Family policy: For a better way of living together
The DP advocates a contemporary family policy that focuses on the well-being of children and parents. Under the impetus of the DP, family policy has been thoroughly modernised in the past legislative periods. Thanks to the flexibilisation and better remuneration of parental leave, as well as the upgrading of paternity leave from two to ten days, we have enabled all parents to take a stronger role in joint family life. Families were given more time for each other and thus strengthened their bond with their children. The indexation of child benefits, the introduction of free Maison Relais and free access to music lessons also relieved the financial burden on families. The introduction of the REVIS (“revenu d’inclusion sociale”) especially counteracted poverty among children and single parents.
The “time” factor will continue to be at the forefront of our actions. We want to enable parents to divide family time and work even more flexibly and according to their own needs. We will therefore take further concrete measures to improve the compatibility of family and work.
For the DP, every person should be able to decide freely and self-determinedly at every stage of life where and how they want to live. This is especially true for our senior citizens. In this context, a far-reaching reform concerning the quality of services for the elderly was initiated under the leadership of the DP. It strengthens their rights and ensures a high quality of the services they use within the framework of, for example, old people’s homes or care services.
In addition, this reform finally leads to more transparency with regard to prices and services offered as well as their quality. Equally, the DP wants to ensure that everyone can afford a room in a retirement and nursing home regardless of their means. Therefore, the urgently needed reform of the so-called “Accueil gérontologique” was developed. It will provide more resources to people in need, cover basic needs financially and guarantee a so-called pocket money that enables active participation in social life.
Thanks to the efforts of the DP, the bed capacity in the senior citizens’ area was significantly expanded. There are currently over 6,600 beds in 53 different facilities in Luxembourg. Additional beds are being planned for the coming years to meet the increasing demand for nursing beds. The DP will ensure that sufficient beds continue to be available in the future and that older people have the opportunity to lead a self-determined life.
With the new law on the accessibility of public spaces, streets and residential buildings, we have made a significant contribution to the autonomy of people with disabilities. In the future, all places used by the public, including the common areas of private housing, must be accessible without barriers. We thus strengthen the free mobility and self-determination of persons with disabilities. We have also improved the accessibility of various products and services by implementing a new EU directive. The creation of an advisory board for accessibility also promotes the active involvement of those affected.
In addition to accessibility, we are also concerned with strengthening social cohesion and cultural exchange at the local level. For this reason, the DP-led Ministry of Family Affairs launched the pilot project “Pakt vum Zesummeliewen” in 2021, in which more than 30 municipalities are now participating. This project strengthens the integration of new fellow citizens, the peaceful coexistence in the community and the active inclusion of all citizens. The pilot project will be replaced and expanded by the future law on intercultural coexistence.
The fight against poverty and social exclusion is another important focus for the DP. In the current legislative period, we have taken numerous measures to provide targeted support for people on low incomes. Our central concern here was to make solidarity the guiding principle. The regular adjustment of the minimum wage and the REVIS to wage and price developments, the introduction of the energy premium and the upgrading of the cost-of-living allowance (“Allocation de vie chère”) have mitigated the impact of the energy crisis for lower-income households. To ensure even better support for the most vulnerable members of our society in the future, the government has also implemented a 50% increase in staff in the social welfare offices.
The reform of parental leave has proved to be an enormous success. The flexibilisation and the introduction of adequate financial support have led to significantly more families taking up parental leave. The sharp increase in the number of fathers making use of the reform is particularly pleasing. This led to all parents being able to take on a stronger role in family life and strengthened parental bonds with the children. The DP wants to continue to strengthen parents’ freedom of choice and, if necessary, to adapt the legal provisions on parental leave even better to the individual needs of family life.
Furthermore, we will advocate for an expansion of parental leave. Together with the social partners, we will work out solutions with the goal of extending parental leave by up to three months.
The DP wants to negotiate, together with the social partners, a temporary right to part-time work for all parents who have children under 13. In doing so, the DP will examine to what extent this period can be financially compensated within the framework of the pension insurance.
The circumstances of mothers-to-be can vary greatly from person to person. In order to meet the different needs of future mothers, we want to give women the freedom to take maternity leave more flexibly for up to six weeks, according to their personal circumstances, in agreement with their doctor and their employer.
