Jane* started working at a hair salon earlier this year, but after only being allowed three-minute lunch breaks during her 11-hour shifts, she was fired from her job and faced deportation from Malta.
Jane told Lovin Malta that her boss insisted that she must start her job as an assistant hairdresser from before her work permit was processed, threatening to cancel the permit altogether if she doesn’t show up for work.
She said she would often work for 11 consecutive hours a day, with her boss only allowing a three minute break during which she must eat in the bathroom so as to not be seen by customers.
She also wasn’t allowed to drink any water to avoid going to the bathroom too frequently.
Her contract stipulated that she should have been earning €5.50 an hour, but she said she was only paid €80 every two weeks. At 40 hours a week, she should have been earning €440 every fortnight.
No payslips were given to Jane as proof of payment.
Jane’s contract was terminated on the basis that she was constantly making mistakes at work and “not understanding anything.”
Her boss went on to tell her that the expenses incurred will either be deducted from her wage or recovered through legal proceedings against her.
After the termination of her contract, Jane received a notice from Identity Malta notifying her that her residence permit has been revoked and that she has 10 days to leave the country. Once the 10 days are up, her stay would be considered as a violation of the Immigration Act.
Jane has brought the situation to the attention of DIER, the government department of employment and industrial relations, who told her to wait until her boss’s lawyer contacts her. When contacted for comments, her boss said that she was lying, and refused to give further comments.
*This is an alias – the worker’s real name is kept hidden for security purposes.