Workers, what are your rights in Malta ?
If you are a refugee, an asylum seeker, a holder of subsidiary protection, Specific Residence authorisation, temporary humanitarian protection or even a failed asylum seeker, you can work legally here in Malta.
But what exactly are your rights? And what are the differences between these different statuses?
You will find all the answers in this article.
Let’s begin by the differences between these status.
As a refugee you have the right to get a licence delivered by "Jobsplus" for a period of twelve months or until the end of the validity of your status card issued by the Refugee Commissioner. This licence allows you to work as employees and self-employed; it is renewable against payment of the annual fees. The employer has to submit an Engagement Form declaring your employment.
If you are a holder of the subsidiary protection you benefit from the same rights as a refugee, but you are not eligible for certain kinds of jobs, like police or military.
If you are under the temporary humanitarian protection the only difference with the refugee’s status is that your licence delivered by “Jobsplus” is renewable for a maximum of one year.
If your application for asylum has been rejected, you don’t have protection, but you can apply for a job. “Jobsplus” can grant you a licence for 3 months for a particular employer and for a particular occupation. It’s the employer who applies for your work permit which is delivered uniquely for that particular employer and position. The permit is renewable every three months.
If you are an asylum seeker, you can work. The licence is delivered according to the Failed Asylum Seekers criteria. If the application is accepted the conditions of employment will be updated according to the status granted. If it is refused, they will be those listed above. The duration of the licence can be between 3 and 6 months depending on the status of the person’s application and the feedback given by the Refugees Commissioner. The licence is renewable against the payment of a fees and it’s delivered in the employer’s name who is the one who submits the application.
What are the workers rights here in Malta?
When you are allowed to work you can have a contract. A contract is important to ensure that the worker’s rights are respected and allows the worker to have social rights: paid holidays, access to unemployment,( only refugees are entitled to unemployment), care in case of illness, pension (only for refugees) ….
If no written contract has been signed, the employer has to give to the employee a signed document where the below informations can be found:
. The date of commencement of employment
· The period of probation
· The normal rates of wages payable
· Overtime rate of wages payable
· The normal hours of work
· Conditions under which fine may be imposed on the employer
· The title, category and nature of work for which the employee is employed.
The employer has to deliver to the employee his/her itemised payslips before or on the date when the wages are due. This itemised payslips has to contain information such as the number of normal hours worked, the number of overtime hours worked, the number of hours of annual leave utilised and the remaining balance, the basic wages received, a breakdown of any bonuses, allowances and commissions received and any deductions effected. The employee has the rights to request until four times a year a sick leave and the number of hours of sick leave availed of during the year.
The probation period happens at the beginning of employment during which the employee is assisted by his/her employers to learn his future job. After this period the employee decides if he/she wants to continue in that particular job. During this period the both parties may terminate the employment without giving any reason and one week notice is provided if the employment has exceeded one month.
Minimum wage, overtimes and organisation of working time regulation
Minimum wage for full and Part time employees in Malta is 4,48 euros per hour.
The normal hours of work are 8hrs a week, 40hrs a week. If you want to work overtime, it’s possible and most of the time these overtime hours are paid one and a half time the normal wage per hour. You have the right to refuse overtime if it exceeds 48hours a week without any problem but if your employer asks you to do less than 8 hours of overtime you have to do it.
What about the working time regulation?
· You are entitled to a 15-minute break for any work longer than 6 hours.
· If you work 11 hours consecutively in a period of 24 hours you can have a day-off.
· For each 7 days you are entitled to 35 hours of uninterrupted rest.
Since January 1. 2018, if you are a full-time worker (40 hours a week) you are entitled to 200 hours of paid annual leave. But you have also access to others leave :
· Sick leave
· Marriage leave
· Injury leave
Only 12 days out of the annual leave can be utilised by the employer for periods of shut down – to be communicated to employees by end of January of each year. If you don’t use your leave your remaining days are transferred to the next year, you never lose them.
Breaching conditions of employment and termination of contract
If your working conditions are not respected, you can file an application to the department of industrial and employment relations that will investigate and take the necessary steps.
You have the right to terminate the contract but with a notice. You will find below the duration of the notice according to the length of employment:
Not more than one month ( probation period)- No notice
· From 1 month to 6 months: 1 week notice
· From 6 months to 2 years: 2 weeks notice
· From 2 years to 4 years : 4 weeks notice
· From 4 years to 7 years : 8 weeks notice
· From 7 years to 8 years : 9 weeks
· From 8 years to 9 years : 10 weeks
· From 9 years – 10 years : 11 weeks
· More than 10 years : 12 weeks
If these deadlines are not met, you can submit a complaint to the industrial tribunal within four months from the dismissal.
We hope that this article was able to inform you and respond to your questions. If you still have any questions you can contact various entities that work for the workers rights :