Employment and Industrial Relations Law

Recent Amendments to Maltese Labour Legislation

20 Aug 2018

5 min read

On the 10th August 2018, a number of Legal Notices have been published introducing and/or amending the framework of employment legislation in Malta.  Below is a summary of the changes introduced:

Introduction of the “Annual Leave National Standard Order”

These new Regulations on the one hand introduce new principles in respect of the organisation of vacation leave whilst at the same time crystallising the position in respect of other principles which had developed through case law, including that of the ECJ.  Below is a summary of the principles covered by the newly introduced Standard Order:

  • Annual  leave entitlement shall be availed of on days agreed upon between the employer and employee.
  • As from the 1st of January 2019, unless otherwise agreed to in any applicable collective agreement, the employer may only utilize up to the equivalent in hours of twelve working days from the annual leave entitlement for  the  purposes  of  any  type  of shutdown,  including  a  temporary  closure  of  whole  or  part  of  the premises  by  the  employer  for  bridge  holidays  or  any  other  short periods of shutdown.  Any type of shutdown, including a temporary closure of whole or part of the premises by the employer for bridge holidays, shall be communicated to all the employees by the end of January of each calendar year.
  • Once  leave  from  the  annual  leave  entitlement  of  the employee has been agreed to by the employer and the employee, such leave cannot be cancelled unilaterally but can only be cancelled if both the employer and the employee are in agreement.
  • Annual leave shall continue to accrue in favour of an employee during the period when she is on maternity leave.   Any balance of annual leave unavailed of by the end of the calendar year shall be automatically transferred to the next calendar year when it has not been possible for the employee to avail herself of such leave during the same year when the maternity leave commenced.
  • When a public or national holiday falling on a day of work or on a weekly day of rest not being a Saturday or a Sunday falls within a period of maternity leave, such  employee  shall  be  entitled  to  the  equivalent  in  hours  of  an additional day of annual leave.
  • Annual  leave  shall  continue  to  accrue  in  favour  of  an employee during the period when he is on sick leave or injury leave, irrespective of whether the sick leave or the injury leave is fully paid, partially paid or unpaid.  Any balance of annual leave unavailed of by the end of the calendar year shall be automatically transferred to the next calendar year when it has not been possible for the employee to avail himself of such leave during the same year when the sickness or injury leave commenced.
  • Any period of pre-arranged leave coinciding with a period of maternity, sickness or injury leave shall be considered as not having been availed of but shall be availed of after the return to work or shall be carried on to the subsequent year if such leave could not be availed of during the same year when the maternity, sickness or injury leave commenced.

Introduction of the “Itemised Payslip Regulations”

In terms of law the employer is bound to give to his employees an itemised payslip either before or on the date when the wages are due.  These new Regulations provide for those minimum requirements which must be included in the relative payslips:

  • the name of the employer
  • the name of the employee,
  • the address of the employer
  • the employee’s designation,
  • the total wages paid and the breakdown thereof and the period in respect of which the contents  relate  to.
  • the number of normal hours worked including those worked on Sunday or on a public holiday when this is part of the scheduled normal hours;
  • the number of hours entitled at overtime or special rate broken down into those in excess of normal daily or weekly hours, hours worked on a Sunday or on a public holiday;
  • the number of hours of annual leave availed of and any remaining balance;
  • the number of hours of sick leave availed of during a calendar year;
  • the basic wages received;
  • a  breakdown  of  any  bonuses,  allowances  or commissions received; and
  • any deductions effected, including national insurance contributions, tax and others

Amendments to the “Temporary Agency Workers Regulations”

The aim of the amendments is to close a loophole which may have existed in the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work between the agency workers and workers engaged by the user undertaking.

Amendments to the “Transfer of Business (Protection of Employment) Regulations”

The amendments affect the scope of the applicability of the Transfer of Business (Protection of Employment Regulation.  The said amendments further clarify that in the case of a transfer of undertakings or a service provision change the said Regulations apply only when the undertaking to be transferred is situated in Malta.  This is particularly relevant in cross-border transfers.  Furthermore in virtue of the new amendments introduced, the conditions of employment of employees affected by the transfer are to remain unchanged throughout any negotiations leading to a transfer of undertakings.

For further information about how GVZH Advocates can help you with your employment legal requirements, kindly contact us on employment@gvzh.mt.