Six weeks later and student workers are still not eligible for the government’s COVID-19 wage supplement despite promises from the Education Minister to address the glaring issue.
As it stands, students in Malta who work part-time to make ends meet will not be able to get the €500 supplement, instead being forced to rely on their monthly stipend, which is around €80.
“Full-timers are currently getting priority and I’ve been forced to live on €80 a month. Everyone has bills to pay and some people aren’t lucky enough to have their parents support them,” one student told Lovin Malta.
Lovin Malta first reported on the issue on 17th April with a student who worked part-time in the food service industry growing more and more worried about failing to cover the cost of rent and other essentials.
“Well, I feel ignored and left to fend for myself unexpectedly with no help what so ever.”
“I feel like it is not fair because I work and pay my taxes just like everyone else and I have tried to think of every possible situation to get some financial aid but nothing is working. It’s like they don’t want to give me money for some reason.”
“I want the government to realize that there is a big gap between €70 and the €500 I used to work for because that covered my rent, water and electricity,” the student worker told Lovin Malta earlier today.
After student organisations began speaking out on the loophole, Education Minister Owen Bonnici assured them the government would look into students’ exclusion from receiving state aid.
However, nothing has happened since with ministries passing off the buck to one another to include part-time students who work in the scheme.
Rather than address the issue or at least confirm there are no plans to do so, the Education Ministry, Finance Ministry, and Economy Ministry remain pointing fingers at one another. Internal discussions are still underway.
There are many students who do not live with their parents and need to make ends meet while studying. It’s a struggle juggling work and academia, but they somehow make it work, excelling in their studies while also contributing to the economy.
It seems that for now, the government is reluctant to prepare them for a potentially uncertain future.
Do you think working students should receive the COVID-19 supplement? Comment below