Malta is one of the Member States that will benefit most from a new EU directive on work life balance that grants new rights to citizens and married couples.
Leave for fathers, or the second parent in the case of same-sex relationships, will increase from one day to 10 days at the time of the birth of a child.
The existing law on leave for parents caters for four months of leave for each parent until the child reaches the age of eight. It is however very rarely used in Malta because no part of this leave is paid. The directive will make two months non-transferrable between parents and adequately paid.
In addition, the directive will introduce carer’s leave that will enable workers to take leave in order to care for sick relatives. “In Malta this will be a completely new right,” said PN Head of Delegation David Casa who was the lead negotiator.
It is hoped that the Directive, when enforced, will result in a positive impact on the economy. “Not only will it provide new rights for employees who care for elderly relatives or other family members, but it will provide adequate compensation for these types of leave thus reducing some of the pressures that are placed on these individuals,” he added.
In terms of gender equality, latest statistics show that only 61% of women participate in the labour force in Malta, meaning there is significant room for improvement which in turn will help the economy to flourish.
In addition, supporting women to reach their full potential in terms of employment and not hampering their efforts based on whether they choose to have a family will help to close the gender, pay, pension, and employment gaps in the country.
Casa added in this statement that according to Eurofund, the gender employment gap costs the EU in excess of €370 billion every year.
Malta has one of the biggest gender employment gaps in the EU which not only costs the economy dearly, but means that a large percentage of the country’s women who are capable of working, are not.
The provisional agreement will be formally adopted by both the European Parliament and the Council before it becomes enforceable across all Member States.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Commissioners Marianne Thyssen and Vĕra Jourová embraced the agreement with the following statement: “The provisional agreement reached by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission today is good news for families in Europe. The European Pillar of Social Rights is about improving the daily lives of Europeans.”