Equality for men and women
The Equality for Men and Women Act prohibits discrimination based on sex/gender and family responsibilities, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief, racial or ethnic origin, and gender identity in employment; banks and financial institutions, as well as education and vocational guidance; and discrimination based on racial / ethnic origin and gender in the provision of goods and services and their supply.
Also outlined are the illegality of sexual harassment at the place of work and discrimination in advertising (related to employment vacancies).
The Access to Goods and Services and their Supply Regulation implements the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to goods and services and their supply.
With regards to the provision of goods and services, the Equal Treatment of Persons Order implements the principle of equal treatment in the provision and supply of goods and services between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.
The National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) prohibits any form of discrimination based on:
- (i) sex/gender and family responsibilities, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief, racial or ethnic origin, and gender identity in employment; banks and financial institutions, as well as education and vocational guidance; and
- (ii) racial / ethnic origin and gender in the provision of goods and services and their supply.
Further clauses against discrimination
Some further clauses against discrimination are also incorporated in specific subsidiary legislation, of the employmet law including:
- regulations on part-time employees;
- regulations governing contracts of service for fixed-term employees;
- regulations on the posting of workers;
- regualations on equal treatment in employment;
- regulations on temporary agency workers.
Occupational Health and Safety
Your main obligations in the area of occupational health and safety (OHS) are to:
- Ensure the health and safety at all times of all persons who may be affected by the work being carried out;
- Provide such information, training, instruction and supervision as are required to ensure OHS;
- Make an assessment of the risks to OHS in the workplace and provide adequate protective and preventive services;
- Provide adequate emergency prevention, preparedness and response measures at one's place of work such as first aid, fire-fightingand evacuation of workers;
- Ensure the consultation and participation of all workers in advance and in good time on all matters affecting OHS;
- Ensure the continuous monitoring of the work environment and the surveillance of workers' health to detect potential risks to health and safety.
Malta's Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA) is responsible for ensuring that the physical, psychological and social well being of all workers in all work places are promoted and ensuring that they are safeguarded by whoever is so obliged to do.
When employing a worker, you should explain the conditions of work to your employee and where no written employment contract has already been signed, give to the employee a signed statement showing the employee's basic conditions of employment.
Every employment contract/statement must abide by the minimum conditions of employment laid down in the Employment and Industrial Relations Act and any regulations issued thereunder.
Wages should be paid at regular intervals not more than four weeks in arrears. The national minimum wage is established by a NationalStandard Order. For 2013, it is €162.19 (18 years & over), €155.41 (17 years), €154.57 (under 17 years). Other minimum wages applicable to specific industrial sectors are established by Wage Regulations Orders.
- National Minimum Wage National Standard Order
- Wage Regulations Orders
When the government announces a cost of living increase in its annual budget, you must add the amount of the cost of living increase to the employee's salary, as established by the Wage Increase National Standard Order.
- National Minimum Wage National Standard Order, 2012
You can only make deductions from the employee's wage if, and where expressly permitted by law.
The Organisation of Working Time Regulations stipulate:
- daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours per 24 hour period;
- weekly rest of 24 hours in a period of 7 days, or 48 consecutive hours in a period of 14 days, in both cases in addition to 11 hours daily rest;
- rest break of at least 15 minutes, where the working day is longer than 6 hours;
- 192 hours of paid annual leave for a 40 hour working week;
- the need for the employer to have the employee's written consent to work over a weekly average of 48 hours.
The Employment and Industrial Relations Act enables the relevant minister to set the maximum weekly working hours (including overtime), minimum daily rest, weekly rest periods and annual leave. The minister may also make different provisions for different classes of employees.
The Maltese Government provides protection and measures for those who are working at balancing employment and private life. There are several policies which the government has implemented, some are public policies and others are also applicable to the private sector.
Part of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality's remit includes working as a complaints body which receives and initiates complaints procedures where there is discrimination based on gender and family responsibility at the place of work or discrimination based on gender or race/ethnic origin in the provision of goods and services.
The Department of Industrial and Employment Relations is empowered to receive complaints related to discrimination in employment and has the obligation to institute criminal proceedings against the alleged perpetrator of an alleged breach.
