Luxembourg takes a very responsible approach to supporting and caring for children's education. The Childcare Service Voucher (better known as the "chèque-service accueil" – CSA) is one of the family benefits available to people in the Grand Duchy to ensure good care for children in relation to extracurricular activities.
Through this program, the government promotes the integration of children into society, helps young children to learn and practice the official languages, and supports parents in their education. In this article, we will look at how parents in Luxembourg can benefit from the chèque-accueil service and what can be done within this system.
What is chèque-service accueil in Luxembourg
Luxembourg provides all working parents in the country (residents and non-residents alike) with financial aid vouchers for childcare services for kids up to 12 years old. This includes support for attending different types of institutions:
Nurseries and daycare (crèches and mini-crèches);
Drop-ins (maison relais);
Various childcare centers;
Through CSA, the government covers parts of the cost of childcare services. This makes extracurricular care more affordable for big families and working parents, helping them benefit from reduced rates and save up money.
Chèque-service accueil pays state contribution directly to the institution recognized and approved as a service provider (prestataire du CSA) by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth.
Application process for chèque-service accueil
To be eligible for participation in the system, the family must meet certain criteria and then submit an application form to be registered. Both residents and non-residents are able to benefit from the system, though people who are not residing in the country will meet more eligibility conditions.
What are the requirements for residents and non-residents
To be eligible for chèque-service accueil (CSA) in Luxembourg, certain criteria must be met. The CSA is available for any family who resides in Luxembourg and meets the following conditions:
The child must be not more than 12 years old.
The child must still attend basic education, including nursery and primary school.
If the child's parent or legal guardian is a non-resident worker, they must fulfill additional conditions:
The parent or legal guardian must be affiliated with the Joint Social Security Center (CCSS) or be employed by a European institution.
The family must be receiving a family allowance in Luxembourg. This allowance can be paid either by the CAE (Caisse pour l'avenir des enfants) or by another institution.
You will need to provide a dully-filled application form accompanied by the necessary documents in order to apply for CSA membership in Luxembourg. Here is the list of the documents:
Child's birth certificate;
Birth certificate of the applying parent;
Residence certificate or household composition certificate;
Income certificate issued by the Tax office (ACD) or the most recent tax slip(s) or, failing both, the last three income statements for household members.
To benefit from discount rates, you will need to provide the details of your income. In case you don't want to report the income, you will be covered by default, meaning the higher rates.
In case of separation or divorce of parents:
extract from divorce papers stating the custody arrangements and child support,
proof of child support payments,
or declaration of honor in case there is no child support payment.
In the case of employment by European institution:
How to apply
Chèque-service membership is provided upon registration in the system and is valid for 12 months. Parents are responsible for ensuring the timely renewal of their membership before the expiration date. Failure to renew makes parents liable for the entire cost of childcare services without the CSA contribution.
There are several ways to apply the documents package for CSA:
In the commune of residence for Luxembourg residents;
In the Children's Future Fund (CAE) office for non-residents.
By post to the Children's Future Fund (CAE)
Online on MyGuichet.lu.
Parents' financial contribution
An important part of this system is that government pays just part of the contribution fees, meaning that parents are still required to pay their part.
For families with more than 4 kids, there are no fees on the parent's side for childcare services.
Keep in mind, that Luxembourg's chèque-service accueil scheme works the same for married couples, civil unions or cohabiting couples in terms of household income calculation.
Parents' contributions are calculated based on their taxable income, not including any family allowances or other financial aid received.
The government's financial contribution is limited to 60 hours per week and 6 euros per hour (3,75 for parental assistance services).
Any childcare hours in excess are entirely at the parent's expense. The available hours are divided into 3 tiers, with different rates depending on household details, such as:
the household income,
number of children, receiving the support,
type of childcare service and hours spend there,
age of the child.
A special state program for multilingual education is offered to kids aged 1 to 4 under the chèque-service accueil scheme. Children who attend crèches and mini-crèches are eligible for 20 hours of free childcare per week, over a period of 46 weeks per year.
There are five categories of memberships, available to your family upon providing supporting documents, accounting for different types of support, and depending on the well-being and the relation of the income to the social minimum wage.
Let's see the approximate cheque service calculation in the voucher system. For example, a family earning between 2 to 3 times the minimum social wage (4,816 euros to 7,224 euros), will be eligible for:
8 hours of free educational childcare per week,
plus 21 hours of educational care per week at the Tranche 2 rate (1-2 euros for one child),
31 hours of educational care per week at the Tranche 3 rate (1,5 to 3,5 euros for one child),
Five meals per week, that are charged at 1,5 or 2 euros per meal.