What does it mean to be an assisting spouse for a self-employed worker?
If you’re self-employed in Luxembourg and your spouse helps you in your day-to-day activities, they must, under certain conditions, be registered as an assisting spouse to be covered by social security in the event of illness, a work accident, maternity leave, etc.
Remember Tom? A few weeks ago, he was deciding whether to create a commercial company such as a SARL, or become self-employed as a sole trader. After weighing up the pros and cons of each, he decided to go for the second option, which was better suited to the nature of his business.
His wife, Céline, is helping him a lot on this new venture. She keeps the books, updates his website, organises his meetings and schedule, and so on. She’s a key part of the business and the work she does for her husband is essentially a full-time job.
Although Céline can’t be hired as an employee, her professional status is still recognised and she may be able to register as an assisting spouse, meaning she’ll be covered by Luxembourg social security and pay into her pension. So, does she fulfil the requisite conditions?
If Céline had another job or assisted Tom on an ad-hoc or temporary basis, she wouldn’t be able to register as an assisting spouse.
What are the eligibility conditions?
According to Luxembourg’s joint social security centre (Centre commun de la sécurité sociale – CCSS), it is compulsory for a spouse to register as an assisting spouse if they meet the following conditions:
- They are over 18.
- The assistant and the primary insured person are married or in a civil partnership.
- The assistant’s work is “up to a level that implies that these services are to be considered as a main activity”, i.e. they can’t register if they only work part-time.
- The primary insured person is registered as a self-employed worker in their own name to carry out this work as their main activity.
Céline and Tom are married, he is registered as a self-employed worker in his own name and she works for him on a full-time basis, meaning that she fulfils these conditions.
If Céline had another job or assisted Tom on an ad-hoc or temporary basis, she wouldn’t be able to register as an assisting spouse. Likewise, she wouldn’t be eligible for assisting spouse status if Tom were self-employed in a company structure, but would be able to register as an employee.
National pension insurance contributions are compulsory if you are registered as an assisting spouse.
How to register as an assisting spouse
Céline can now register for social security in Luxembourg. As an assisting spouse, she’ll be covered in the event of illness, maternity leave, a work accident, work-related illness, disability or dependency, and she’ll pay into her pension.
To register, she must send a declaration form for assisting spouses or partners (déclaration d’entrée pour conjoint-aidant ou partenaire) to the CCSS at the following address:
Centre commun de la sécurité sociale
Contributions: Once Céline has registered, Tom must pay social security contributions for her to the CCSS. These will be calculated on the basis of Tom’s business profits. The couple’s social security contributions will be halved, but Céline’s contributions must not exceed double the minimum wage, i.e. €5,016.48 (minimum wage = €2,508.24* x 2).
Pensions: National pension insurance contributions are compulsory if you are registered as an assisting spouse. This means that contributions paid during this period will be taken into account when calculating Céline’s pension entitlement.
Important: Assisting spouses are automatically registered with the Employers’ Mutual Insurance Scheme (Mutualité des employeurs) with the principal insured person. They are registered jointly and inseparably with the principal insured person. It allows them to cover themselves in the event of loss of income due to illness.
Exemption from compulsory social security
Even if she fulfils the eligibility criteria as an assisting spouse, Céline may request to be exempted from social security contributions if she wishes. To do so, she must send an exemption form for assisting spouses or partners (demande de dispense pour conjoint-aidant ou partenaire) to the CCSS.
But remember, if she does this Céline won’t be covered by social security, which means that she wouldn’t be entitled to any cash benefits in the event of illness, maternity leave or a work accident, and wouldn’t be paying into her pension.
Important: The CCSS does not accept back-dated applications, whether it’s to register as an assisting spouse or apply for an exemption. This means that if Céline registers for assisting spouse status after a work accident, for example, this accident wouldn’t be covered by social security.
Assisting spouse registration and exemption forms
The forms for registering as an assisting spouse or applying for an exemption are available from the CCSS website:
For more information, please see the CCSS website or go to guichet.lu.
* Minimum wage as at April 2023.