Employment Newsletter Q1 – February 2021

Welcome to the fourth GVZH Employment Newsletter.

We hope that the start of 2021 has treated you well. In the sphere of Employment Law, we have certainly seen some interesting developments and discussions, with undoubtedly more to follow.

In this newsletter, amongst other things, we will explore Employment Law from a slightly different perspective, that is, from a human rights perspective, by discussing notions such as, the right to disconnect, discrimination in employment, and the proposed draft Equality Act of 2019. With ever more people working from home and needing to be increasingly hazy, the right to disconnect, amongst other rights, has become more and more prominent.

Other concepts, such as the reinstatement or re-engagement of employees following a decision of unfair dismissal, as well as the recharacterisation of employment relationships will also be discussed in this newsletter. The proposed Equality Act of 2019, and its potential of revolutionising the framework of Maltese employment legislation will also be explored.

We hope that you find this newsletter interesting and useful and feel free to get back to us with any feedback on employment@gvzh.mt .

Best regards,
The GVZH Employment Law Team

The intent behind this newsletter is purely to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice.

Will the Right to Disconnect become the New Reality?

The right to disconnect refers to a worker’s right to disengage from work and refrain from participating in work-related communications, such as emails and WhatsApp messages, during non-working hours. The increasing prevalance of the importance of the right to disconnect has resulted from the increase in work-related communications which are being experience by various workers across the board during the evening and on weekends.

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The Equality Bill and its Implication on Employment

Whereas the right not to be treated in a discriminatory manner is enshrined in the highest law of the land – the Constitution, measures in favour of protection against discrimination, specifically in relation to employment matters may be found both in the Employment and Industrial Relations Act (Chapter 452 of the Laws of Malta), as well as the Equality for Men and Women Act (Chapter 456 of the Laws of Malta).

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The Reinstatement of an Employee following a case of Unfair Dismissal

The Employment and Industrial Relations Act (‘EIRA’) regulates the powers of the Industrial Tribunal (‘Tribunal’) in cases of dismissal. Article 81(1) of the EIRA states that upon concluding that the dismissal of an employee was unfair, and upon the specific request by the complainant, the Tribunal may proceed with the reinstatement or re-engagement of such employee.

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The Recharacterisation of Employment –  A Reality

A preliminary ruling given by the Industrial Tribunal on the 15th of December 2020 in the case of Bourgeais vs. Sara Grech Ltd., has shed some well needed light on the matter of recharacterisation of employment in terms of the Employment Status National Standard Order, Subsidiary Legislation (‘SL’) 452.108.

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