Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure MT-2020-13/264 – Updated – measures in Malta
|Malta , applies nationwide
|Temporary, 24 March 2020 – 31 May 2022
Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
|Luke Anthony Fiorini (University of Malta) and Eurofound
|03 April 2020 (updated 19 June 2023)
This measure provides employees with a basic wage cover in response to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are forwarded to employers who are obliged to forward them to their employees. Full-time employees in specific sectors will receive €800 a month from the government through their employers. As part of the agreement, employers in these sectors will continue providing their workers with a further €400 a month. Employers who were highly impacted by the pandemic and cannot afford the further €400 must register with the Department of Industrial Relations.
Full-time employees working in organisations that operate in sectors severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, or, on order of the Superintendent of Public Health, had to suspend their operations are entitled up to five days salary based on a monthly wage of €800. This is also applicable to self-employed individuals. Part-time employees are eligible for €500 a month. The sectors that can apply for this supplement are under constant review and are listed on the Malta Enterprise website (Annex A).
In other sectors also hit hard by the pandemic but to a lesser degree, full time and part-time employees are entitled to the equivalent of one days' salary per week, set at €160 per month and €100 per month, respectively. Those in Gozo are entitled to two days' salary per week; €320 per month for full-time and €200 per month for part-time employees.
Full-time self-employed individuals in sectors hit hard by the pandemic, but to a lesser degree, with employees will receive €320 per month. Part-time self employed individuals will receive €200 per month. Full-time self-employed based in Gozo in these same sectors will also be entitled to €320 per month but will rise to €480 if they employ staff. These additional employees will be entitled to two days salary. Part-time self-employed individuals in Gozo will be entitled to €200, rising to €300 if they employ staff. The employees will receive two days salary.
In July 2020, the sectors in Annex A were reviewed and reduced. Those sectors previously supported by this scheme but not included in the updated Annex A, will receive a wage supplement of €600 for full time workers and up to €375 for part time workers, termed Annex C. It was also announced in July 2020 that pensioners and students who were registered as employed with JobsPlus since the 9 March, may now also be considered for the wage supplement. This group was previously ineligible.
By the end of May it was announced that €55 million had been disbursed, saving 93,580 jobs. A further €25 million was expected to be distributed by the beginning of June.
By mid-September 2020 the Malta Enterprise CEO announced that €200 million had been spent on this measure. Furthermore, around 85% of those who benefited from the measure were micro, small and medium enterprises.
A September 2020 study by the Malta Employers Association found that the COVID-19 wage supplement was rated as the most effective financial measure, with 62% rating it as effective.
By mid-September 2020 the measure had cost €200 million. This amounts to almost the entire €215 million budget approved by the EU Commission under the State Aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020. However, this figure needs to be treated with caution, as various ministers and stake holders mentioned different sums.
It was announced in parliament that by the end of January 2021, the Malta Enterprise had received 21,855 applications for this scheme. 14,987 fell under Annex A and 3,465 fell under Annex B. The remaining 3,403 were not eligible. Of the approved applications, these covered 92,443 workers, of which 54,101 were full time and 10,662 part-time in Annex A, and 25,020 were full-time and 2,660 part-time in Annex B. The total cost of the scheme was almost €350 million.
In May 2021 it was announced that the total budget for this measure had now been increased from the original €215 million to €750 million. It was also stated that €360 million had been spent on the measure in 2020 and that a further 70 million had been spent in the first two months of 2021. However this sum included the cost of other measures such as the rent and electricity subsidy scheme.
During a press conference held in February 2022, it was announced by Energy Minister Miriam Dalli that the total support received by businesses via this measure had reached €700 million.
During April 2022, it was announced that 120,000 employees received a form of wage supplement since the introduction of the measure. Of these, 71% were employees, 25% were self-employed, and 4% were classified as ‘others’. The total cost of the measure was €723 million. Of this, €531 million was provided to companies, €143 million was provided to the self-employed, and €31 million were given to ‘others’, including unregistered or registered partnerships, voluntary organisations, and cooperatives. It was also announced that the main sectors to benefit from the wage supplement were the accommodation and food service activities (30%), the wholesale, retail, and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (18%), administrative and support service activities (14%), transportation and storage (12%), manufacturing (9%), and the arts, entertainment, and recreation (5%) sectors.
In February 2023 it was announced that in total €800 million had been distributed to approximately 120,000 employees through this program.
|Applies to all workers
Sector specific set of companies
|Does not apply to citizens
Social partners jointly
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies
|Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Social partners initially expressed their COVID-19 related concerns publicly and directly with the government. This led the government to announce a series of packages, with the current measure forming part of the third package. The measures that formed part of this third package were the result of tripartite negotiations between Malta's largest trade unions, employer associations, the government and the Central Bank. It was unanimously approved by the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD). The measure is administered by the government via the Malta Enterprise.
Consultation was carried out in the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD), a tripartite body, with the government announcing that agreement was reached in this forum.
Employer associations were vocal in the press following the official announcement stating their agreement with the new measures.
Some employers in sectors which have not been included in the measures have also been vocal in the press that their workers should also be included. These include those in marketing and real estate.
In March 2021, the outgoing President of the Malta Chamber, an employer's association, noted that the wage supplement could make 'businesses lazy' and that the money spent on this measure would only be an investment if organisations also reengineered so as to face the new realities that COVID-19 had brought. He therefore pushed for reengineering plans to be carried out in tandem.
In December 2021, following the announcement that the wage supplement would be extended a further month until January 2022, the association that represents English language school, FELTCOM, stated that while the extension was welcome, a month long extension was not enough to ensure that their businesses would survive, instead calling for the scheme to be extended until spring. The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) also spoke out against the ending of this measure, stating that an extension was needed till at least the month of March 2022. This call was also supported by Malta's main opposition party, the Nationalist Party (PN). Not all were in agreement however, the CEO of the Chamber of SMEs, spoke out against such suggestions, stating that while businesses may be more comfortable with the wage supplement, the government needed to meet its deficit targets. The Chamber of SMEs were therefore instead supporting their members to tap into other support measures offered by the Malta Enterprise.
In view of the government's announcement that the Wage Supplement would be extended again for the final time until May 2020. The Association of Catering Establishments (ACE) welcomed the decision, noting that this would aid their members' recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19, while also helping alleviate the impact of the war in Ukraine upon the sector.
|Sector (NACE level 2)
|C - Manufacturing
|C10 Manufacture of food products
|C11 Manufacture of beverages
|C12 Manufacture of tobacco products
|C13 Manufacture of textiles
|C14 Manufacture of wearing apparel
|C15 Manufacture of leather and related products
|C16 Manufacture of wood and of products of wood and cork, except furniture; manufacture of articles of straw and plaiting materials
|C17 Manufacture of paper and paper products
|C18 Printing and reproduction of recorded media
|C19 Manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products
|C20 Manufacture of chemicals and chemical products
|C21 Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations
|C22 Manufacture of rubber and plastic products
|C23 Manufacture of other non-metallic mineral products
|C24 Manufacture of basic metals
|C25 Manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment
|C26 Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products
|C27 Manufacture of electrical equipment
|C28 Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c.
|C29 Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers
This case is not occupation-specific.
Eurofound (2020), COVID-19 wage supplement, measure MT-2020-13/264 (measures in Malta), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/MT-2020-13_264.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.