relatively low female employment rate: at 56.9% in 2011, it was below both the Lisbon target for female employment and the EU average (58.5% in 2011). It was also far below the national male employment rate (72.1% in 2011). High part-time female employment is also a revealing indicator. In 2011, 36.1% of employed women (as opposed to 4.8% of men) worked part-time. The gender pay gap was 12% in 2010 which was below the EU average of 16.4% (2010).
Compared to the EU average of 2.3%, Luxembourg’s expenditure on family benefits is high, standing at 4% of the country’s GDP in 2009. Despite this, the at-risk-of poverty rate for children stood at 20.3% in 2011, which was close to the EU average of 20.5% from 2010. A wide range of benefits addressing these issues (as well as the engagement of fathers in childcare) are available to families in Luxembourg which are outlined below.
Measures addressing the families needs in case of child birth
The following allowances are available to address the family needs as a consequence of child birth and are part of social transfers to families in Luxembourg:
Pregnant women and women who have given birth and who have their legal residence in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg are entitled to maternity allowance for a period of 16 weeks (8 weeks before the expected date of delivery and 8 weeks after childbirth)
Anti-cumulating provisions regulate the support of the allowance with pecuniary allowance of maternity granted in Luxembourg, all allowances of similar nature paid abroad, wages paid 8 weeks before and 8 weeks after the childbirth, pecuniary allowance paid in case of illness, dole.
Birth allowance (Birth grant)
The birth of a viable child gives a right to a birth allowance, which is partly paid as a prenatal allowance, partly as a birth allowance, on the condition that the mother and the child have certain health checks..
Start of school allowance (New School Year allowance)
A start of school allowance is granted in August to all children aged at least six years old attending school. This allowance is intended to reduce the extra expenses caused by the start of school.
Education allowance (Child-raising Allowance)
An education allowance is granted to any person who is raising one or more children under the age of two in their own household.
A partial allowances is granted if the carer works part time..
The allowance is paid from the first day of the month following the end of :
- maternity leave
- special leave in case of adoption
- the 8 weeks after childbirth
The allowance continues to be paid where there twins or are at least 3 children under four.
The allowance is paid for a child up to the age of four who suffers from a physical or mental disability.
Parental leave benefit
A benefit is paid to either the father or the mother who stops work or reduces their hours in order to bring up a child, granted they can restart their job at the end of the leave. The parental leave system provides some flexibility for parents, as parents are allowed to take the parental leave in full time during six months or in part time during 12 months. According to statistics, men are prone to take the second parental leave, whereas women are prone to take the first parental leave.
Monthly payments from National Family Benefit Fund are made to each person with one or several dependent children in order to reduce the costs of caring for them and educating them.
Family allowance is paid until the child reaches 18 years; it is continued until the age of 27 years in case of secondary studies.
The family allowance is also continued until the age of 27 years for children suffering of a physical or mental disability.
In this case two conditions have to be fulfilled:
- the disability must be detected before the age of 18 years
- the person has to attend an educational establishment
The allowance ceases upon:
- marriage or declaration of partnership (except students)
- death of the child
The voucher-service system for childcare facilities
The voucher-service system for childcare facilities introduced in Luxembourg’s legislation in 2009 provides payment for childcare services offered by childcare facilities and parental assistance.
Both the child raising allowance and the parental leave allowance, allow fathers to be involved in caring for their children.
The Ministry for Equal Opportunities encourages fathers to be more involved in raising up children as defined by the national program for gender equality. One priority issue of the action plan is to promote reconciliation of family and work, which aims to raise the awareness of young fathers about parental leave and to better balance career prospects and fatherhood.
The law dated 8 September 2003 deals with the issue of domestic violence. It provides that a person who commits acts of violence against family members or other household members may be denied entry to their home for 10 days, extendable to three months subject to the request of the victim and Court decision. It protects the victim of domestic violence providing adequate measures and makes perpetrators aware of their responsibilities and the obligation to take professional advice.
Children with disabilities:
The following initiatives address the different needs for children with disabilities, offer out of school activities, promote better integration of children with disabilities into mainstream schooling and out of school environments, provide support to families dealing with children with disabilities and to children with disabilities, provide support to children with disabilities during vocational training in order to increase access to the labour market or to the working environment.
Children living in low-income households:
An education allowance is granted to working people or households with lower incomes who care for children. Households with low incomes raising children benefit to a bigger extent from gratuity hours and price reduction within the voucher system for child care facilities. The determination of the minimum guaranteed income takes into account the composition of the household including children.
The national action plan for equality between women and men 2009–2014 covers a set of measures including education on equality issues and covers health issues such as sexual health.
The National Youth Service (Service national de la jeunesse – SNJ) includes a unit «Transitions» that is responsible for SNJ programmes aimed at bridging the gap between schools and working life. These include the voluntary service and the project “Anelo”.
The Ministry for Equal Opportunities, through its affirmative action programme, works with the private sector to raise awareness about gender equality. Companies willing to participate in the affirmative action programme must take positive action measures concerning three priority themes: - equal treatment, equality in decision-making and equality in reconciling private and working life. Based on these actions, companies will offer their employees a working environment contributing to a better reconciling between private and working life.
Moreover, the affirmative action programme encourages participating companies to apply ideas developed by the Janusz Korczak parents’school. Those ideas enable employers to support employees in their role as parents and give them the opportunity to highlight the importance attached by companies to family life.
The information in the country profile was last updated in November 2012.