Last year we tackled the employment scenario in Malta through various used in employment in Malta. This article will go further beyond by explaining some other terms which are important in relation to employment in Malta.
Employment contracts can be indefinite or definite.
Indefinite: the employee is engaged in employment for an indefinite period, meaning it does not include a termination date. An indefinite contract of employment cannot be changed into a definite contract of employment.
Definite: the employer and employee agree on its duration, meaning such contract includes a termination date. A fixed term contract can be renewed up to a maximum period of four years, after which the employee shall be on an indefinite contract.
Termination during Probation
The first six months of employment are the probation period. During probation either party may terminate the employment without justification, provided that a week’s notice is given when the employment has exceeded one month. However, in the case of a pregnant employee, the employer is obliged to give the employee reasons in writing to justify the dismissal so long as they are unrelated to the employee’s condition.
Wages and Payslips
Wages should be paid at regular intervals, not exceeding 4 weeks in arrears. Employers must give their employees an itemised payslip, either before or on the date when the wages are due. A complaint can be lodged at the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations (DEIR) if the employer fails to pay the employee the wages due and if the employer fails to provide the payslip due.
An employer is not allowed to make deductions from the employee’s wage, except where permitted by law or by an order of a court. The employer can impose fines on the employees only if it is agreed in a collective agreement or specified in a contract of employment or written statement and authorised by the Director of Industrial and Employment Relations.
The employer can oblige an employee to work overtime, provided:
(1) the total hours of work do not exceed on average 48 hours a week.
(2) the employee has consented in writing to work more than the weekly average.
However, such a consent can be withdrawn by the employee, provided that a written notice of at least 7 days or a longer period of maximum 3 months as may be agreed, is given to the employer. Employees do not have to work overtime especially during pregnancy and for a period of 12 months from the birth of the child or from the date of a child’s adoption.
Most sectors have their overtime rate regulated by the respective Wage Regulation Order (WRO).
Employees whose overtime rate is not covered by this shall be paid one and a half (1.5) times the normal rate for each hour worked in excess of the 40 hours per week.
Where the working day is longer than six hours, an employee is entitled to not less than 15 minutes of rest, unless a longer period of rest is provided by another agreement. This rest period is not considered as working time.
The amount of sick leave varies according to each industry-specific sector and is stipulated in the relevant WRO that regulates each specific sector of industry. In the case of a sector not covered by a WRO, an employee is entitled to two working weeks of sick leave annually, calculated in hours.
When a public holiday falls on any day of the week that the full-time employee is not scheduled to work on such day as part of the normal weekly roster, the equivalent in hours of one working day is to be added to the employee’s vacation leave entitlement. In the case of part-time employees and full-time employees working reduced hours, the equivalent in hours of one day pro rata is to be added.
A pregnant employee may take an uninterrupted period of eighteen (18) weeks maternity leave as follow: First fourteen (14) weeks with full wages paid by the employer and the remaining four (4) weeks which are not paid by the employer. However, the employee must apply for the Maternity Leave Benefit to which she is entitled in terms of the Social Security Act. On termination of maternity leave, the employee has the right to resume work in the post formerly occupied before the start of the maternity leave, and if such a post is no longer available, to a similar post.
If you have difficulty or concerns about a particular situation in your employment you may reach out for guidance to the DIER, or alternatively reach out for a legal consultation.
Article written by Ms Charlene Sciberras, B.A. (Hons), guest writer, is a marketing and business administration specialist with a special focus on corporate, accounting, and legal matters.
Sciberras Advocates founded by Dr Adrian Sciberras, is a law firm based in Malta. The firm prides itself to be multi-disciplinary, innovative and flexible in order to meet the changing times and any challenges in the local and international legal scenario. No matter what private or corporate complex demands are called for, Sciberras Advocates offers practical and cost-effective legal solutions to achieve your desired results. You may reach Sciberras Advocates by phone on +35627795222 or via email on [email protected].