Employment and Industrial relations
- In 2002, the Maltese Parliament enacted legislation on employment and industrial relations, thus consolidating previous applicable labour law into one piece of legislation.
- The Employment and Industrial Relations Act (2002) which is in line with the EU acquis communitaire, sets up the Employment Relations Board principally responsible to promote the introduction of national minimum standard conditions of employment and sectoral conditions of employment aimed at ensuring standard conditions of employment in all sectors.
- The Act is accompanied by subsidiary legislation, that is Wage Regulations and Orders and the regulation of certain conditions of employment for specific sectors.
Other relevant legislation
- Other provisions delineated in this document fall under the following main legislation:
- Employment and Training Services Act (1990);
- Equal Opportunities Act (2000);
- Equality for Men and Women Act (2003);
- Occupational Health and Safety Authority Act (2002)
- Social Security Act (1989).
- and the respective subsidiary legislation.
DEFINITION OF EMPLOYEE
The Employment and Industrial Relations Act identifies different categories of employees.
An employee who is deemed to be a whole-time employee in terms of any recognised conditions of employment and includes any other employee who is in employment with any particular employer for not less than 40 hours per week.
If a person has more than one whole-time employment, the employment for which social security are payable is considered to be the whole-time employment of the employee.
Part-time employee/ Employee with reduced hours
This category of employee works for less than the number of hours of work applicable in terms of the recognised conditions of employment to a whole-time employee. Social security contributions are also payable.
The employee falling in this category is paid not less pro rata than the wage applicable to a whole-time employee in similar employment and is entitled to a share pro rata of the following, which whole time employee in similar employment with the same employer are entitled in terms of recognised conditions of employment applicable to them:
- the entitlement of public holidays with pay and annual vacation leave;
- benefits such as maternity leave, parental leave and leave for urgent family reasons;
- any entitlement of injury leave; and
- any entitlement to statutory bonus.
To which whole time employee in similar employment with the same employer are entitled in terms of recognised conditions of employment applicable to them.
CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT
A person may bind himself to give his/her services for a fixed term or for an indefinite period.
- A Contract of service/employment is defined in the Act as an agreement (other than service as a member of a disciplinary force) whether oral or in writing, in any form, whereby a person binds himself to render service to or to do work for an employer, in return for wages, and, in so far as conditions of employment are concerned, includes an agreement of apprenticeship.
- Where a written contract of employment has been signed between the employer and employee, the employer is bound to deliver to the employee a signed copy of the agreement by no later than 8 working days from the date of the contract.
- If no written contract of employment has been signed or less information that is required by law has been provided to the employee, the employer must give or send to the employee a letter of engagement or a signed statement, by no later than 8 working days from the commencement of employment which must include certain information as stipulated by the law.
- According to Maltese law, any employee on a fixed term contract of service whose contract has expired and is retained by his employer shall be deemed to be retained on an indefinite period contract if the said employee is not given a new contract of service for a fixed term within the first twelve working days following the expiry of the previous contract.
- In a situation where:
- the employee has been continuously employed under the contract of service (taken together with previous contracts for a fixed term) exceeding a period of four years; and
- the employer cannot provide objective reasons to justify the limitation of a renewal of such a contract for a fixed term,
- the contract of service for a fixed term shall be transformed into a contract of service for an indefinite duration.
The first six months of any employment under a contract of service is considered probationary employment unless otherwise agreed by the employer and employee for a shorter period.
Employees holding technical, executive, administrative or managerial posts and whose wages are at least double the minimum wage established in that year, such probation period is of one year unless otherwise specified in the contract of service or in the collective agreement.
During the probationary period the contract of employment may be terminated without assigning any reason, provided one weeks’ notice is given when an employee has been in employment of the same employer continuously for more than 1 month. However, it should be noted that there is an exception in the case where an employee is pregnant or has recently given birth or who is breastfeeding.