Employment & Immigration, Malta, Fenech & Fenech Advocates updates

Bill to amend Persons with Disability (Employment) Act
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 16 June 2021

A bill seeking to amend Chapter 210 of the Laws of Malta, the Persons with Disability (Employment) Act, has been tabled before the House of Representatives. The bill seeks to update the provisions of the act relating to the quotas for the employment of persons with a disability and address other consequential amendments thereto.

Compensation at Industrial Tribunal in 2020 and 2021
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 03 February 2021

In recent years, there has been an apparent upwards trend in the Industrial Tribunal granting compensation to successful plaintiffs, thereby significantly increasing the risks for employers, and 2020 was no exception. How the hardships brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic will affect compensation awarded by the tribunal is yet to be seen. However, the tribunal will likely not go easy on employers that are perceived to have dishonestly exploited the pandemic to the detriment of employees.

Recent amendments to employment law
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 27 January 2021

This article highlights recent amendments to employment law, including with regard to increases to the cost of living, amendments to the minimum wage, confirmation of public holidays and vacation leave in 2021 and clarification of the Industrial Tribunal's jurisdiction, particularly with respect to fixed-term contracts.

Revised COVID-19 Wage Supplement Scheme launched
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 20 January 2021

In a recent press conference, the government announced details of a revision of the Wage Supplement Scheme, under which COVID-19 business aid will no longer be calculated on the basis of an entity's Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community classification code, but rather on loss of turnover. This is a key change in approach and will likely affect many businesses.

'Reasonable accommodation' of persons with disabilities – employers' perspective
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 09 December 2020

Maltese law sets out various obligations for employers regarding disability within employment. The employment of persons with disabilities is currently regulated by the Persons with Disability Employment Act and the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act, according to which employers are, among other things, prevented from discriminating against persons with disabilities.

Impact of ECJ case regarding temporary agency workers on Maltese law
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 04 November 2020

Pursuant to a recent European Court of Justice judgment, recourse to a series of successive temporary agency contracts must be justified, as the assignment of a temporary agency worker is, by its very nature, intended to be temporary. This article summarises the judgment and answers FAQs with regard to its impact on Maltese employment law.

Extension of paid leave for IVF
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 07 October 2020

In 2017, by means of Subsidiary Legislation 452.114, the legislature set out the minimum requirements to grant paid leave to employees who undergo medically assisted procreation processes, also known as 'in vitro fertilisation'. By means of Legal Notice 263/2020, the legislature has amended the national standard order and further extended the limits of this law to include more beneficiaries.

Termination of pregnant employees during probation period
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 26 August 2020

Under Maltese law, employers and employees can terminate an employment agreement during the probation period without giving a valid reason. This is subject to certain exceptions brought about by lex specialis introduced to Maltese legislation over the years to protect pregnant employees. In a recent decision, the Industrial Tribunal awarded €10,000 in compensation to a pregnant employee who was terminated during her probation period.

Abandonment of employment and maternity leave
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 01 July 2020

The Court of Magistrates recently decided a case wherein an employer claimed that a former employee had abandoned work within six months of returning from statutory maternity leave and, as such, claimed back all of the wage payments that it had made to her during that time pursuant to Maltese law. The defendant rejected the claim, arguing that she had not willingly resigned or abandoned her employment.

Department of Citizenship and Expatriates issues new measures in light of COVID-19
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 15 April 2020

In light of COVID-19, Identity Malta's Department of Citizenship and Expatriates has released a number of measures which seek to assist third-country nationals and EU, EEA and Swiss nationals currently residing in Malta with their respective obligations in terms of the Immigration Act and its subsidiary legislation. In addition to these changes, the Central Visa Unit has implemented more rigid measures in light of the travel restrictions imposed. This article provides an overview of the salient changes.

Work-life balance: breath of fresh air for employees, but could more be done?
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 08 April 2020

One year has now passed since the European Parliament passed the EU Work-Life Balance Directive for parents and carers, but what did it really achieve? In Malta, this directive has been a breath of fresh air for employees, who are now able to better balance their work and family responsibilities. In turn, employers should benefit from more motivated and productive workers. However, the question remains: is the directive's impact on Malta significant or too small?

Special paid leave for mandatory quarantine in Malta in view of COVID-19 pandemic
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 01 April 2020

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the superintendent of public health has published the Minimum Special Leave Entitlements (Amendment) Regulations 2020. These regulations amend the Minimum Special Leave Entitlement Regulations, introducing a new paid quarantine leave for all employees, payable by their employer.

Maltese perspective on EU Whistleblowing Directive
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 05 February 2020

In 2013 Malta promulgated the Protection of the Whistleblower Act. However, as few EU member states have similar whistleblower protection legislation, on 16 December 2019 the EU Whistleblowing Directive entered into force. So what does this mean for Malta?

Copyright, patents and the Trade Secrets Act – are employers now protected?
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 04 December 2019

The new Trade Secrets Act entered into force in May 2019. This article examines what the new act means for employment relationships with regard to copyright, patents and trade secrets. Among other things, employers should prepare written policies to inform employees of their rights and obligations, explain what IP rights are and clarify that any creations belong to the company.

Paid apprenticeships – a step in the right direction?
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 25 September 2019

The Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship Act provides a framework for the development of effective work placements, apprenticeships and internships. It outlines responsibilities and governance structures, while defining the rights and obligations for vocational education and training providers, sponsors and learners. Despite its introduction in March 2018, few employers and students are aware of this legislation.

Residence and employment implications for British citizens in Malta following no-deal Brexit
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 21 June 2019

In light of the continuous developments and ambiguity surrounding the Brexit negotiations, as well as the uncertainty facing British citizens who currently reside in EU member states, the Maltese government recently propagated regulations concerning the residence and employment rights which will be upheld for British citizens who already reside and work in Malta. The regulations are set to come into force in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Employers should wait for criminal court decisions before terminating employment
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 22 May 2019

Industrial Tribunal cases tend to be sensitive in nature as they essentially deal with a person's livelihood; however, when the Industrial Tribunal is faced with matters which have also been referred to the courts of criminal jurisdiction, such cases are even more complex. In particular, there are questions around how an employer should regulate itself regarding an employee's employment when it is confronted with a pending decision by the criminal court.

No warnings, no damages, no due process: one-off mistake validates employee's dismissal
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 17 April 2019

The Court of Appeal recently upheld an Industrial Tribunal decision and confirmed that a company operating in the iGaming industry had been entitled to dismiss an employee who had, on one occasion, forgotten to upload games to the company's platform. Nonetheless, this is a contentious judgment which, at face value, seems to diminish the burden that an employer must prove continuous or repetitive misconduct or underperformance substantiated by valid warnings.

How reasonable is reasonable accommodation?
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 20 February 2019

The Industrial Tribunal recently examined the concept of reasonable accommodation and what employers should do to accommodate their employees appropriately. In this case, the employee claimed that he had been discriminated against due to his heart condition and unfairly dismissed. The tribunal ruled in the employee's favour and awarded him €20,000 for unfair dismissal and another €10,000 for discrimination.

Annual Leave National Standard Order: possible effects on maternity, sick and injury leave
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 07 November 2018

Four new legal notices were recently published in the Government Gazette. However, these were short lived, as just a few days later, ministry representatives reportedly declared that the legal notices would be suspended. While it is uncertain whether the Annual Leave National Standard Order will be enacted, it is worthwhile to analyse the proposed changes, as these would alter current employment law should they come into force.

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