To further strengthen the bond between newborns and fathers, the DP wants to extend paternity leave from ten to fifteen days with full pay. The costs are largely covered by the state. The five additional days of leave are to be taken flexibly in consultation with the employer within a period of three months after the birth or adoption. Same-sex couples should also be able to take advantage of this leave.
As part of the European Directive 2019/1158 , the right to leave for carers for five working days per year was enshrined. The DP wants to extend this right, which is currently limited to persons living in the same household, in certain cases. Especially households in which, for example, one or more persons with a disability or single parents live, cannot make full use of this well-intended measure. Therefore, the DP wants to extend this right of leave under certain conditions to persons living outside the household, if authorised to do so by the persons concerned.
The DP will continue to index the child benefit on a regular basis. In addition, the DP will take targeted measures to cushion the costs associated with children for parents. Since a STATEC study commissioned by the Ministry of Family Affairs has shown that there is a funding gap for children over the age of 12, the DP will specifically increase child benefits for this age group.
Refer to chapter on Work
The classic family has evolved and many different family forms have become established over the past decades. The Adoption Act is intended to take into account societal models as they exist today. By introducing a modern law and facilitating adoptions for unmarried couples and individuals, inequalities should be abolished and the best interests of the child should be put at the centre.
Lesbian couples currently have to go through a lengthy adoption procedure in order for the non-birth mother to adopt their child. Also, this procedure can start at the earliest three months after the birth of the child. Gay couples are subject to the same rules in the case of a foreign birth. The same conditions do not apply to heterosexual couples. To eliminate the inequality in treatment between heterosexual and homosexual couples, the DP advocates for automatic recognition of same-sex parents.
The DP is committed to ensuring and controlling the quality of services for older citizens, for example in old people’s and nursing homes as well as mobile care services, day centres, meals on wheels, tele alarm and other services for senior citizens. The present draft law 7524 defines very high-quality standards, creates price transparency and strengthens the rights of seniors vis-à-vis service providers. Complaint rights are improved, ethics councils are set up and a standing committee is created to ensure and further develop quality. We will implement this law consistently in the coming years and review its efficiency after three years to ensure that the structures meet the objective quality criteria necessary for high-quality services.
The DP will ensure that everyone can afford a room in a retirement or nursing home in the future. Therefore, the DP recently introduced a draft law in parliament that significantly improves the current money rates of the so-called “Accueil gérontologique”, upgrades the so-called pocket money and introduces additional financial support to cover the costs of basic hygiene products, hand and bath towels, washing clothes and access to telecommunication services. The DP will implement this law quickly.
In addition, the DP hopes that the price transparency created by the new Quality Act will help stabilise prices in old people’s and nursing homes.
Refer to chapter on Mobility
The benefits of long-term care insurance only apply from a care need of 3.5 hours per week and an expected duration of care of more than six months. In addition, various services, such as the costs of preparing and administering medication, are not covered by long-term care insurance. These costs are currently borne by the elderly themselves. The DP will therefore review the benefits catalogue of the long-term care insurance, develop new models and adapt them if necessary.
The DP has worked to ensure that medical care remains guaranteed in old people’s and nursing homes during nights, holidays and weekends. The DP will continue this convention with the doctors in the future.
To improve the quality of care, the DP wants modern technologies to make greater inroads into the old-age and care sector. These include digital health monitoring solutions, telemedicine and telecare, and the use of robotics. This way, we hope to help promote the independence and well-being of the elderly and at the same time relieve the nursing staff. In addition, unnecessary, costly and stressful transfers to hospitals for the residents can be avoided in the future, thereby improving the residents’ quality of life.
Older people in particular have difficulties returning home after a hospital stay, as their house, housing or immediate family environment cannot cope with the new circumstances (limited mobility, specific medical care…). The DP therefore wants to create structures for people who need care services for a certain period of time after a medical intervention. On the one hand, this will relieve the hospitals and provide people with high-quality care in a safe and supervised environment.
In this legislature, we have created new training opportunities for health and nursing staff, including four bachelor’s degree programmes in specialised nursing sciences. To further increase the attractiveness of these professions, we will create more bridges between educational opportunities and ensure that students can carry on their continued trainings from one level to the next. In addition, we will conduct an in-depth analysis and review of the distribution of tasks between doctors, nurses and ancillary staff in order to give more responsibility to the less qualified professionals as well. We will also continue to promote the attractiveness of wages and working conditions.
