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Prepare for the birth of your child

The birth of a child is a moment of intense happiness, shared by both the parents and the family. But in practical terms, you need to keep a clear head to get ready for the arrival of the new baby, and to fulfil all the obligatory formalities.

Getting ready for your new baby

Congratulations, you are looking forward to a happy event. Once you have taken in the good news, it is time to take various steps to prepare for the new arrival under the best possible conditions. Let us start with matters relating to your job.

  • Preparing for the birth

    Job-related measures

    Congratulations, you are looking forward to a happy event. Once you have taken in the good news, it is time to take various steps to prepare for the new arrival under the best possible conditions. Let us start with matters relating to your job.

    Notifying your employer of your pregnancy

    By law you can choose the most appropriate time for informing your employer that you are pregnant. You should inform your employer by recorded delivery letter with acknowledgement of receipt. Alternatively, you can deliver the letter by hand in exchange for a signed copy. In the letter you should indicate the anticipated date of the birth and the expected dates of your maternity leave. Enclose a pregnancy certificate from your doctor.

    As soon as your employer receives your pregnancy certificate, you cannot be dismissed until 12 weeks after the birth.

    Medical consultations during working hours

    All pregnant women are allowed time off work to attend the medical examinations listed below if they must take place during working hours:

    • A dental check-up as soon as the mother-to-be becomes aware of her condition, but not later than the fifth month of pregnancy;
    • The first check-up, which takes place before the end of the third month;
    • The second check-up, which must take place no later than the second half of the fourth month;
    • The third check-up, which should take place during the sixth month;
    • The fourth check-up, which takes place during the first half of the eighth month;
    • The fifth and final check-up, which is scheduled for the first half of the ninth month.

    This time off is considered to be an integral part of your usual working hours and is paid as such.

    How maternity leave works

    You are entitled to eight weeks' prenatal maternity leave and eight weeks’ postnatal maternity leave.

    Postnatal maternity leave can be extended by four weeks if the baby is born prematurely (before the 37th week), in the event of a multiple birth or if breastfeeding. The employee concerned is prohibited from working during maternity leave. If the baby is born before the due date, unused prenatal leave days are carried forward to postnatal leave.

    The employee must send the CNS a medical certificate indicating the due date for the birth. This certificate must be issued during the final 12 weeks of pregnancy. After the birth you should send a copy of the birth certificate to the CNS.

    Caisse nationale de santé (CNS)
    Department: Benefits in cash
    L-2979 Luxembourg

    How parental leave works

    See “Things to do after the birth”

    Organising childcare

    Childcare is frequently something of a minefield for parents. Finding a suitable childcare centre can take up a lot of time and energy. First you need to decide what type of childcare centre you want for your child.

    You need to start looking as soon as you can. Demand for infant care centres is greater than the supply available. For this reason we recommend that you start looking after the third month of your pregnancy. A list of government-registered and non-government registered childcare centres, parental assistants (Dageselteren) and after-school care centres is available on the website www.guichet.public.lu.

    These care centres and home care solutions take various forms:

    Creches (0 – 4 years)

    The Ministry for the Family, Integration and the Grande Région defines as a creche any non-residential educational childcare service for children below age four, and for pre-school children.

    In Luxembourg, creches can be government-registered and subsidised, or run by the private sector. Find out what services your centre offers, and the cost of caring for your child. This cost can be substantial.

    Childminders (0 – 6 years)

    A childminder's role is looking after young children up to the age of six, usually at the parents' home. The childminder is responsible for your child's development for a few hours or for the whole day. She must ensure that the child's awareness and well-being are fostered through suitable play and activities. Many childminders are independent and are paid directly by the parents. Others work for an organisation such as a creche.

    Rather than relying on your personal impression, use a registered childminder. If you can, try to get references from parents who have already used the services of the person concerned.

    Parental assistants (< 18 years)

    Parental assistance consists of caring for minor children on a regular, paid basis. Depending on the age of the child being cared for, this may include the following activities:

    • Supervision while resting and sleeping;
    • Care and supervision if the child is ill;
    • Care during set times agreed between the parties, usually outside school hours;
    • Meals, comprising two main meals and snacks;
    • Supervising and organising activities of a social and educational nature;
    • Help with homework.

    A list of parental assistants operating in Luxembourg can be downloaded from the website www.guichet.public.lu.

    Contact the Dageselteren agency for more information about parental assistance.

    Agence Dageselteren
    11, rue du Fort Bourbon / L-1249 Luxembourg
    Tél. : (+352) 26 20 27 94 – 1
    Website: www.dageselteren.lu.

