The recently suspended employment laws raised fundamental legal questions that had to be addressed before being published, the Malta Employment Lawyers Association (MELA) said in a statement that slammed the government for its failure to consult stakeholders.
Legal notices published last week revising rules on vacation leave and payslips have been withdrawn. The government said it would go back to the drawing board and discuss them with social partners after employers associations objected to the new regulations.
MELA said: “Taken within the context of the difficulties already faced by all stakeholders in this area, the association has time and again offered its services to government to facilitate a holistic overview of employment laws and also put forward proposals for a much-needed overhaul of the Industrial Tribunal, which have not been given much weight further to their submission”.
The employment lawyers association said it regretted that, also on this occasion, the government had failed to consult any key stakeholders and now “had to hastily roll-back its piecemeal attempt at patching up some laws”.
The suspended regulations included allowing workers to have their annual leave allotment continue to accrue even when employees were on maternity, sickness or injury leave and even when on unpaid leave.
MELA said it looked forward to participating in consultations on the law and hoped that positive headway to real progress will be made sooner rather than later.
The Confederation of Maltese Trade Unions (For.U.M.) and Moviment Graffitti accused the government of caving in to pressure by employers after suspending regulations protecting workers’ rights.