11th November 2020

As if the impact of COVID-19 on Human Resources Management during the last months was not enough (to which we have at least growing accustomed by now) employers are currently reeling from novel provisions contained in new Legal Notices, regulations and practices which have added to the existing burden which HR is obliged to handle throughout these unprecedented times.

Employers who have to date grown accustomed to receiving monthly financial assistance in the form of wage supplements to assist them in paying out their employees’ wages must be prepared for a potential slight change in circumstances come December. The supplement in the latter month will be received a few days prior to Christmas day (25th December), with the remaining days of the month to be covered by the January supplement. This will have an impact on potential mismatches on the end of year reports. How do we go about it?

In his budget speech, the Minister of Finance announced that the Department for Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER) will increase its routine inspections in workplaces. During such inspections carried out in recent weeks, the DIER has been specifically requesting the presentation of time sheets to ascertain that employees are not working hours than allocated in accordance with their employment contract and any permits issued due to the current circumstances. This seems to indicate that time sheets are becoming strictly obligatory and current workplace practices may have to be adjusted in this light. Is there an alternative to this?

A measure announced in the 2020 budget had an impact on the information which should be made available on the payroll, wherein the number of overtime hours on which 15% tax would have been deducted was to be noted monthly on employee payslips. Are you in line with this?

Furthermore, you are obliged to note that employees who are teleworking from their home country (i.e. outside of Malta) and have been doing so for over 6 months might end up having to pay tax in both Malta and their home country. You may need to seek tax advice on this and furthermore inform such employees of the possibility of this occurring.

The number of days of vacation leave an employer may pay for if not transferred to the year after has increased and will increase during the coming year too. Are you aware?

And these are just a few of the new headaches which we’ll have to deal with! We will be addressing the above and much more during a webinar we will be holding on the 10th December (morning) entitled ‘COVID-19 & Employment – What We’ve Learnt’. The virus has left many of us exposed and vulnerable, and whilst oftentimes eyes were shut to certain issues which arose, it is now high time that we get the house in order, especially in view of the potential increase in DIER inspections.