    Child day care centres (4 – 12 years)

    A child day care centre is defined as any service that provides non-residential educational care for children in therapeutic care, pre-school and primary children at a professional centre outside school hours and during school holidays. For more information you should contact the Entente des Foyers de Jour asbl.

    Entente des Foyers de Jour asbl
    4, rue Jos Felten / L-1508 Luxembourg
    Tél. : (+352) 46 08 08-360
    Website: www.efj-formation.lu.

    Nursery (< 8 years)

    A nursery is defined as any service that provides spontaneous non-residential care and learning for children up to the age of eight at a professional centre, for up to 16 hours a week per child. For more information, contact the Entente des Foyers de Jour asbl.

    After-school care (< 18 years old)

    After-school care centres provide temporary non-residential social and educational care for children and young people up to age 18. The after-school care system is a local authority-run system that organises after-school care for children and the young. It is intended for families that live in the commune and for children attending school in the commune. After-school care centres offer a comprehensive range of services, such as:

    • Remaining open and welcoming students, normally outside school hours;
    • Meals, including lunch and snacks;
    • Supervision and organisation of activities;
    • Help with homework.

    Contact your commune if you need further information. A list of after-school care centres can be downloaded from the website www.guichet.public.lu.

    Things to do before the birth

    The birth is fast approaching and you still have a thousand and one things to do to get ready for your new arrival. If you don't know where to start, make sure you deal with the following as a priority:

    Birth list

    Don't leave drawing up a list of the things you will need for the baby until the very last minute. You really need plenty of time to think about and prepare a list of the most important things you will need for your baby and yourself. Ask friends for advice or make an appointment with specialist shops that offer a birth list service, preferably when the shop is not busy.

    Do not hesitate to test the various products, to see how they compare in use. There is no point buying a top-of-the-range pram if you are unable to fold it up on your own. First make a list of the items you will need for the first few months after the birth. Invite friends and family who would enjoy helping you choose the items on your list.

    To save money, remember to ask friends who already have children for help. Their attics are probably overflowing with unwanted items that would be of great use to you.

    Birth announcement

    Even with the internet, printed cards are still the most popular way of announcing a birth. To avoid a last-minute rush, start preparing your cards two months before the baby is due. If you are creative you can make them yourself, otherwise use a specialist greetings card maker. Your budget will depend on the size you choose, the text and the number of cards you order. First draw up a list of recipients and prepare the envelopes in advance.

    If you have left a birth list with a shop, remember to mention it on the card.

    Getting your home ready

    There is more to getting your home ready for your baby than choosing a colour for his or her bedroom. Cosy as it may be, your home could be full of dangers for your baby. A baby may not move much in the first few weeks, but will soon be crawling left, right and centre. Here are just some of the points you should bear in mind.

    • Install a safety gate if you have stairs. This will mean you can let your baby explore the house without risking a fall. Make sure it closes firmly so that your child will not be able to just pull it open. Be sure to choose a gate that meets European safety standards;
    • Fit electric socket covers. Children have a peculiar fascination for electric sockets and love poking their fingers and other objects into them. You must therefore buy vacuum or key-operated socket covers and remember to hide electric cables behind furniture;
    • Make corners of tables and doors safe. Your child could get hurt by the corners of tables, cupboard doors and drawers. Fit protectors to the corners of your furniture so that your baby will not get hurt by bumping into them. For the same reason, fit cupboard and drawer locks.
    • Keep small objects out of the reach of tiny fingers. Children will happily put anything they lay their hands on in their mouths. Keep an eye on them and place objects that they could swallow out of reach.
    • Etc.
  • Things to do after the birth

    Registering the birth

    All births must be registered with the clerk of the register of births and deaths in the commune in which the child is born, within five days of the birth. If the final day before the deadline is a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, the deadline will be extended to the next business day.

    One of the parents must register the birth. Alternatively, a doctor, midwife or other person who was present at the birth (on presenting the Birth Notice issued by the doctor or midwife) may do this.

    The father is entitled to two extra days’ leave if he is a private employee, and four days if he is a civil servant, in which to register the birth with the various authorities. Mothers are automatically entitled to maternity leave.

    Leave and special arrangements

    When your child is born, the law imposes a number of arrangements so that you can enjoy your new status as parents to the full.

    Maternity leave

    See “Preparing for the birth”.