However, every aggrieved person can concurrently take civil action for damages, and also can institute an action before the Industrial Tribunal within 4 months from the alleged act. The Industrial Tribunal, if it finds in favour of plaintiff, orders the defendant to grant compensation to the alleged victim of discrimination.
Mandatory social rules complete the requirements related to managing staff.
Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum social legal requirements at their own initiative.
Non-discrimination, equal treatment and gender equality
An important function of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality is to investigate complaints received by persons who feel that their rights have not been upheld in the provision of goods and services with regards to gender and race/ethic origin and in relation to gender and family responsibilities at the place of work, including discriminatory policies and legislation.
Moreover, the Commission may also initiate investigations on any matter involving an act or omission that is allegedly unlawful. All information regarding the complaint as well as the complainant's identity are dealt with in the utmost confidentiality.
Any application received by the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality is dealt with as delineated in our quality service charter.
Health and safety at work
You should ensure that you undertake the following:
- Appropriate arrangements for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective OHS measures of that enterprise are in place, taking into consideration the nature of the activities, the risks involved, the work process taking place, the size of the undertaking etc;
- All occupational health and safety hazards which may be present and the resultant risks shall be subject to a suitable, sufficient and systematic assessment. This risk assessment shall consider the risks to health and safety to which workers are exposed whilst at work, as well as the risks to the health and safety of other persons, including visitors to the place of work, where such risks arise from, or are in connection with the work being carried out, or the conduct of the undertaking. You should be aware that where five or more workers are employed, this risk assessment shall be kept in a written or retrievable electronic format and be updated regularly;
- There shall be designated one or more persons having the necessary aptitude, capabilities, competence and training to assist the employer in undertaking the measures which are required to be taken in relation to the protection of occupational health and safety and the prevention and control of occupational risks;
- All workers are consulted, involved and allowed to participate in advance and in good time in all matters affecting OHS;
- The work environment and the surveillance of workers' health are continuously monitored to detect potential risks to health and safety as well as to assess the effectiveness of the OHS measures being taken;
- Each worker receives adequate training on health and safety, in particular in the form of information and instruction specific to the workstation and to the task assigned, which training shall be given;
- upon recruitment;
- in the event of a transfer or a change of job or task;
- in the event of the introduction of new work;
- for equipment or if there is a change in equipment;
- on the introduction of any new technology;
- on the introduction of new work practices.
Social Security contributions
All employed, self-employed, self-occupied as well as unemployed persons may be insured.
There are two classes of contributions:
- the Class One contribution payable in respect of Employed Persons;
- the Class Two contribution paid by Self-Employed Persons.
Contributions are payable by all persons between the age of 16 years and the age of their retirement which could be anywhere between the age of 61 years (60 in the case of females) and the age of 65 years.
This depends entirely on the date on which the person chooses to give up employment or self-occupation in terms of the Social Security Act and claim a pension in respect of retirement.
There are different rates of contributions depending mainly on the income of the person concerned, and whether the occupation is of an employed, self-employed or self-occupied nature.
Social Insurance ID
Every person who is insured under the Social Security Act is given a National Insurance number which consists of a letter and eight digits.
This is a unique personal number which the person will need to quote and use in correspondence and claims for benefits from the Social Security Division.
The application form together with the report for both these benefits must be completed by the employee, 2 witnesses, his/her employer (or a police officer in case of a self-occupied person) and the treating doctor.
As stated above, the industrial disease or injury is certified by the treating doctor. However, when incapacity for work exceeds 10 days, the case is assessed by the medical panel of the Social Security Division.
The person concerned has to submit a duly filled in application as explained above, together with all the details requested, signatures of witnesses, and report of the treating doctor and employer (police officer in the case of a self-occupied person).
The application has to be submitted to the Social Security Division through one of its offices found in various localities around the Maltese islands.
The time limit to submit an application for a benefit in respect of an industrial disease or injury is 10 days starting from the first day of incapacity for work.
A list of all occupational health and safety legislation in force in Malta is available on the OHSA website, including information leaflets, guidance documents, training courses and codes of practice on the legislation in force.
More information may be accessed from the website of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.