A leading employers’ association in Malta has called out the processes relating to a new right that seeks to give workers a better work-life balance.
The Malta Employers’ Association voiced its “strong disagreement” with the way the right to disconnect may come into play on the island, saying the government should wait for an EU directive before implementing it locally.
“Malta should never be used as a guinea pig so that other countries may learn and benefit from our mistakes,” they said, warning that “half-baked measures” can have negative implications on both employers and employees.
“There are still many aspects of this concept which are nebulous and it would be irresponsible to act before a common denominator for all EU countries is established. Employers’ and workers’ organisations are actively engaged in negotiations through their affiliations in EU social dialogue institutions, so there is no rational reason to rush things locally,” they said.
They warned that introducing local legislation before an EU-wide directive is issued would be “completely premature”.
“There have been no local studies that determine the nature or even the extent of the issue,” they continued. “It should be obvious that these matters cannot be approached impulsively, as the result can be detrimental to the smooth operation of both private and public sector organisations.”
The MEA also noted that a worker’s level of responsibility, nature of their work and what is considered the normal time for their occupation should be factored in to any decision meant to count for all workers across the board.
Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba has been instrumental in pushing for the right to disconnect, recently leading a resolution on the matter which was approved in the EU Commission.
The directive would give protections to workers who choose not to answer calls or emails from employers outside of work hours, alongside other new rights.