Employment and Industrial Relations Law

Appa! The Long-awaited upgrade to the long-forgotten rule

13 Jul 2022

3 min read

In terms of the EU Work-Life Balance Directive (EU) 2019/1158, each EU Member State was required to transpose into law a number of measures relative to several minimum rights for work-life balance by the 2nd of August 2022. On the 12th July 2022, Parliamentary Secretary for Social Dialogue Dr Andy Ellul officially announced that a new legislative package (via Legal Notice 201 of 2022) would be introduced on the transposition deadline day, i.e. 2nd August 2022, which will see an extension to Malta’s current paternal and parental laws.

In a nutshell, the proposed package includes the following salient points:

  • New fathers, or equivalent second parents, to get 10 days of fully paid paternity leave within the first 15 days of the baby’s birth, i.e. a 9-day upgrade when compared to the current law which allows for 1 day of paternity leave;
  • Introduction of “Carers’ Leave” whereby parents are allowed to take 5 days of unpaid leave to support a relative who is unwell or who needs caring for as opposed to having it reduced from their own personal or sick leave as is currently the case;
  • Parental leave is to now be divided into 2 months of paid parental leave for each parent together with another 2 months of unpaid parental leave transferable between the parents instead of the current 4-month unpaid parental leave for each parent; and
  • Parents of children under 8 years of age will also have the right to request and be granted flexible work arrangements.

As to the funding of these additional measures, Dr Ellul confirmed that the Government shall only take on the financial burden until the end of 2023, thereby shifting such to employers and the private sector from 1st January 2024.

Dr Ellul acknowledged that the Maltese Government has, by means of the proposed laws which are to enter into force within the next 3 weeks, opted for the bare minimum in terms of the aforementioned Directive, however, stated that this was a historic moment and promised “the beginning of something bigger.”

From Lensa’s recently published index ranking Malta 9th worst globally in paid parental leave to Dr Ellul’s announcement yesterday, it is clear that a step in the right direction was made, however many will definitely be holding the Parliamentary Secretary accountable in the near future, as they strive to ascertain that Malta no longer holds on to the bare minimum but follows in the footsteps of the other EU Member States who have opted for longer periods, which will inarguably leave a more positive impact.


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