Carmelo Abela suggests policy on mandatory remote working

One of the lessons of COVID-19 was that you could have employees working from home whilst maintaining productivity, Abela says

Minister Carmelo Abela
Minister Carmelo Abela

Minister Carmelo Abela has suggested that national policies on remote working in both the public and private sectors should start becoming mandatory.

This would mean that instead of this being dependent on the employee asking to work from home, the choice would depend on the employer. He made the announcment whilst participating in a webinar organised by Grant Thornton on the challenge of sustainable development. Michelle Piccinino, Executive Director at the Environment & Resources Authority and Dr Wendy Jo Mifsud, Architect at the Planning Authority, also participated in the seminar. The session was led by Austin Demajo, Partner at Grant Thornton.

He explained how one of the lessons of COVID-19 was that you could have workers working from home, while labour productivity would remain the same. At the same time, it would help to reduce congestion on the roads and bring down fuel emissions in the air.

He explained how organisations could utilize different models; an example of this would be that workers work three days a week from home and two days from the workplace or vice versa, depending on the demands of each workplace.

“Ultimately, we are obliged to take care of the world we live in today and, most importantly, to pass on a better world to future generations,” Abela said.

He also spoke about the challenge of sustainable development on an international level. A challenge that needs to be addressed as an international community, stressing that every United Nations member state needed to work together to achieve the seventeen sustainable development goals by 2030. Abela said that at a national level we must all work together, internally in the Government but also within private companies and civil society.

He stressed that this is why sustainable development is an integral part of the Government’s agenda, to the extent that it falls within the responsibility of the Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister. In fact, Malta is one of the few countries that has a specific model of governance for sustainable development in place that is supported by the Sustainable Development Act.