    Leave for breastfeeding

    If a mother is breastfeeding, postnatal leave is extended by four weeks. It will thus be for 12 weeks after the birth. To qualify you must send a medical certificate to the Caisse National de Santé confirming that you are breastfeeding. Your doctor cannot issue this certificate until five weeks after the birth. However, it must have been issued by the seventh week.

    If you take parental leave immediately after maternity leave, you must also send the Caisse Nationale des Prestations Familiales (CNPF) a medical certificate confirming that you are breastfeeding.

    Returning to work while breastfeeding

    Breastfeeding mothers are entitled to two breastfeeding breaks of 45 minutes per day of full-time working (once at the start of the day and once at the end of the day). If the only break during the working day is a one-hour break, or if mothers are unable to breastfeed in or around the workplace, the two breaks can be combined in one 90-minute period. Breastfeeding time is treated as working time and is paid at the normal rate.

    Your employer may require you to produce a medical certificate confirming that you are breastfeeding. (cf. www.sante.public.lu).

    Parental leave

    Parental leave is an arrangement whereby parents are able to take a career break in order to devote themselves to raising their children for a certain period, with the guarantee of a flat-rate salary and the option of returning to their job at the end of the leave period. Parents who both work in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and meet the eligibility criteria both have an individual right to parental leave for the same child.

    Parental leave lasts for either six months (full time) or 12 months (part time). To claim parental leave, parents must meet a number of eligibility criteria. An applicant must therefore:

    • Be the parent of a legitimate, natural, legitimised or adopted child aged five or more and in receipt of child benefits;
    • Have their home and be permanently resident in Luxembourg.

    Cross-border workers may also apply for parental leave, under certain conditions. These include having been working in Luxembourg for at least 12 months at the time of the birth, and being in receipt of child benefit from the Caisse Nationale des Prestations Familiales (in Luxembourg) for the child concerned.

    Request to be sent to the employer

    The employer must receive the first request for parental leave at least two months before parental leave starts, by recorded delivery letter with acknowledgement of receipt. The employer cannot refuse to grant parental leave, except where the request has not been submitted in the statutory format and deadline.

    The employer cannot refuse to grant first parental leave that has been properly requested. It may however refuse to grant part-time parental leave over 12 months, and require the parent to take full-time leave (over six months). The employer may, in the case of second parental leave (i.e. parental leave not taken subsequent to maternity leave) require the parent to postpone the leave starting date.

    Parental leave for the self-employed

    Parents who are self-employed must notify the Caisse Nationale des Prestations Familiales of the starting date of their parental leave not later than two months before starting maternity leave, by recorded delivery letter with acknowledgement of receipt. They should enclose a sworn statement with their request.

    Child benefits (source : www.cnpf.lu)

    Birth allowances and child benefit are governed by Book 4 of the Luxembourg Social Security Code, which can be consulted on www.secu.lu. Whether they are granted depends on where you are domiciled and your place of residence. Make sure you understand your rights so that you do not miss out on benefits.

    Birth allowance

    The purpose of the birth allowance is to prevent mother and baby having health problems resulting from the pregnancy and the birth. It also aims to reduce infant mortality by providing medical supervision from the start of pregnancy through to the child's second birthday.

    The birth of any viable child (gestation of six months or more) entitles the mother to a birth allowance. This is paid in three instalments:

    • First instalment: prenatal allowance;
    • Second instalment: birth allowance itself;
    • Third instalment: postnatal allowance.

    On receipt of your request, a total birth allowance of EUR 1,740.09 (at 31 December 2013) is paid in three instalments of EUR 580.03. The payment of each instalment is subject to various criteria.

    Prenatal allowance

    To be eligible for a prenatal allowance, during her pregnancy the mother-to-be must undergo at least five check-ups by a gynaecologist and a dental check-up by a dentist.

    The first instalment of the birth allowance is paid provided that the mother-to-be is legally domiciled in Luxembourg or is affiliated to Luxembourg (non-resident) at the time of the last medical check-up, and sends the medical certificates issued by the examining doctor to the Caisse Nationale des Prestations Familiales.

    The birth allowance itself

    The second instalment is paid only if the mother-to-be is legally domiciled in Luxembourg or is affiliated to Luxembourg (non-resident) at the time of the birth.

    The mother must also undergo a postnatal medical examination by a gynaecologist the day after the birth at the earliest.

    Postnatal allowance

    The third instalment of the birth allowance is paid provided that the child is raised continuously in Luxembourg from birth until the age of two, or that at least one of the two non-resident parents is affiliated with Luxembourg on a continuous basis during this period.

    The child must also undergo two perinatal check-ups and four subsequent paediatric check-ups until the age of two.

