Fenech & Fenech Advocates updates

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.

Annual Leave National Standard Order: possible effects on maternity, sick and injury leave
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • 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.

Lost mortgage instruments
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Malta
  • 07 November 2018

The registration of a mortgage over a Malta-flagged vessel in favour of an individual, corporate lender or security trustee (the mortgagee) requires the filing of a statutory mortgage instrument (the deed) at the Maltese Ship Registry. However, what happens if the original mortgage instrument is misplaced? Maltese law affords two remedies in such instances; the chosen remedy will depend on the remaining duration of the registered security.

New (now suspended) legal notices
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 19 September 2018

Four new legal notices affecting employment laws were recently published in the Government Gazette. Whether the notices must be considered as law and enforceable before the Maltese tribunals and courts is now the subject of debate. However, it is clear that the government intends to introduce some piecemeal changes that will affect employers significantly, including new rules on payslips that all employers – irrespective of size – must issue and new limitations on holiday leave arrangements.

Temporary Agency Workers Regulations: changes on the horizon?
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Malta
  • 19 September 2018

If enacted, a recently published legal notice will introduce amendments to the Temporary Agency Workers Regulations, including expanding the concept of assigned temporary workers, redefining 'pay' and removing the equal pay rule exception. This article summarises the proposed amendments to the regulations and raises some pertinent questions.

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