Leave entitlement is a crucial element of employment in Malta and is an essential feature of the country's labour laws. The provision of leave benefits ensures that employees have the right to take time off work for personal and family reasons without any fear of losing their job or pay. This aspect of employment not only provides job security to workers but also encourages a better work-life balance, which in turn can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
All The Leave Entitlement in Malta - Paid and Unpaid
In this article, we will provide an overview of leave entitlement in Malta, including vacation leave, sick leave, and special leave.
Vacation Leave in Malta
In Malta, employees are entitled to one hundred and ninety-two (192) hours of paid annual leave per year, which may increase depending on the number of public holidays falling on the weekend, which are added to the standard one hundred and ninety-two (192) hours. Employees should ensure to take their annual leave entitlement each year, since they cannot claim payment for any leave not applied for, unless there is written agreement between the employee and the employer stating otherwise. Moreover, in the absence of any written agreement, leave may not be carried forward to the following year. On the other hand, should there be a written agreement in place, it is only possible for the employee to carry forward up to fifty per cent (50%) of the annual leave entitlement to the following year.
Sick Leave in Malta
Employees who are unable to work due to illness are entitled to paid sick leave. The length of sick leave entitlement may vary depending on the job type and industry. Usually, unless the sector of work is covered by a specific Wage Regulation Order (‘WRO’), an employee is entitled to two (2) working weeks of sick leave annually, to be calculated in hours. In occasions of sickness, employees are required to provide a medical certificate to their employer to support their absence due to illness.
Carers’ Leave in Malta
Carers’ leave in Malta is a legal entitlement that provides employees with the right to take time off work to care for a family member who is ill or in need of assistance. This leave can be taken for a maximum of five (5) working days per year. Unless there is a written agreement with the employer, these five (5) days of leave shall be unpaid.
During the leave period, employees are entitled to social security benefits, which are paid by the government. Additionally, employers are prohibited from terminating an employee's contract or taking any adverse action against them for taking carer's leave. The purpose of carer's leave is to support employees in balancing their work and caring responsibilities, promoting work-life balance and employee wellbeing.
Injury Leave in Malta
This type of leave is designed to provide employees with time to recover and return to work safely. The length of injury leave entitlement may vary depending on the severity of the injury up to one (1) year. In most cases, employees are required to provide a medical certificate to their employer to support their absence due to injury. During injury leave, employees are entitled to receive a portion of their regular pay, as determined by law or their employment contract, and vacation leave and bonuses will continue to accrue nonetheless.
Maternity Leave in Malta
Female employees who are pregnant are entitled to eighteen (18) weeks of maternity leave.. Moreover, if ante-natal examinations have to take place during the employee’s hours of work, she is entitled to time off without loss of pay or any other benefit. During maternity leave, the employee is entitled to receive a maternity allowance from the government, equivalent to the average weekly wage. The employer is required to keep the employee's job open during maternity leave and should not discriminate against them in any way.
Paternity Leave in Malta
All employees who are equivalent to second parents are entitled to take paternity leave from work to provide care following the birth or adoption of a child. The paternity leave period is ten (10) working days, and employees can take this leave without any loss of wages. Importantly, there is no length of service requirement as the right to paternity leave is not subject to any period of work qualification. This means that employees are entitled to take paternity leave regardless of how long they have worked for their employer. This provision helps to support employees in balancing their work and family responsibilities, promoting employee wellbeing and work-life balance.
Parental Leave in Malta
Both male and female employees, provided that they have been at least twelve (12) months in continuous service with their employer, are entitled to unpaid parental leave when they give birth, adopt a child, foster a child, or gain legal custody of a child, to allow them to take care of their child. Each parent is entitled to four (4) months of parental leave until their child reaches eight (8) years of age. During this time, each parent will receive payment for two (2) months (eight (8) weeks), at the same rate as the sickness benefit entitlement under the Social Security Act. The leave must be taken in established periods of at least two (2) weeks each.
Marriage Leave in Malta
Employees have the right to take paid marriage leave in accordance with the relevant WRO that applies to their specific industry sector. The duration of the leave entitlement may differ depending on the specific regulations in place. For employees who work in activities that are not subject to any WRO, two (2) working days of marriage leave are permitted.
Urgent Family Leave
Under the Maltese law, employers are required to provide every employee with a total of fifteen (15) hours of paid leave per year for urgent family reasons. This leave must be deducted from the employee's annual leave entitlement. Urgent leave can only be granted in cases of sickness or accident affecting immediate family members of the employee.
In the event of the death of a close family member, all employees are entitled to take paid bereavement leave. The specific entitlement may differ depending on the WRO that applies to the employee's sector. For employees in work activities that are not regulated by any WRO, and there is no written agreement between the employer and the employee stating otherwise, one (1) working day of bereavement leave is permitted.
It is important to note that bereavement leave is only allowed for the death of certain relatives, these being the employee's spouse, parent, child, or sibling.. This provision recognises the importance of providing employees with time to grieve and attend to matters related to the death of a loved one, while also ensuring that employers are not unduly burdened by extended absences.
Employees who undergo in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment are entitled to a special type of leave amounting to one hundred (100) hours of leave with full pay per couple, independent from any other type of leave, with sixty per cent (60%) of the hours going to the receiving parent and the remainder going to the other prospective parent. This is designed to provide employees with time off work to undergo IVF treatment and to recover from the procedure. Employees are entitled to a maximum of three (3) cycles of IVF treatment.. The entitlement applies to both men and women, and the employee must inform the employers in writing, at least two (2) weeks in advance and provide a medical certificate to support their absence.
Court Witness Leave
There is no legal provision for granting special leave to employees to attend court as a witness. However, workers in the hospital and clinics sector are allowed to take special paid leave to attend court as witnesses in relation to police cases.
Jury Service Leave
Every employee has the right to take jury service leave, which allows them to take time off work on full pay to attend court for this purpose. This means that employees who are selected for jury duty will not be financially disadvantaged as a result of fulfilling their civic duty. The amount of time off granted will depend on the duration of the court proceedings, and employees must provide their employer with reasonable notice and proof of their status as a juror. This provision ensures that employees are not unduly penalised or disadvantaged for performing their civic duties, and helps to promote the fair and effective administration of justice.
In conclusion, the leave entitlement policies in Malta have been updated to provide better work-life balance for employees. The new regulations include increased minimum leave entitlements, more flexible working arrangements, and improved provisions for parental leave. These changes reflect a growing recognition of the importance of employee well-being and the need for workplaces to adapt to changing societal expectations. As we move forward into the future, it is essential that businesses and policymakers continue to prioritise the health and happiness of the workforce, ensuring that Maltese employees are able to enjoy their time off and achieve a better work-life balance. Ultimately, a happy and healthy workforce benefits not only the individual employees but also the businesses and communities they serve.
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