Government should foot bill for new parental leave measures, employers’ association says

Employers cannot be expected to carry the burden of paying salaries while workers are making use of additional leave allocations, the Malta Employers' Association said • UHM welcomes measures

The government should pay for the additional cost to employers of proposed increases in paternity leave
The government should pay for the additional cost to employers of proposed increases in paternity leave

The Malta Employers’ Association is calling on the government to reassure businesses that it will be covering the bill for any increase in labour costs brought about by proposed measures for more parental leave.

Men will benefit from 10 days of paid paternity leave as part of a new European Union directive provisionally agreed to last week between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

The directive sets the rate of pay for the paternity leave at not less than the national sick pay level, and introduces four months of parental leave of which two months will be paid and non-transferable. There will also be an annual five days carers’ leave.

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The MEA said on Tuesday that while it is not against family friendly measures in principle - as evidenced by the fact that many companies are adopting numerous models of such benefits for their employees - these benefits should not be added to the financial burden which employers are already carrying through the payment of maternity leave and increased annual leave.

“This additional leave places Malta among the countries with the highest number of annual leave days in the world. Employers – micro-businesses in particular – will be faced with increased disruption and loss of productivity from increased absence from work due to these measures,” the Association highlighted.

Businesses cannot be expected to also carry the burden of paying salaries during those absences, if Maltese enterprise is expected to remain competitive, the MEA added.

Work-life balance measures essential - UHM

In a statement Monday, UHM voice of the workers expressed support for the proposed measures, underlining that, in today’s reality, many employees expect to have such incentives available to them, to encourage them to remain in the position they occupy.

“The union contends that if in the past-paced world of today we don’t give to children what is their right - such as attention, quality time and a good upbringing - we would be providing the people of Europe, and particularly Malta, with a lifestyle characterised by weak foundations and a lack of values.

It said that the measures would lead to more positive sentiments in the workplace, an happier family life and stronger upbringing for children.

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