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Factsheet for measure MT-2020-11/273 Updated – measures in Malta

New parental benefit to care for children during school closures

Beneficcju ta Genitur

Country Malta , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 09 March 2020 – 30 June 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Support for parents and carers (financial or in kind)
Author Luke Anthony Fiorini (University of Malta) and Eurofound
Measure added 04 April 2020 (updated 15 November 2021)

Background information

Following the onset of COVID-19, one of the early measures taken by the Maltese government was to close down schools nationwide. This presented a problem to many working parents who were also advised not to leave their children with elderly relatives who may be at greater risk to COVID-19. As many such parents now needed to remain at home with their children, a benefit was introduced by the government. Parents working in the private sector with children under the age of 16 who cannot go to work to take care of their children following the 8 March 2020, and who are unable to work from home may apply for this benefit.

Content of measure

Applicants must be parents of children under 16 years of age; they work full-time or part-time in the private sector (excludes employees working with private companies who work/provide an essential service to a government entity). who cannot work from home and are not attending work after the 8th of March 2020 to look after their children.

Eligible individuals receive a direct payment of €166.15 per week if they work full-time or €103.85 if they work part time.

Additionally, their social security contribution is paid and future contributory pension rights safeguarded, children's allowance will be adjusted taking into consideration the individual's new income and therefore may increase to maximum rate (€24.08 per week per child). Individuals can continue to receive other benefits without deduction that they already may have been receiving including the 'In Work Benefit' and 'Tapering of Benefits'.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

30 June 2020

This measure has ended. It was withdrawn once summer schools opened.

Use of measure

€13.2 million have been paid out to 8,360 beneficiaries for benefits related to parents, those with medical conditions, disability and those who applied for the additional unemployment benefit. A total of €17.5 million will be handed out by the end of June. A further breakdown is unavailable.

A 2021 prebudget document highlighted that 4,500 parents benefitted from this scheme and that it cost €10.3 million.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Does not apply to businesses Parents
Single parents

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social insurance
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown

Involvement

This measure was announced by the Government as part of a second package of measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement of such measures was precipitated by social partner pressure who aired their concerns publicly in the media and directly with Government. On the announcement of these measures, social partners stated that whilst the measures were beneficial, they were not sufficient. It was also stated that consultation was limited and insufficient. This changed a few days later when a third package was agreed between the social partners; the current measure was retained as part of that package too. The measure is administered by the social security department.

Views and reactions

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact upon business, and following consultation with social partners, the government initially announced a package of measures which included the deferral of taxes and financial support to incentivise telework. Following this announcement, employer associations publicly announced that these were insufficient and would not protect their businesses or jobs, stating the government instead needed to subsidise wages. These calls continued when on the 18th March, the government announced further measures including support for those who had lost their job, the disabled, families (the current measure), and for employers to subsidise quarantine leave. The measures, whilst welcomed by the social partners, were viewed as insufficient by trade unions and employer associations alike. On the 24th of March, the government announced a third package of measures which included support for wages and other measures previously announced. This third package of measures was announced by the government whilst flanked by union and employer association members. It was announced that this package was the result of tripartite consultation. Furthermore, following announcement of these further measures, employer associations announced their satisfaction with the package.

Sources

  • 18 March 2020: COVID-19 - Parent Benefit
  • 01 October 2020: Ministry for Finance - Pre budget document 2021 (finance.gov.mt)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), New parental benefit to care for children during school closures, measure MT-2020-11/273 (measures in Malta), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/MT-2020-11_273.html

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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.