In one month, all employees will have to prove that they are vaccinated, cured or tested to work in Luxembourg. Non-vaccinated people will have to present a certified negative test every day. How much will it cost them?
Since the January 15the Covid-Check will be mandatory to go to work in Luxembourg. The new Covid law was passed by parliament on Thursday to come into force at midnight. It provides that “all employees, public officials and self-employed workers” has to be vaccinated, cured Where tested against Covid-19. The rule is simple: without Covid-Check, the employee has no more access “at his place of work”.
People who will not be vaccinated or cured of the coronavirus (the positive Covid-Check after recovery is valid for 180 days), will have two options to show “white paw”. Either they will have to pass a rapid antigen test to obtain a valid certificate 24 hours. Either they will have to present a PCR test which will remain valid for 48 hoursfrom the time of collection.
-> Covid-Check at work: Future obligations and sanctions in Luxembourg
In mid-January 2022, the choice not to be vaccinated will therefore clearly have a cost for private sector employees and the self-employed who will not be able to telework or take days off. The government’s goal is to encourage skeptics to get vaccinated to stem the pandemic.
A news measure widely denounced by the anti-restriction demonstrators who were unable to parade freely in Luxembourg City last weekend. Some have calculated that they will have to pay up to 600€ per month to get to work.
WHAT PRICES FOR RAPID ANTIGENIC TESTS?
Depending on the options chosen, this calculation is not the only one possible but it sticks to reality. The bill can even be much more expensive! A certified rapid antigen test cost today between 15€ and 35€. For a week of five working days, the employee will pay between €75 and €175 per week. That is between 300€ and 700€ per month.
the price varies from one certification center to another. They can be certified by laboratories, pharmacies, doctors and physiotherapists who have the approval. At the Cygne pharmacy in the hypercentre of Luxembourg City, for example, it’s €20 and there’s no need to make an appointment. Even when a queue forms, the waiting time to obtain the precious sesame is between 20 and 30 minutesin pharmacies.
Another price formula at the Kirchberg pharmacy: the certificate is issued for €20 at the patient who brings his own test. If he buys the rapid test on site, the price inflates the bill accordingly. But tests are available from €4 or €7. There, too, no need for an appointment. Doors open at 8:00 a.m., but the first tests start at 9:30 a.m.
“We ask 30€ for a test. We are in the upper middle, but the price is the same from the beginning and I won’t change it“, assumes for his part, Emmanuel Van Hauwermeiren, manager of the Belair pharmacy.
At the test center set up by the City of Luxembourg, Place du Théâtre, the rapid antigen test is currently billed at €15. Those who have free vouchers only pay €5, but the famous vouchers will no longer be valid after December 31.
PRICES FOR PCR TESTS… SIMPLE AND QUICK
The other option, the PCR testingallows gain in comfort, because there is no need to go there every day. A more expensive option. And the laboratories display several days of waiting to obtain an appointment.
A PCR test done without prescription or for personal convenience is charged 59.95€ in the laboratories. For a week of five working days, the employee will have to pay at least two PCR tests per week, i.e. €119.90, to which he will add a rapid antigen test at €25 on average. Either €144.90 per week or €579.60 per month.
At Ketterthill, for example, these tests can be done without an appointment, but the laboratory always specifies in red letters on its website that it does not “can give no guarantee as to the time“, the test results being “available in 24-72 business hours (excluding Sundays and public holidays)“. In Bionext Lab centers where PCR tests (excluding government vouchers) are only done without an appointment, the customer can also request that the variants be detected in addition. This second PCR test costs €62.78 .
For those in a hurry, the laboratories also offer rapid PCR tests billed at €99, that the CNS does not support. Bionext Lab promises a result “in less than an hour“. The United Laboratories announce a guaranteed result “within 4 hours“. Appointments for this type of test are only made in Junglinster.
AND MONDAY MORNING?
It already appears to be very restrictive for employees who will not be able to telecommute to organize themselves for their working week in Luxembourg. Especially to go back to work on Monday morning.
A problem that has just been raised by the Chamber of Employees (CSL) in its opinion on the new Covid law being drafted. She notes that “it will not be easy for employees to get tested over the weekend so as to have a negative test certificate for Monday morning (for those who will need it)”. And calls on the government to fill the gap by “implement places where these employees can go take their test over the weekend.“
Anticipation will be required to be in good standing and to access your workplace. The employees concerned will either have to resolve to make an appointment on Saturday to take a PCR test in a laboratory. Or anticipate, to pass a rapid antigen test and have the certificate when the work starts.
The question will arise from Monday January 17 since the new terms and conditions are due to come into force on Saturday January 15, 2022.
A RUSH OF TEST REQUESTS IN THE PIPES?
“There is a huge increase in people getting vaccinated right now. So I hope that the number of vaccinated will be such that we will not find ourselves faced with a monster influx requests (January 15) that we will not be able to manage“, hopes Alain de Bourcy. If the demand for tests were to explode, the president of the Syndicate of Luxembourg pharmacists does not hide the fact that he would immediately turn to the health authorities because pharmacists would quickly be in trouble.
In anticipation of mid-January, pharmacists”are already ordering more rapid antigen tests, because there is a risk of shortage”, warns Alain de Bourcy. He says that currently “prices are skyrocketing due to huge demand in Germany and neighboring countries“.
In contrast, “there is no new organization planned“to welcome many more customers who would like to be tested in pharmacies in mid-January.”We cannot do more than what we are doing now. It’s not doable“, assures Alain de Bourcy. Quite simply because“We lack the premises“, but also because”we lack manpower. We hire assistants, pharmacy assistants, pharmacists, but not necessarily people who want to do rapid antigen tests all day long.“.
The organization of the reception of people to be tested, with or without an appointment, is close to the limits. “Since the beginning of November we have been almost at the cleat. Friday and Saturday are always full. We can’t do more“, testifies Emmanuel Van Hauwermeiren in Belair who welcomes “between 60 and 70 customers per day on average“. He goes “stay in line” and “do everything to normally serve its customers with medicines“. These new test stories “we don’t know where it’s going!“
Read also: Covid-Check at work: Employees are already planning to take sick leave!