Fenech & Fenech Advocates updates

Update on yachting procedures
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 02 September 2020

Malta has always been at the forefront of offering solid, reliable solutions to yacht owners depending on their individual requirements and the intended use of their yacht. The first half of 2020 has seen the introduction of updated rules affecting operating leases and streamlined importation procedures, offering owners the possibility of availing themselves of a number of solutions and procedures catering to their individual requirements.

Termination of pregnant employees during probation period
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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.

Dispute resolution regulations for bunkering operations
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 01 July 2020

Transport Malta's Ports and Yachting Directorate recently issued a port notice to remind recipients about the Dispute Resolution (Procedures) Regulation. The regulation applies to bunkering operations where a dispute has arisen between the bunkering fuel operator and provider and the receiving vessel. The procedure provides for an alternative dispute resolution mechanism that aims to be swift, economical, transparent and simple.

Abandonment of employment and maternity leave
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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.

Effect of COVID-19 on Maltese shipping industry
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 01 April 2020

Faced with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, many EU states are increasingly adopting stringent measures to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 is, to the extent possible, contained. Malta is no exception in this regard, with most sectors having been affected to some extent. The local shipping industry has also been hit with several restrictions in recent weeks.

Maltese perspective on EU Whistleblowing Directive
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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.

Flag injunctions: practical alternative to ship arrests
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 11 September 2019

Maltese law is straightforward in terms of who has a right to arrest and which claims can be secured by means of an arrest. However, while ship arrests are a powerful legal remedy for creditors, they have one major limitation: they are possible only where the targeted vessel actually enters Maltese waters. As such, the legal system has introduced the Section 37 injunction, which provides creditors with an interesting, cost-efficient remedy where a ship arrest is not possible.

Residence and employment implications for British citizens in Malta following no-deal Brexit
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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.

Irrevocable power of attorney as additional security
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 19 June 2019

If an event of default occurs, a power of attorney executed by the mortgagor will allow the mortgagee to apply for the immediate closure of the vessel's Maltese register on the mortgagor's behalf and to pay all fees, make all declarations and receive all certificates, including the deletion certificate. While not essential for enforcement, registration of the irrevocable power of attorney is nevertheless an option for mortgagees and provides the added benefit of allowing for swifter enforcement in cases of default.

Employers should wait for criminal court decisions before terminating employment
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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.

Securitisation in shipping: Maltese perspective
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 16 January 2019

Asset-backed securitisation in the shipping sphere has recently come to prominence in light of traditional financiers' reluctance to finance shipping activities. The amalgamation of Malta's securitisation framework and merchant shipping laws makes up for a sui generis alternative corporate vehicle to facilitate such transactions and provide the stability and security for which investors yearn.

The saga continues: bunker delivery notes under Maltese law
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 19 December 2018

The practice of inserting a reference to a physical supplier's applicable terms and conditions in a bunker delivery note is rife within the local bunkering community. Historically, case law on the subject has been sparse. However, a recent court judgment supports the view that bunker suppliers cannot pursue a vessel or its owners for unpaid bunkers unless that claim is privileged or the order came directly from the vessel, its owner or its agent.

Mortgage amendments – when are they required?
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 21 November 2018

A mortgage over a Malta-flagged vessel may be drawn up to secure the payment of a principal sum and interest, an account current or the performance of any other obligation – including a future obligation – due to a creditor by the debtor. The parties to an underlying security document may enter into negotiations resulting in changes to the terms set out in the security document. The question that therefore arises is whether a mortgage amendment should be registered to reflect the new terms.

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