European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case MT-2020-13/275 Updated – measures in Malta

Medical benefit for COVID-19 risk group who cannot carry out their work

Beneficcju Mediku

Country Malta , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 28 March 2020 – 05 June 2020
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Paid sick leave
Author Luke Anthony Fiorini (University of Malta) and Eurofound
Case created 04 April 2020 (updated 14 July 2020)

Background information

Individuals who are employed in the private sector and after 27 March 2020 due to COVID-19, were ordered not to leave home by the Superitendent of Public Health because they suffer from one or more of several medical conditions, and are not able to work from home and are not being paid by their employer during their absence are eligible for this benefit.

Eligible individuals will continue to have their social security contribution paid and future pension rights safeguarded, whilst also receiving other benefits.

Content of measure

Individuals eligible are those ordered to not to leave home by the Superintendent of Public Health because they suffer from one or more of several medical conditions including: diabetes and is dependent on insulin; on biological medicines; had cancer in the previous 6 months; is immuno-suppressed; undergoing renal dialysis; is pregnant; admitted to hospital for respiratory disease over the previous 6 months; had a heart condition in the previous 6 months; attending the heart failure clinic; are on oral steroids. Furthermore, the individual works full-time or part-time in the private sector, cannot work from home and is not being paid by their employer during their absence; have not yet reached retirement age.

Eligible individuals will receive €166.15 per week if they worked full time, or 103.85 if they worked part time.

Individuals will continue to have their social security contribution paid and future pension rights safeguarded, will continue to receive children's allowance if eligible (and may be upgraded to maximum level due to new income), if entitled to other benefits these will continue without deductions.

Updates

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

05 June 2020

This measure has now ended.

Use of measure

€13.2million 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 €17.5million will be handed out by the end of June. A further breakdown is unavailable.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
The COVID-19 risk group at the workplace
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Trade unions
Employers' organisations
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 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:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

Social partners initially aired their COVID-19 related concerns both 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 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 futher measures including support for those who had lost their job, the disabled, and for employers to subsidise quarantine leave. The measures whilst welcomed were still viewed as insufficient by both trade unions and employer associations. On the 24th of March, the government announced a third package of measures which included support for wages and other measures previously announced. The current measure emerged following this conference. 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 futher measures, employer associations announced their satisfaction with the package.

Sources

  • 27 March 2020: Covid-19 - Medical Benefit

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Medical benefit for COVID-19 risk group who cannot carry out their work, case MT-2020-13/275 (measures in Malta), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

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