A Closer Look at Malta’s New Employment Laws

18 January 2022

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on life at work, making the topic of employment flexibility and work-life balance more prominent than ever before. This became particularly evident at a European level through the enactment of EU Directive 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable working conditions (“the Directive”), as an effort to modernise and harmonise working conditions for employees within the EU. The Directive was transposed into Maltese legislation through Legal Notice 267 of 2022 (“Legal Notice”) and applies to all employment relationships with effect from 1 August 2022.

Read on to discover the main changes introduced in the Legal Notice and how they might affect you.

Information to be provided to employees

The Legal Notice seeks to inform employers of their obligation to provide employees with information on their rights and entitlements, specifying certain employment conditions that employees must be made aware of. These include but are not limited to:

  • Information on the employer including name, registration number and address
  • Information on the place where the work will be carried out, or if this cannot be provided, then the contract should state that the employee is being employed to carry out work in several places.
  • Information on the job title together with a job description
  • The starting date of employment and in cases where the employment relationship has a fixed term, the employer is required to include the end date or the duration period of the employment relationship
  • The duration and conditions of the probation period
  • The amount of statutory paid leave as applicable by law.

Additionally, employers are obliged to provide employees with an employment contract within 7 days of their first day of employment. Failure to do so will give employees the right to complain and request intervention from the competent authority, being the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations (“DIER”).

Prohibition of zero-hour contracts

The new employment laws aim to offer predictable and stable working conditions for employees by addressing the misuse of zero-hour contracts, which had previously been unregulated in Malta. In zero-hour contracts, a minimum number of hours are not guaranteed to the employee meaning that employees might work varying hours from week to week or may not work at all. Through this Legal Notice, employers must now include in the employment contract the number of guaranteed paid hours and the remuneration for those hours, as well as extra hours that the employee may work. Employers must also reference the hours and days when work may be required and set a minimum period of notice before the start of work. An exception is made for full-time students who seek employment and for work that requires the availability of replacement of workers on short notice.

Parallel employment

Another important prohibition is that an employer cannot prevent employees from taking up employment with other employers or providing services to third parties outside of their work schedule.

That being said, an employer can prohibit an employee from having other employment relationships for valid reasons, such as protecting business confidentiality, health and safety or preventing conflicts of interest.

Mandatory training costs

One of the key introductions brought about by the Legal Notice involves the provision of training. The Legal Notice stipulates that when an employer is required by EU law, national law or any collective agreements to provide training to an employee to be able to perform their work, such training must be provided at no cost to the employee and shall count as part of the working time of the employee. When possible, the training should be scheduled during the employee’s working hours.

This clause prohibits employers from asking for reimbursement in cases where an employee resigns after receiving such training.

Leave entitlement

As specified above, employers must make available to the employee information on the amount of statutory paid leave entitlement as applicable by law, which includes vacation leave, parental leave, paternal leave, maternity leave, carer’s leave, urgent family leave, bereavement leave, marriage leave, quarantine leave, jury service leave, sick leave and injury leave. In cases where such information cannot be indicated immediately upon giving the employee the information required, then the employer must indicate the procedures for allocating and determining such leave periods.

Other introductions

The new S.L 452.126 also introduces new regulations in relation to the employees who are required to work outside Malta, the obligation of the employer to keep records on employees, and what information can be kept in this regard and working hours predictability.

Enforcement of the Legal Notice

If an employer is found to have violated an employee’s rights, they may be fined a minimum of €450.

If an employee’s rights under the Legal Notice are violated, they have the right to dispute resolution and to seek compensation by filing a complaint with the competent authority. These rights remain in effect even after the employment has ended. Furthermore, if an employee is dismissed for refusing to comply with an employer’s illegal demands, it would be considered an unfair dismissal. In such cases, the employee can ask the employer to provide a written explanation for the dismissal and can further file a complaint with the Industrial Tribunal.

For more information, you can refer to the FAQs on the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Regulations of 2022 by the DIER here.

How we can help

At AE legal, our professional and experienced team of lawyers are ready to ensure that your rights are protected. We provide consultations and legal advice on various aspects of employment law, which are tailormade to guide and advise both employers and employees. If you have any questions about interpreting these new employment laws or if you believe your rights have been violated, do not hesitate to reach out to us at info@ae.com.mt.

Key Contacts

Joseph Grech


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