06.04.2020

Are you a business owner or employee and currently worried about the changes that have been introduced since the coronavirus outbreak in Malta?

In the past days, the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER) published a list of FAQs in relation to the conditions of work during COVID-19, that may answer any questions that you might have.

Below you can find some of these FAQs, but the full list can be accessed by downloading the document below.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the company’s operations had an adverse effect resulting in less human resources required to continue operations. In view of this, can an employer change the conditions of work of his/her employees?

Yes, as a temporary measure for the survival of the organisation and the consequent retention of jobs, following a written request from the employer, permission may be given by the Director General of Industrial & Employment Relations to temporarily change the applicable conditions of work.

Due to a dwindling cash flow, the Statutory Weekly Allowance will not be paid out for the time being. Is this allowed?

This is not permitted by law and every employer is obliged pay to each of his full-time employees on the last working day in March and on the last working day in September of each year the Statutory Weekly Allowance. Same applies for the Statutory Bonuses to be paid between the 15th and the 30th day of the month of June and between the 15th and 23rd day of the month of December of each year.

Can the employer enforce forced leave?

The employer may decide to resort to ‘forced leave’ (as provided in S.L.452.115) as long as the employer furnishes the employee/s with a written justification explaining why s/he is applying forced leave. The written statement has to be given to the employee/s before the forced leave starts to run.

Is quarantine in addition to vacation leave?

Quarantine leave is a special leave entitlement which is to be given to persons who are obliged to quarantine themselves by health professionals or who are instructed to do so by their employer which is to be given in addition to any other leave entitlement which an employee is entitled to. 5 Therefore this is an addition to vacation leave and not part of. There are no minimum or maximum days for quarantine leave since this is determined on a case by case basis by health professionals.

Does the employee still have to give the employer notice if they choose to resign from the current employment?

Yes, an employee is still to follow regulations stipulated in the EIRA regarding notice periods. An employee is either to work the notice period or if s/he chooses not to work such notice period s/he is to pay the employer a sum equal to half the wages of the unworked notice period.

Coronavirus support for employees Malta: Should you need any further information, clarifications or assistance in relation to initiatives related to COVID-19, you can get in touch with accountant and lawyer Dr Adrian Sciberras on asciberras@fairwindsmanagement.net