    Child benefit

    Child benefit is normally reserved for any child actually residing continuously in Luxembourg and legally domiciled there. The right to child benefit may also arise in connection with a professional activity carried out by one of the parents in Luxembourg.

    The benefit is payable starting in the month of the birth until the child's 18th birthday. With the exception of the month of birth, the conditions for granting child benefit must be met on the first day of each month. The right to child benefit continues until the child's 27th birthday at the latest for students studying full time in secondary education and vocational secondary education.

    Child benefit is awarded irrespective of the family's income, and the amount varies depending on the number of children. To know what this amount is, you should refer to the social security entitlements in force. Since 2006, child benefit paid by the Caisse Nationale des Prestations Familiales has not been index-linked.

    For more information visit www.cnpf.lu.

  • Examining the tax implications

    Tax bonuses for children

    All families that are in receipt of child benefit and pay tax in Luxembourg are entitled to child tax bonuses. Paid by the Caisse Nationale des Prestations Familiales, the bonus is set at EUR 76.88 per month (at 31 March 2014) for each child in receipt of child benefits.

    The bonus consists of an automatic allocation, in the form of a benefit, of the child tax allowance and is deducted before employee PAYE. The tax bonus constitutes both a tax rebate and a child benefit. It is also paid to families that were not eligible for the tax allowance in the past.

    Standard rate allowance for childcare costs

    The standard rate allowance is a maximum of EUR 3,600 per tax year. It cannot exceed the costs actually incurred or EUR 300 per month. In terms of PAYE, resident employees may ask for a deduction to be added to their PAYE slip. Such a request should be submitted to the competent RTS (Retenue d’Impôts sur les Traitements et Salaires) tax office in the employee's place of domicile.

    The standard rate allowance may relate to three different types of cost. If the costs incurred are combined, the standard rate allowance may be granted once only.

    Source : www.impotsdirects.public.lu.

    Domestic services costs

    Domestic services costs are the amounts incurred for cleaners, housekeepers and other persons in the home if they are employed either directly by the taxpayer or indirectly through a company or association. These persons must have been declared to the social security organisations and must mainly carry out domestic chores in the taxpayer's home.

    Help and care costs resulting from dependency

    The help and care costs resulting from dependency to be taken into account are the sums incurred in employing persons either directly by the taxpayer or indirectly through a company or association to provide the help and care needed as a result of the dependent condition of the taxpayer, her spouse if taxed jointly with her, or a child that makes them eligible for a tax allowance. The taxpayer must have declared any persons employed to the to the social security organisations.

    Childcare costs

    The childcare costs to be taken into account are the sums incurred for persons caring for a child around the clock, or on a day care basis, only if such care has been organised by an approved organisation, and for duly approved creches, day care centres and nurseries.

    Sums incurred in another EU member state are also treated as childcare costs if the persons and organisations providing such care have been approved by the competent authority in their country.

    The allowance is granted in relation to children eligible for a tax allowance (tax class) and aged under 15 on 1 January of the tax year. The age limits stipulated do not apply to disabled children.

    For further information see www.impotsdirects.public.lu.

  • Saving for your child

    Billy Savings account

    By making regular deposits into this savings account, you help your child build savings from an early age, as well as learn about money and saving. When your child reaches the age of 12, this account automatically converts to a young saver’s account but keeps the advantages of a Billy savings account. The account is frozen until the child reaches majority.

    In addition to being free, the Billy savings account offers benefits such as:

    • A preferential interest rate;
    • An investment growth bonus, calculated on any positive difference between the balance at the start of the year and that at the end of the year.

    At BIL, all children with a Billy savings account have automatic membership of the Billy Club. Until they are 12, members of the Billy Club enjoy super benefits with our partners. Your child will enjoy competitions, surprises and gifts all year round.

    Find out more

    Juvena life insurance

    This modern investment, in the form of a life insurance policy, will enable your child to draw on appreciable financial support when he or she embarks on his or her adult life.

    In addition, Juvena guarantees certain protection:

    • You retain control over the policy for its entire term;
    • You earn an attractive rate of return on your savings;
    • In the event of the policyholder’s death, the insurance company continues to pay the premiums on the policyholder’s behalf.

    Find out more

    Wüstenrot mortgage savings

    This is a savings account that will host early contributions to your child's future home.

    In addition to this, it provides you with a number of benefits:

    • You benefit from an attractive interest rate on savings;
    • Savers pay no account custody charges until their 20th birthday;
    • You enjoy tax benefits.

    Find out more

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