In order to prepare caregivers for specific challenges in dealing with older people, the DP will offer specific additional training on a mandatory basis for some of the nursing staff. This is especially important when dealing with people suffering from dementia or people who need end-of-life care. In addition, we will provide training and specific support for people caring for a relative at home.
The DP will continue to financially support the construction and modernisation of old people’s and nursing homes. New housing and living concepts will be given special attention, especially for people for whom their own home has become too big on the one hand and who, on the other hand, are not yet ready to move into a retirement or nursing home. We will therefore support projects that close this gap in services and offer older citizens a safe and varied environment that ensures easy access to doctors as well as to care or other necessary services.
The old people’s and nursing homes, the so-called “clubs seniors” and the voluntary services are intended to bring people, young and old, together and make their contribution against social isolation and towards an inclusive society. We want to expand the activities of the “clubs seniors” and cover all communes within the next five years. We will promote initiatives for intergenerational housing and activities.
We will further improve the information available for older people by bundling the countless offers and initiatives on the “LuxSenior” website and making them easily accessible. In addition, the DP will conduct information and awareness-raising campaigns and create training opportunities in order to offer older people themselves or the people in their immediate environment the necessary assistance they need depending on their situation in life. This also affects people’s transition from active working life to retirement. Furthermore, the DP will support the partners who train older people and promote voluntary work among older people.
Luxembourg signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 30 March 2007. It is the first international convention to specifically regulate the rights of persons with disabilities. On its basis, a national action plan for persons with disabilities was drawn up for the period 2019-2024, which we will consistently implement and evaluate together with those affected. The goal of this Action Plan is to develop a broad range of solutions that enable all people to live in an inclusive society that is open to all and draws its strength from its diversity. We will consistently implement the objectives formulated in this action plan. These are is about awareness raising, equal recognition before the law, independent living and inclusion in the community, the right to freedom of expression, opinion and access to information, education, health, work and employment, and participation in political and public life.
Accessibility is an essential element for the participation of people with disabilities in social and professional life. The law of 7 January 2022 on the accessibility of places open to the public, public roads and apartment buildings represents a milestone in the field of accessibility. We will implement this law consistently and expand it if necessary. It provides for financial aid in a first phase and high penalties in a second phase to ensure that publicly accessible places are made barrier-free or, if possible, converted.
We want adults under protection to be supported in their decisions and activities, rather than having others decide on their behalf. That is why we want to revise the legislation on the protection of adults in need of support and strengthen the rights of people with disabilities.
For all people to be able to participate equally and self-determinedly in social, cultural and political life, they must have access to information in a way they can understand. For people with low language skills or cognitive impairments, however, news broadcasts are still largely incomprehensible. Therefore, in the future we want to organise a weekly TV programme with the most important news in simple language and in sign language. This programme will be complemented by a website in easy language and will also be available on social media.
The Ministry for Family and Integration has recently created a contact point for “barrier-free communication”, which is currently under construction. We want to further expand this structure and establish it as a central contact point for the placement of sign language interpreters, the training and support of employers as well as raising awareness about “barrier-free communication”.
The DP has significantly improved public state communication for people with disabilities in recent years. Nevertheless, the result is not yet satisfactory. Therefore, we will improve and further develop accessible public communication in the state so that all people have free access to public information.
The DP was instrumental in getting sign language officially recognised by law in Luxembourg. Nevertheless, in Luxembourg we often have to resort to interpreters from abroad because we do not have enough local specialised staff. In the future, we want to expand the national pool of sign language interpreters by offering more opportunities for learning this language and strengthening the attractiveness of this profession. We also want to motivate caregivers and teachers to learn some basic sign language skills.
We want to introduce a “leisure assistant” who accompanies people with disabilities in various hobbies (sports, excursions, going to concerts and cinemas, club gatherings, festivals). The leisure assistant assists with the preparation, planning and implementation of the activities. The costs are to be shared between the state and the beneficiary.
Currently, there is no clear definition in Luxembourg law of what we mean by the term “disability” and what criteria must be used to determine a physical or mental disability. Therefore, we want to create a new system to identify the special needs of people with disabilities. This one-stop shop is designed to fully analyse and evaluate a person’s physical and mental impairments and identify specific needs.
