The ‘Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Regulations, 2022' (‘Regulations') is a newly enacted legal notice (L.N. 267 of 2022) which grants a myriad of rights to workers while also introducing certain obligations on employers. These rights include certain information rights of the employee, training rights and rights relating to the probationary period and dispute resolution, among various other rights. These introductions will ultimately benefit both employers and employees.
The Regulations emanate from the Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 which aimed at updating the Council Directive 91/533/EEC of 14 October 1991 which dealt with the obligation of employers to furnish employees with information regarding the employment relationship.1 The Regulations, which repealed the Information to Employees Regulations, began to take effect from the 1st of August 2022.
Contents of the Regulation
The Regulations grant various rights to the employees while simultaneously requiring employers to carry out certain obligations. The crux of the Regulations relates to the obligations on the part of the employer to provide information about the employment relationship to the employee. Amongst other information, the employer must provide certain information about the employer himself, the place of work, a description of the work to be carried out, the commencement date, and in the case of a fixed-term employment the date of termination of the employment. Furthermore, the Regulations also specify additional information which is to be furnished to employees with unpredictable work patterns and employees who are to work outside of Malta.
Besides the aforementioned information rights, employees who are required by law to undergo training are entitled to receive such training for free. In addition, said training must be considered as working time and must take place during normal working hours, when possible. Furthermore, the Regulations also grant employees the ability to seek dispute resolution and redress in the event that their rights have been infringed.
The Regulations also contain a number of prohibitions intended to protect employees. Firstly, subject to certain exceptions, they prohibit the modification of amending employment conditions after employment has commenced. Secondly, they prohibit zero-hour contracts, subject to certain exceptions. Finally, employers are also precluded from prohibiting employees from assuming work with another employer, unless such prohibition is based on objective grounds. Apart from granting rights to employees and introducing certain prohibitions, the Regulations additionally impose the obligation on employers to keep records. These records shall contain information of each employee which shall include, but not be limited to, the nature of the employment, the leave granted to the employee and the weekly wages of the employee.
Fundamentally, the legislator ensures compliance with the provisions of the Regulations by including a minimum fine of €450 to anyone who is found guilty of breaching any of the provisions under the Regulations.
Scope of the Regulation
The Regulations apply to any worker who is under an employment contract or forms part of an employment relationship. Considering that the Regulations stem from an EU Directive and therefore each Member State will introduce a similar enactment, these Regulations together with the respective enactments in each Member State of the EU will affect 182 million workers. Furthermore, this number incorporates 2-3 million workers who were previously insufficiently protected since they were engaged in unusual or new forms of work.2
These Regulations are yet another step forward which is being made in an area which is continuously evolving and developing. They are expected to have positive effects on working conditions in the EU by increasing transparency and predictability for workers and by improving social protection for workers in non-standard employment relationships. Ultimately, the Regulations will help implement certain principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights3, and will contribute to the EU's pursuit of a fair and socially strong Europe.4
1. ‘FAQs on the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Regulations of 2022', Department for Industrial and Employment Relations, p.2.
2. “Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion” (Transparent and predictable working conditions - Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion - European Commission) <https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=1313> accessed March 21, 2023
4. “The European Pillar of Social Rights in 20 Principles” (European Commission) <https://commission.europa.eu/strategy-and-policy/priorities-2019-2024/economy-works-people/jobs-growth-and-investment/european-pillar-social-rights/european-pillar-social-rights-20-principles_en> accessed March 21, 2023
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