On 10 August 2018, four legal notices amending the Employment and Industrial Relations Act were published in the Government Gazette of Malta. Two legal notices amend regulations affecting temporary agency workers and business transfers, and two notices introduce new annual leave and itemized pay slip regulations.
Legal Notice No. 271 of 2018 introduces the Annual Leave National Standard Order, which repeals the Weekly Day of Rest and Annual Vacation Leave National Standard Order. The new regulation will introduce the following changes beginning 1 January 2019:
- Paid annual leave should be used on the days agreed by the employer and the employee and cannot be cancelled unilaterally. Both parties must agree to cancel booked leave.
- Employers may only use a maximum of 12 working days of the annual leave entitlement for the purposes of any type of shutdown, including a temporary closure of whole or part of the premises by the employer, bridge holidays and any other short periods of shutdown. In addition, shutdowns should be communicated to all employees by the end of January of the calendar year in which they will occur.
- Annual leave should continue to accrue to employees during periods of maternity leave (in accordance with the Protection of Maternity Regulations), sick leave and injury leave. If an employee still has an annual leave balance that could not be used by the end of the calendar year due to the use of another leave entitlement, the balance should be available to the employee upon his or her return or automatically carried over to the next calendar year.
- Any annual leave balance, including annual leave accrued during periods of maternity leave, sick leave or injury leave, should be paid by the employer to the employee upon termination of the employment contract, regardless of the reason for termination.
Legal Notice No. 272 of 2018 amends the Temporary Agency Workers Regulations in force since 2010. The amendments require equal pay between agency workers and directly hired workers who perform the same tasks. The equal pay obligation applies to agency workers after the first four weeks of the assignment. If the temporary worker is replaced before or at the end of the first four weeks, the replacement worker will be entitled to equal pay from the first day.
Legal Notice No. 273 of 2018 amends the Transfer of Business (Protection of Employment) Regulations and clarifies that the regulations apply only to undertakings being transferred in Malta. In addition, the amendments prohibit any changes to the conditions of employment of the employees affected by the transfer of undertakings.
Legal Notice No. 274 of 2018 introduces the Itemised Payslip Regulations, which require the employer to provide the employee with an itemized pay slip before or on the day the wages are due. The required information includes the name and address of the employer, the name and designation of the employee, the breakdown of the total wages paid and received, the number of normal and overtime hours, the number of hours of annual leave used and the remaining balance, the number of hours of sick leave used, a breakdown of any bonus, the allowances or commission received, and the deductions (if any). Noncompliance with the new pay slip regulations will result in a fine between EUR 500 and EUR 1,165.
While the Annual Leave National Standard Order enters into force on 1 January 2019, the three other legal notices entered into force on the date of their publication in the Government Gazette of Malta on 10 August 2018. Employers should ensure immediate compliance with the three legal notices and monitor the implementation timeline of the Annual Leave National Standard Order.
Government Gazette of Malta No. 20,037 – Legal Notice No. 271 of 2018 – Employment and Industrial Relations Act on Annual Leave National Standard Order, 2018.
Government Gazette of Malta No. 20,037 – Legal Notice No. 272 of 2018 – Employment and Industrial Relations Act on Temporary Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations, 2018.
Government Gazette of Malta No. 20,037 – Legal Notice No. 273 of 2018 – Employment and Industrial Relations Act on Transfer of Business (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2018.
Government Gazette of Malta No. 20,037 – Legal Notice No. 274 of 2018 – Employment and Industrial Relations Act on Itemised Payslip Regulations, 2018.