The advantage of this structure is that people with disabilities no longer have to turn to multiple specialists depending on the ministry and the public service they need, but their specific needs are identified in one place. It is also an easy and quick way for people to find out about the range of social and other services available to people with disabilities.
People with disabilities should, as far as possible, be able to decide for themselves which state or private services they want to use. Nowadays, however, it is still too often decided from the top down which services a person must receive. Based on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the DP therefore wants to strengthen not only the right of persons with disabilities to have a say, but above all their right to self-determination. They should therefore be able to purchase the services and care they need for a barrier-free life in a self-determined way and receive financial support for this. The DP will develop a “personal assistance budget” adapted to Luxembourg’s requirements.
We will continue to promote autonomous and semi-autonomous living for people with disabilities so that they can lead a self-determined life. In doing so, we will ensure that any necessary assistance and care services are guaranteed.
In addition, we want to promote inclusive housing, for example in a partnership between people with disabilities and students, but also within the framework of new large public housing projects, where we want to promote housing in apartment buildings in town or village centres that are accessible to people with disabilities.
We will fundamentally revise the law from 2003, which regulates the status of the so-called “salarié handicapé”, and adapt it to today’s needs. This applies in particular to the evaluation and orientation as well as the the minimum income (RPGH) for the people concerned.
In addition to expanding the existing “Ateliers Protégés”, we will support people with disabilities even more specifically in their integration into the primary labour market. We want to raise awareness among private sector stakeholders about the “activité d’assistance à l’inclusion” and thus encourage them to recruit or retain people with disabilities.
We will continue to raise awareness and provide information for a barrier-free society. In addition, we want to hear the voice of people with disabilities and ensure a regular and active exchange of views with them.
Poverty and homelessness
The REVIS Act has the goal of empowering people, building on their skills and providing them with basic security. In this reform, a great deal of emphasis was placed on offering people prospects for the future and, as far as possible, actively strengthening and accompanying them on their way out of social destitution. We will continue to adapt the services to the specific needs of those affected and create additional training and work opportunities depending on the level of skill of those affected. We will also continue to adjust REVIS amounts in line with wage and price developments. We will incorporate the temporary financial support to compensate for part of the energy costs in the form of the so-called “équivalent crédit impôt” amounting to € 84 per month into the REVIS basic amount after 31 December 2024.
We will also maintain the cost-of-living allowance (Allocation de vie chère) and regularly adjust it to price developments.
The range of social assistance measures can vary greatly from municipality to municipality. In the spirit of equality and equal opportunities, the DP will review the Social Welfare Act for weaknesses and improve it where necessary. We will discuss the possible introduction of nationwide uniform criteria and measures in the field of social assistance together with all social assistance stakeholders.
We want to strengthen the social welfare offices in their work in a targeted manner and promote dialogue among them so that the best possible social welfare can be guaranteed throughout the country. In addition to the traditional social welfare offices in the municipalities, we also want to introduce a “digital Office Social”. This platform is meant to inform people about the different services.
We will revisit the provision of Housing First structures for homeless people across the country and create a new strategy to achieve the goals of the Lisbon Convention. In this innovative concept, the provision of a permanent residence comes first and is complemented by voluntary care services (for example, help with addiction problems).
In addition, we want to adapt the classic structures to the needs of specific profiles in order to provide more individualised support. Thus, we will open several decentralised and small structures specifically for women and older people.
The fight against poverty is not limited to one section of society, but must be conducted in parallel and at different levels in order to be effective. Many administrations already offer a range of assistance and support. However, as the departments function independently of each other, the work is sometimes uncoordinated and cannot fully serve its purpose.
In order to address the fight against poverty in a concrete and integral way, the DP wants to elaborate a national action plan that promotes inter-ministerial cooperation, holds out the prospect of efficient aid and also involves the social partners in order to realise the full potential of the action plan.
The housing problem in the country is real and it is clear to the DP that every municipality must get involved to help solve the problem. With this in mind, the DP will create more emergency shelters together with the municipalities, further promote social housing and Housing First in the municipalities. In addition, the DP will reserve and provide housing for people in special need in large public housing projects.
For a better coexistence
We want to support the peaceful coexistence of all people living and working in Luxembourg, while promoting their active participation in social life. Therefore, a law concerning intercultural coexistence was created under the auspices of the DP, which aims to offer people a wide range of information and formations, to bring them together and to promote exchange as well as coexistence in our society.
