The Employment and Industrial Relations Act (EIRA) was enacted in 2002 by the Maltese Parliament to consolidate and build on earlier laws, rolling them into one and subsequently bringing the Act into line with the EQ Aqcuis Communitaire.
The Act is a standalone but is supported by subsidiary laws including Wage Regulations and Orders, Employment and Training Services Act (1990), Equal Opportunities Act (2000), Equality for Men and Women Act (2003), Occupational Health and Safety Authority Act (2002) and the Social Security Act (1989).
A full-time employee usually works a 40-hour week and is treated in accordance with full-time employee status according to the EIRA.
If a person has more than one full-time employment, the employment to which they pay social security contributions is deemed to be their main occupation.
Part-time employee / Employee with reduced hours
These employees work fewer hours of work applicable in terms of the recognised conditions of employment to a whole-time employee and for which social security contributions are also being paid.
Such employees are paid pro rata rather than on the wage applicable to full-time employees. Part-time employees enjoy the same benefits as full-time employees but on a pro rata basis, including Public Holidays with pay, annual leave, parental leave, emergency leave, injury leave and bonuses.
Contracts of employment
Contracts of employment are either for definite (fixed-term) or indefinite periods. The EIRA defines a contract of employment as an agreement where a person offers services or work to an employer in return for wages or salary.
With written contracts, the employer must give the prospective employee a copy of the agreement, signed and in written form within eight days of the agreement being struck. If a contract is not signed, the employee must deliver a letter of engagement within the same time period.
According to law, if a fixed-term employee’s contract expires, and they are kept in employment, they will be assumed to be on an indefinite contract if the employer does not present a new fixed-term contract within 12 days of the previous agreement’s expiry.
When the employee has been consistently employed (under various contracts) for over four years and the employer cannot justify the limitation of a new contract, the contract of service will automatically become an indefinite period one.
The law outlines that the first six months of any contract is probationary, unless otherwise agreed between the employee and employer for a shorter period.
If the employee earns more than double the set minimum wage in the year of engagement, probation period is extended to one year, unless agreed on in the contract, or in a collective agreement.
While under probation, an employee’s contract may be terminated without a reason, providing one week’s notice when the said employee has been in service for at least one month. Pregnant women , new mothers and breastfeeding mothers cannot be terminated as above.
Statement of Commencement of Employment and registration of employees
When an employer takes on a new staff member, they must fill in the Declaration of Commencement of Employment. For every new employee, the engagement form must be sent to Jobsplus (formerly Employment and Training Corporation) on the day that employment commences.
Required documents for employees
- Passport/Identification Card
- NI 3 (issued by the Department of Social Security and available For Maltese Nationals only)
- Non-EU individuals must get an Employment License from Jobsplus.
- Dual citizens born overseas require a certificate from the Department of Citizenship and Expatriates.
Employers must automatically deduct FSS Tax and Social Security Contributions (SSC) from employees’ wages or salaries on a monthly basis.