Luxembourg's General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises confirmed on Tuesday that it has paid out more than €265 million in financial aid to companies and the self-employed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Due to the unprecedented economic challenge posed by the COVID-19 crisis, the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises put in place a first emergency allowance for micro- and small enterprises in March last year. This direct and non-repayable aid provided for €5,000 in compensation. In this context, the General Directorate handled 6,215 eligible cases, which corresponds to a payment of €31,075,000.
In April 2020, the General Directorate set up a second emergency allowance of €5,000 for micro and small businesses (7,346 eligible cases processed / €36,730,500 paid) as well as an emergency allowance of €12,500 for companies employing between ten and 20 people (672 eligible cases processed / €8,400,000 paid).
Two additional emergency allowances for the self-employed of up to €2,500 (2,557 eligible cases processed / €6,392,500 paid) and between €3,000 and €4,000 (4,190 eligible cases processed / €13,344,500 paid) were implemented in April and May 2020 respectively.
June 2020 saw the creation of a recovery and solidarity fund for companies particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as specific aid for in-store retail trade. The recovery fund provided for a monthly non-repayable aid of €1,250 per employee and active self-employed worker and €250 per employee on partial unemployment (5,140 eligible cases processed / €41,800,000 paid). This aid extended from June to November 2020.
The specific aid for in-store retail trade provided for direct and non-repayble aid of €1,000 per employee and self-employed worker for the month of July 2020, €750 per employee for August 2020 and €500 per employee for September 2020 (2,671 eligible cases processed / €9,075,428 paid).
At the end of November 2020, Luxembourg's authorities decided to introduce new financial assistance for companies in the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic and whose financial situation makes it difficult to bear the new burden resulting from the increase in the minimum social wage. This aid takes the form of a single lump sum capital grant of up to €500 per employee, whose monthly remuneration is greater than or equal to the minimum social wage and less than or equal to the qualified minimum social wage.
In December 2020, the Luxembourg government further strengthened support for companies by setting up new non-repayable aid. The stimulus aid was broadened and extended until March 2021. At the same time, aid in the form of a contribution to the costs for companies whose activities have been seriously impacted by the pandemic was put in place (106 eligible files processed / €1,281,610 paid). This aid for uncovered costs applies from November 2020 until April 2021.
In January 2021, Luxembourg's Government Council approved, on the proposal of the Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Lex Delles, a bill aimed at setting up new, one-off and non-repayable financial assistance for the self-employed. The amount of the new aid varies according to the contributory income bracket in which the person is located; the amounts are set at €3,000, €3,500 and €4,000. The related bill will be tabled in the Chamber of Deputies soon.
In addition to these various direct and non-repayable aids, there is the capital grant in the form of a repayable advance which aims to meet liquidity needs. In this context, the General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises has processed 1,736 eligible files, which corresponds to a payment of €117,542,547. The Ministry of the Economy's payment of €18,461,947 as part of the repayable advance brings the total amount of this financial assistance to date to €136,004,494.
Eligible companies can currently submit their requests for the following types of aid: specific aid for in-store retailing and the recovery and solidarity fund for companies (deadline for both: 15 February 2021 inclusive), recovery aid and aid for uncovered costs (deadline for both: 15 May 2021 inclusive) and the repayable advance (deadline: 1 June 2021 inclusive).