Over the last couple of years, Employment Law has been considered to be a sensitive subject in most countries across the globe. Amendments have been encouraged and enforced by many countries, especially within the EU.
Malta is one of the abovementioned countries who took the lead in enforcing and amending laws as necessary in order to safeguard the rights and necessities of the worker whilst maintaining the stability for profit for Employers.
Some of the most salient amendments to our local Employment Law include changes in:
- The cost of living,
- Public Holidays and Vacation Leave,
- Minimum Wages, and
- The tribunal's extended jurisdiction.
Moreover, last year, the Maltese Employment Law was further amended by the introduction and enforcement of the 'Posting of Workers in Malta (Amendment) Regulations, 2020'.
Cost of Living
According to the Legal Notice 468 of 2021, in 2021, full-time employees will be receiving an additional €1.75 per week.
The same benefit applies to part-time employees on a pro-rata basis.
Public Holidays & Vacation Leave
The Maltese Government has stated that the National Holidays and Other Public Holidays Act shall be amended accordingly in the near future for it to reflect the fact that within each calendar year, the paid vacation leave entitlement shall vary from one year to another. This variation solely depends on how many public holidays fall on weekends and hence, not being made available for the relevant employee to avail of during his/her week of work.
The tribunal's extended jurisdiction
According to the amendments brought about by the Act No. LVIII 0f 2020, today, the Industrial and Employment Relations Act states that the Tribunal's jurisdiction has been extended further to reach and determine 'unfair dismissals' of definite work contracts. It is safe to say that most of the regulations relating to the termination of a definite work contract prior to the date agreed upon have remained practically the same.
The abovementioned Act empowers the tribunal to decide whether the termination of a definite contract as explained in the preceding paragraph was based on a good and sufficient cause or otherwise. The tribunal now holds the power to decide on what sums are due if no good and sufficient cause for pre-termination is found.
Posting of Workers in Malta (Amendment) Regulations, 2020
A 'posted worker' is the term used to refer to an employee who carries out his employment duties and obligations in a particular member state, whom however is transferred to carry out said duties and obligations in another member state. These workers are safeguarded by the 'Posting of Workers in Malta Regulations'. The latter provides the necessary regulations to ensure that a posted worker's labour conditions, in Malta or in any other member state, are kept at a very high standard.
Legal Notice 262 of 2020 now provides that temporary work agencies in Malta shall provide a high standard of the work environment and conditions to any employee hired out by themselves.
Moreover, the abovementioned Legal notice obliges such foreign service providers to guarantee the below employment conditions to posted workers who are sent over to work in Malta:
- maximum work periods and minimum rest periods as applied to various classes of employees;
- minimum paid annual leave as applied to various classes of employees;
- remuneration, including overtime rates as applied to various
classes of employees:
Provided that supplementary occupational retirement pension schemes shall be excluded from such remuneration;
- the conditions of hiring-out of workers, in particular, the supply of workers by temporary employment undertakings;
- measures in accordance with the laws of Malta relating to health, safety and hygiene at work;
- protective measures with regard to the terms and conditions of employment protecting pregnant women or women who have recently given birth;
- protective measures in accordance with the laws of Malta with regards to terms and conditions of employment protecting children and young people;
- equality of treatment between men and women and other provisions of non-discrimination in accordance with the laws of Malta;
- the conditions of workers' accommodation where this is provided by the employer to workers who are away from their regular place of work;
- allowances or reimbursement of expenditure to cover travel,
board and lodging expenses where this is provided by the employer
to workers away from home for professional reasons:
Provided that this paragraph shall apply exclusively to travel, board and lodging expenditure incurred by posted workers where they are required to travel from one place to another.1,2,3,4
1 Act No. LVIII 0f 2020
2 L.N. 262 of 2020 – Employment and Industrial Relations Act (CAP.452) – Posting of Workers in Malta. (Amendment0 Regulations, 2020.
3 Chapter 252 – National Holidays and Other Public Holidays Act.
4 L.N. 468 of 2020 – Employment and Industrial Relations Act (CAP.452) – Wage Increase (Employees) National Standard Order, 2020.
As published on the Times of Malta on Sunday 31st January 2021.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.