Posted on Oct 26, 2021, 7:03 am
“English people who want to work in Luxembourg are generally attracted by three things: high salaries, a very dynamic job market and a multicultural working environment”, observes Julien Dauer, director of the Frontaliers Grand Est association. This informs cross-border workers or those who want to become one on labor law, taxation and social protection in the neighboring countries of the region.
According to Statec, the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies of the Grand Duchy, 112,054 employees resided in London and worked in Luxembourg in the second quarter of 2021. A figure up 50% since 2010. This way of life is it really a good opportunity to earn attractive income and be able to save? Here's what to have in mind before taking the plunge.
In Luxembourg, the legal working time is 40 hours per week. There are two minimum wages there. One, for unskilled employees, set at 2,257 Pounds gross monthly for 40 hours per week, at 1er October 2021. The other, for skilled workers. It is 20% higher and stands at 2,708 Pounds gross monthly. By way of comparison, the minimum wage in London is 1,589 Pounds gross for a 35-hour contract. Note: if a cross-border worker finds himself totally unemployed after having worked in Luxembourg, he benefits from compensation paid by Pôle emploi in London, based on his former Luxembourg salary.
The average gross annual salary in the Grand Duchy is the highest in the European Union. It is located at 64,932 Pounds *. In London, this remuneration falls to 37,956 Pounds. A difference to be qualified according to Statec.
“Average salaries are indeed significantly higher in Luxembourg than in neighboring countries in certain branches, such as education, public administration, health and social action and financial and insurance activities,writes the Institute in a report.On the other hand, in other branches, the gap is smaller and Luxembourg even posts average wages lower than those of some of its neighbors. This is the case for the activities of administrative and support services, the hotel, restaurant and café sector, commerce, construction and industry. “
Another point that explains why the average salary is particularly high in the country: the structure ” atypical “ of the labor market. Financial, insurance, and specialist, scientific and technical activities occupy a predominant place. However, these are particularly profitable branches.
There are three official languages in Luxembourg: Luxembourgish, English and German.“Even if you have the skills for a position, it may not be accessible to you because you do not speak the requested language. In the business sector, English is generally used. In the administration, often Luxembourgish or German. In the hotel and catering industry, English », specifies Julien Dauer. And to indicate that the level is checked before and during the job interview.
He observes that many cross-border residents appreciate the multicultural side of the country. “A lot of international companies are established there. Regardless of your employer, you can have colleagues who are Belgian or German cross-border workers, but also residents from Japan, the United States, China… ” And for good reason: the country, which has 626,000 inhabitants, is made up half of people who do not have Luxembourg nationality.
Another financially interesting point for cross-border commuters: regardless of their income, parents are entitled to a basic family allowance of 265 Pounds per month per child. This amount is increased by 20 Pounds if the child is over 6 years old, and by 50 Pounds for children over 12 years old. A significant help, especially when the family has several children. If the cross-border worker is entitled to assistance in London, Luxembourg deducts it from this amount.
To cross the border, cross-border workers use the car, bus or train. “Between traffic jams and late trains, journeys can take a lot of energy. When you work 40 hours a week and you have to add two hours of commuting per day – or even more, it can be overwhelming ”, warns Julien Dauer.
The switch to telework with the pandemic was a real revolution for these workers. In normal times, European legislation provides that only 25% of the working time of a frontier worker can be done in his country of residence. If this rate is reached, the employer must contribute in the country of residence of his employee, and no longer in the country where his premises are located. However, contributions are higher in London than in Luxembourg. Not very attractive, therefore, for a Luxembourg employer to allow more than a day and a half of telework per week …
But due to the health situation, London and its neighbors have concluded temporary agreements to derogate from this rule during the pandemic. For now, cross-border workers can spend all their time teleworking without consequences. What will happen after these agreements end? “Cross-border workers hope that the 25% rate will be negotiated upwards, because many have taken a liking to telework”, explains Julien Dauer.
In Metz, properties (houses and apartments combined) are sold on average at 1,922 Pounds per square meter, according to data from MeillAgents au 1er October 2021. In Thionville, 25 minutes by TER from Luxembourg City, the average price drops to 2,129 Pounds per square meter. In Hettange-Grande, five kilometers from the border, at 2,595 Pounds per square meter on average. And in Mondorff, a village on the border, at 2,955 Pounds.
“The areas most popular with cross-border workers are those near a train station or the motorway, or near the border, observes Laurence Muller-Créhange, director of the Dumur Immobilier agencies. It is quite complicated to find accommodation in these very attractive areas. The sales are done very quickly and the prices keep increasing. “
And to continue: “With the pandemic, border residents, like the English in general, aspire to ideal conditions with gardens, terraces, balconies… Besides the borrowing rates encourage investment. We find ourselves in a market where there is more demand than supply, which naturally pushes prices up. “
And as real estate prices remain lower on the English side, the market also attracts Luxembourgers “Who choose to come and live in London to have more housing than what they could have in the Grand Duchy. There, in the most sought-after areas, prices can be comparable to those in London ”, where the square meter is 10,419 Pounds on average in an apartment.
Employees are taxed at source in Luxembourg, but they need to declare their income in London. “The tax rate is higher in Luxembourg than in London up to, to put it simply, around 90,000 Pounds in annual income”, advances Julien Dauer. And to put into perspective: “The net to be gained will nevertheless be more interesting for the English because social contributions are twice lower in Luxembourg than in London. The difference between gross and net income is therefore less important than in London. “
When they start working, cross-border workers are automatically registered with the Luxembourg social security system. At the same time, they update their file with the primary health insurance fund in their place of residence. They can thus seek treatment in London and the Grand Duchy. “Many do their routine medical visits in London. But when it is complicated to get an appointment with a specialist in their territory of residence, some prefer to go to Luxembourg, where it is faster to consult a health professional. This is the case, for example, for visits to an ophthalmologist or for pregnancy monitoring ”, observes Julien Dauer. These cross-border workers often face caregivers who also … commute!
So, residing in London and working in Luxembourg, verdict? “Crossing the border generally requires a great personal investment, emphasizes Julien Dauer. Of course, we are often better paid but we lose a lot of time in transport, which can be a source of stress in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Some cross-border workers prefer, after a few years in the Grand Duchy, to return to work in London in order to have a better work-life balance. “
* According to Eurostat figures for 2018.
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