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EXPLAINED: Here’s Why There Won’t Actually Be Any Additional Leave Days In 2021 In Malta

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Earlier this week, the Government announced the approval of a new amendment that they said would automatically turn public holidays falling on a Saturday or Sunday into an extra day of leave for workers.

However, since then, payroll agencies as well as legal firms have pointed towards the Government’s own websites to show that nothing is changing in 2021, really. As companies scrambled to understand whether they’d be giving employees more leave next year, one legal firm broke it down.

“During the 2021 Budget speech, as the finance minister heartily expounded that Maltese workers could very well expect another day of vacation leave, it can safely be said that a significant portion of viewers felt elated to say the least, knowing that 2021 will now bestow a minimum of 28 vacation days,” Maltese law firm 21 Law said on their website.

However, a look at the government’s DIER website shows that vacation leave for 2021 will remain the same as 2020 – 27 days. Any changes occur from 2022 onwards. 

“The minimum vacation leave entitlement stands at 24 days at law,” 21 Law continued. “A number of years ago, the Government had promised to compensate Maltese workers with an extra day of leave, over and above the minimum 24 days, in view of public holidays which fall on a weekend. The increase in vacation leave days which we have had over the past years was done gradually to avoid employers being overwhelmed with a significant rise in mandatory vacation days at once.”

“In 2021, three public holidays will fall on a weekend – same as in 2020. Therefore, only three extra vacation days will be given, leaving employees with the same 27-day entitlement they had this year.”

Speaking to Lovin Malta, one Maltese payroll company confirmed that indeed, 2020 and 2021 will have the exact same amount of leave days seeing as three public holidays fall on the weekend both in 2020 and 2021.

“Public holidays added over vocational leave is worked on a baseline of 24 days of leave,” they said. “This means that the leave for 2021 is the same amount as 2020, not more.”

The company went on to say that following the announcement earlier this week, they were “ambushed” with calls from confused companies asking for confirmation on what was happening.

Below you can find DIER’s breakdown of how leave will work until 2023:

With effect from 1st January 2020, an employee with a 40-hour working week is entitled to 216 hours of paid annual leave; that is, the 192hrs basic leave entitlement + 24 hours in lieu of the three Public Holidays that fall on weekends.

Similarly, Vacation Leave entitlement can be calculated for the following years:

  • In 2021, an employee with a 40-hour working week is entitled to 216 hours of paid annual leave; that is, 192 hours basic leave entitlement + 24 hours in lieu of the three Public Holidays that fall on weekends.
  • In 2022, an employee with a 40-hour working week is entitled to 224 hours of paid annual leave; that is, 192 hours basic leave entitlement + 32 hours in lieu of the four Public Holidays that fall on weekends.
  • In 2023, an employee with a 40-hour working week is entitled to 208 hours of paid annual leave; that is, 192 hours basic leave entitlement + 16 hours in lieu of the two Public Holidays that fall on weekends.

When Lovin Malta reached out to Minister Carmelo Abela’s office for a clarification about what this amendment really means, they said:

“With reference to your question, kindly note that the amendment moved by Minister Abela reverses what the PN Government did in 2005, when leave was stolen from workers.”

In 2005, a decision was taken to stop awarding additional vacational leave for those public holidays that fall on a weekend.

With 2020 coming to an end and 2021 around the corner, you can rest assured that nothing is changing until at least 2022 – 2021 will have the exact same amount of leave as 2020.

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