Public holidays issue ‘a grave concern’ for employers
The electoral promise to compensate workers for public holidays that fall on a weekend continues to be of grave concern for the GRTU, Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, Malta Employers Association and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association.
The issue had come up for discussion on Thursday, with European Affairs and Equality Minister Helena Dalli having said that adding bank holidays or giving extra leave days to workers are part of the proposals being discussed by the government with the social partners in its bid to implements its electoral promises of giving employees an extra day of rest for public holidays falling on a weekend.
But yesterday the four employer bodies confirmed that in the past days they had held separate meetings with Minister Helena Dalli where they expressed their grave concern and continued opposition to this measure.
The opposition stems from the fact that the four employer organisations believe that Malta’s current growth must not be taken for granted.
Once additional benefits are granted to workers, they will be considered irrevocable irrespective of an economic slowdown which may threaten jobs.
The four organisations reiterated that they are in favour of family friendly measures and the improvement of quality of life for workers as long as they are economically viable.
In a statement, the employer bodies said, “Nevertheless, we must remain cognisant of the increased operating costs combined with the loss of productive days which are most detrimental to Malta’s competitiveness and further economic growth,” the employer bodies said.
By definition, when there are 4 public holidays that fall on a week-end, the latter measure will cost employers around 2% of their total wage bill.
This figure will rise to around 3 per cent or more in certain sectors, if the lost days are compensated for by overtime at a rate of 1.5 or at double rate.
“Discussion on mitigating measures for this proposal still need to take place. Options for employers will have to go well beyond what has been suggested by government thus far.
“Real compensation to protect competitiveness must be given to companies ensuring the implementation of this measure is kept cost neutral,” the statement said.