The Maltese Constitution crystallises each citizen’s right to work, stating that it is the duty of the State to protect work and that the law shall lay down the maximum number of hours of work per day, that it shall provide for a weekly day of rest and of annual holidays with pay, together with the safeguarding of equal treatment of men and women at the workplace and even the establishing of a minimum age at which one may be engaged in gainful employment.
The law fulfils these principles laid down by the Constitution mainly through the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, which deals in detail with matters such as:
- recognised conditions of employment,
- the protection of wages,
- protection against work related discrimination
- termination of contracts of services.
The Employment and Industrial Relations Act also regulates the organisation of workers and employers in employers’ associations and trade unions respectively.
With Malta’s accession to the European Union, the right to work has been strengthened by the enactment of a range of regulations aimed at adopting various directives regulating in detail areas of particular importance, namely the Guarantee Fund Regulations, the Protection of Maternity (Employment) Regulations and the Collective Redundancies (Protection of Employment) Regulations.
Another important piece of legislation is the Occupational Health and Safety (Authority) Act, which imposes duties on both the employer and the worker, seeking to create a safe system of work. More detailed duties arise from regulations enacted under this law such as the Protection of Maternity at Work Places Regulations, the Minimum Requirements for the Use of Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, other regulations dealing with exposure to chemical agents, carcinogens and mutagens and the Work Place (Minimum Health and Safety Requirements for Work at Construction Sites) Regulations.
In order for a foreign national to work in Malta, a work permit is required. Such permits are only granted upon fulfilment of all the necessary requirements:
- the applicant must have been offered a job from an employer in Malta,
- the applicant must be in possession of a qualification or skill that lacks in Malta
- there must exist a significant demand for a person with such qualities in a given sector of employment.
The issuance of a permit of work will automatically grant a residence permit to the applicant and his/her spouse. However, this will not automatically grant a work permit to the spouse unless the latter applies for such separately.
The firm assists its clients mainly in ensuring compliance with the obligations arising under the various laws regulating the employment sector in Malta and by advising on matters of termination of employment. Employment contracts are also drafted in a tailor-made fashion, catering for the particular client’s needs in each singular case.