Can­cer pa­tients and work­ing par­ents en­ti­tled to spe­cial leave; min­i­mum wage will in­crease – PM

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Rachel At­tard

“If an em­ployee is di­ag­nosed with can­cer he or she will be el­i­gi­ble for more leave so that he or she can re­ceive treat­ment,” Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat said in San Ġwann yes­ter­day morn­ing.

He said that un­til now, when a can­cer pa­tient needs leave to re­ceive treat­ment, his or her em­ployer and other em­ploy­ees al­low him or her ex­tra days away from work or give up some of their va­ca­tion en­ti­tle­ment. This gov­ern­ment, to­gether with the em­ploy­ers, wants to reach an agree­ment that stip­u­lates that can­cer pa­tients are en­ti­tled to more leave so that they can re­ceive treat­ment

Another agree­ment that needs to be reached and in­tro­duced next year is that for spe­cial leave to par­ents with sick chil­dren. He said that “one of the rea­sons why women do not join the work­force is fam­ily con­straints, such as chil­dren get­ting sick with no one to take care of them.”

Min­i­mum wage was another is­sue ad­dressed by the Prime Min­is­ter. Dr Mus­cat said that “this gov­ern­ment, in the Bud­get, has al­ready sent a sig­nal that the min­i­mum wage nowa­days is not ad­e­quate and not enough for to­day’s needs.” Nowa­days, you can’t sus­tain a fam­ily if you are on the min­i­mum wage and what we did this year is in­crease it. Dr Mus­cat said that the next step is for the em­ploy­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tions, to­gether with the trade unions, meet, to dis­cuss and reach an agree­ment re­gard­ing the min­i­mum wage, and if this does not hap­pen, the gov­ern­ment will have to in­ter­vene and de­cide.

Dr Mus­cat said that these are some of the “so­cial rev­o­lu­tion” mea­sures that the coun­try is ready to take so that the con­di­tions for its work­ers will im­prove. He said that this rev­o­lu­tion is the next in line af­ter two “rev­o­lu­tions” in the en­ergy and health sec­tors that this gov­ern­ment has made in the past three and a half years. Dr Mus­cat said that “we are not the es­tab­lish­ment but the es­tab­lish­ment are those who want things to re­main the same. We are def­i­nitely not like that. We are the move­ment of change in this coun­try and as a re­sult of this we will al­ways find peo­ple who try to sup­press our ideas.”

Dr Mus­cat also spoke about a change in men­tal­ity vis-a-vis for­eign work­ers. “It is not true that the law makes a distinction be­tween Mal­tese and for­eign work­ers.” He said that for­eign work­ers are im­por­tant in our econ­omy be­cause our em­ploy­ers are not find­ing enough Mal­tese work­ers. For­eign work­ers, how­ever, should have the nec­es­sary per­mits to be able to work. Peo­ple who come to Malta il­le­gally and are not el­i­gi­ble to any hu­man­i­tar­ian pro­tec­tion should be de­ported.

Dr Mus­cat said that he was in agree­ment with the po­lice who this week de­ported 30 peo­ple back to their re­spec­tive “safe coun­tries” in Africa. He em­pha­sized that no in­ter­na­tional law is be­ing bro­ken and an agree­ment with the Euro­pean Union has been reached to en­sure that the rights of these mi­grants will be pro­tected in their home coun­try.

The Prime Min­is­ter spoke about the Cabi­net meet­ing which took place in Brus­sels last Wed­nes­day, in which the ma­jor­ity of the Min­is­ters at­tended as part of prepa­ra­tions for Malta to take over the EU pres­i­dency. He said the Cabi­net mem­bers were shown re­spect by their coun­ter­parts in the Com­mis­sion and added that “re­spect can’t be bought but it is gained and this week the EU Com­mis­sion showed us that we are well pre­pared for the Pres­i­dency.”

Dr Mus­cat added that “while oth­ers try to dent our work, the Pres­i­dent of the EU Com­mis­sion Jean Claude Juncker, whose main in­ter­est is the well­be­ing of Europe, went out of his way to show us sup­port.”

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