14-day quarantine period should be reconsidered, Malta Chamber says

Malta Chamber of Commerce Deputy President Marisa Xuereb says that quarantine leave is a major burden on businesses especially in sectors where employees cannot easily work from home

The Malta Chamber's pre-budget document launch
The Malta Chamber's pre-budget document launch

Optimised testing, contact tracing, and quarantine leave are needed to ensure the survival of viable businesses, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry said.  

During the chamber's pre-budget document launch, Deputy President Marisa Xuereb noted that quarantine leave is a major burden on businesses, especially in sectors where employees cannot easily work from home.

"When we have overly long quarantine periods, we are greatly reducing the productive capacity of these businesses. We need to think smart and make sure that we isolate people who have come in contact with infected people as quickly as possible and think a bit about the 14-day quarantine period," she said.

In their document, the chamber further details that any quarantine leave imposed by the Superintendent of Public Health should be taken as sick leave and paid by the government following the submission of a medical certificate.

Wage subsidy and voucher schemes

The chamber joins numerous other organisations in calling for the extension of the wage subsidy scheme, with a better focus on the upskilling of workers to help them move into more profitable sectors.

"We also think it is very important to maintain the wage subsidy scheme for as long as necessary - this is providing a lifeline to many businesses and it is also supporting many families. However, this needs to be linked to a process of business re-engineering and upskilling of our workforce, as well as to a process of encouraging workers who are in sectors where we do not see a recovery in the near future to shift to other sectors," Xuereb explained.

President David Xuereb also remarked that the wage supplement annexes ought to be updated to better reflect the need of different sectors. "There are industries that did not need these benefits but now need them, and there are industries that needed benefits but now don't need them," he said.

The Chamber also recommends a second round of government vouchers, whereby the allocation of the €100 between retail and hospitality is determined by the consumer depending on their lifestyle.

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