We see the municipalities and the associations and societies that are active in the field of coexistence as important partners. We will actively and financially support them in their efforts in the field of intercultural coexistence with the help of the newly introduced instruments “pacte citoyen”, “pacte communal” and “commission communale”, as well as advisors on intercultural coexistence in the civil service and a locally or regionally based coordinator. In the future, the “Conseil supérieur” will replace the ” Conseil national pour étrangers “. Skills and representation are redefined and expanded.
Not only older people, but also people who are increasingly isolated by their life situation (out of shame, out of fear…) and increasingly younger people suffer from the feeling of loneliness. In a broad participation process, we want to shed more political and scientific light on the topic of loneliness. We will draw up a strategy with concrete measures to prevent and combat loneliness and support research projects in this area. We will create new access routes to vulnerable groups and expand existing benefits and services, such as personal accompaniment services, home visits, increasing activity, promoting intergenerational community activities or strengthening volunteering in this area, among others.
Recently, the first “Safe Space” was inaugurated in Luxembourg City. These places should enable people from the LGBTQI+ community to meet and exchange without fear of prejudice or discrimination. The DP will expand the offer of such centres on a regional level if needed.
The DP will continue to support local initiatives such as the “Pact of Coexistence”, which strengthen intercultural exchange and promote mutual understanding between people of different origins. We will take strict action against all forms of racism and discrimination, develop the National Action Plan against Racism, and target all forms of discrimination.
A study on volunteering carried out at the end of 2022 by TNS-Ilres on behalf of the Ministry for the Family, Integration and the Greater Region showed that the potential of volunteering in Luxembourg is very high, but it is not fully exploited.
On the other hand, local associations, but also larger organisations, are desperately looking for new volunteers. In various areas of society, too, where the lack of skilled workers has been noticeable for years, people are looking around for alternatives.
Volunteering can offer important support here, as it is the backbone of social cohesion and points the way for shaping our coexistence.
This requires a profound change in both the political and social perception of volunteering. The DP would like to create the necessary framework conditions for this, so that clubs, associations, but also institutions and communities can profitably use the potential of volunteers for everyone.
An inter-ministerial body should create a better overview of existing programmes for volunteers and facilitate a coordinated approach through regular exchange with the national volunteer agency.
The DP will create a statute for volunteers. It is intended to clarify when and under what circumstances someone who is on the road as a volunteer is insured during their involvement, what their role is alongside professional employees, and what their rights and obligations are. The motivation to take on a responsibility increases when there are clear rules for volunteering.
Volunteers give their time to other people. They do this voluntarily and do not ask for any financial or material consideration in return. Nevertheless, it is important to give volunteers recognition for what they have done and for their commitment. The DP wants to value volunteering. This can be done, for example, through a digital “badge” system, where the volunteer collects a series of such “badges” for his or her commitment and then receives a reward or recognition for it.
The DP would like to expand volunteering in various social areas (senior citizens, people with a disability, socially vulnerable people). For example, small walks, a trip into town, a coffee hour or a visit to the theatre can be taken on by volunteers who would also receive the necessary further training for these tasks. Trained caregivers would thus be relieved and could better concentrate on care work.
The DP will continue to promote senior volunteering and provide opportunities for them to use their skills and experience in the community. To this end, the offer of the online platform www.benevolat.lu, which is specifically aimed at senior citizens, is to be expanded, for example to include homework help, sewing courses, walking the dog, cooking courses and much more. To make it easier for seniors to access this online platform, introductory courses are offered at local or regional level.
The DP will actively promote social engagement in all areas of society. We will explore the possibility of a state-funded accident insurance for volunteers that covers the potential risks associated with volunteering.
Digital technologies offer new opportunities for volunteering in a more convenient and flexible way. Nowadays, people can get involved socially via the internet, regardless of time and place. Digital counselling, social media and web design, tutoring and language coaching – there are no limits to the digital forms of volunteering. We want to increasingly promote the existing online platform of the national volunteer agency so that associations, social organisations, but also municipalities and businesses, as well as volunteers systematically access this online platform to expand the digital offer, respectively to access all offers of digital volunteering.
Refer to the chapter on Tax policy
Refer to chapter on Internal Security, Rescue and Armed Forces