Union chief calls for more job flexibility to achieve better family-work life balance

UĦM Voice of the Workers CEO Josef Vella says successful policies that helped more people join the workforce have caused new pressures on families

UĦM Voice of the Workers CEO Josef Vella
UĦM Voice of the Workers CEO Josef Vella

Increased job flexibility is required to enable workers with children to enjoy more quality time with their family, UĦM CEO Josef Vella said.

He said that policies, which his union supported eight years ago, to help boost the workforce by encouraging more women to join the labour market created new challenges.

“We are proud to have been part of the active market policy eight years ago but one thing we learnt is that nothing is perfect and the success of having more people in work is now causing new pressures on working parents,” Vella said.

He was speaking at a business breakfast on Wednesday during which Finance Minister Clyde Caruana kicked off a consultation process to have a new labour market policy by October.

Vella said that flexibility on the workplace and the use of reduced hours were needed to mitigate the stress that some families are under as a result of both parents working.

The UĦM had been at the forefront in 2012 in proposing an active labour market policy, which all political parties eventually endorsed before the 2013 general election. Caruana acted as a consultant to the UĦM at the time.

After the 2013 election, the incoming Labour government appointed Caruana head of JobsPlus and entrusted him with crafting a labour market strategy.

Now, as Finance Minister, also responsible for work, Caruana wants to draw up a new policy to respond to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequences of rapid economic growth of the past few years.