EU Work-life Balance Directive grants parent-friendly leave regulations
In recent years, many workers have placed a more fulfilling work-life balance at the top of their agenda. The EU Work-Life Balance Directive, first introduced in 2019, granted Member States a three-year period to implement new laws that will facilitate workers’ access to family leave and flexible work.
Those three years are up and from August 2022, people working in Malta will also benefit from a new regulation that aims to promote work-life balance. So, what do these changes comprise of?
10 Days of Paternal Leave for New Fathers
As from 2nd August, new fathers in Malta will be entitled to 10 days of full paternal leave within the first 15 days of the baby’s birth, as opposed to the previous 1-day allowance. The issue of paternal leave has been highlighted locally, as fathers were expected to return to work the day following the birth of their child.
On the other hand, pregnant women remain entitled to 18 weeks of maternity leave, with the first 14 weeks paid by the employer and the last 4 weeks paid by the government. The new law stipulates that fathers will receive full pay during their paternal leave.
The legislative package will come into effect on 2 August and government will finance all measures until 2023. The private sector will have to contribute its share towards financing as from 1 January 2024.
Flexible Hours for Parents of Children Under Eight
As part of the EU Work-Life Balance Directive, parents of children younger than eight in Malta will be given the right to request flexible working hours.
Furthermore, parents will be entitled to two full months of paternal leave each, paid at sick leave rates. An additional two months of leave can then be distributed between both parents. This will replace the previous right to four months of unpaid leave per parent.
5 Days of Leave for Carers
Individuals taking care of sick relatives will be allowed to take five days of unpaid leave per year. This new system will replace the outdated regulation that saw days taken to care for relatives deducted from an employee’s sick leave or vacation leave. This leave will also be applicable if time off is required to care for a sick child.
Malta-based Employees Welcome New Regulations
This reform is also a step in the right direction for achieving gender equality in Malta. The previous laws gave little option for parents to share responsibility during the early days of parenthood, as men were expected to return to work while mothers were granted time off to care for their new-born. It’s important to note that ‘paternity’ leave applies to fathers, or to an equivalent second parent in the case of same-sex couples.
At AE, we provide a range of services for companies and individuals looking to move to Malta. Our team can guide you through the relevant Maltese laws and regulations and take care of the necessary paperwork for your relocation. For more information, get in touch on [email protected]