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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-2020-23/935 Updated – measures in Malta

In-work benefit for working parents

Country Malta , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 06 June 2020 – 31 December 2020
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
Case created 06 July 2020 (updated 11 January 2021)

Background information

Offered by the Department of Social Security, the In-Work Benefit aims to assist couples and single parents who are employed and have children under the age of 23 years, who are still dependent and living with them. The In-Work Benefit provides such individuals who have a limited income with a financial benefit. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, this benefit will see both its threshold and rate increase.

Content of measure

The In-Work Benefit is usually paid quarterly in January, April, July and October. In view of COVID-19, a one-time payment of €250 is being paid for the year 2020 as an In-Work supplement to a beneficiary in receipt of In-Work Benefit.

Applicants must have children under the age of 23, living within the household. The usual eligibility for the In-work benefit are (during 1January 2020 till 5 June 2020):

  • A declared income (Year of Assessment 2019) of a single parent in gainful employment of more than €6,600 and less than €17,130 would be eligible for a maximum payable rate of up to €1,350 yearly per child.
  • A couple in gainful employment whose collective income from employment is greater than €10,000 and is less than €24,630 are eligible for a maximum payable rate of up to €1,300 yearly per child.
  • A couple of whom only one is in gainful employment and whose income from employment is greater than €6,600 and less than €17,130 are eligible for a maximum payable rate of up to €550 yearly per child

Updates

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

19 October 2020

It was announced during Budget 2021 that the thresholds of the In-work benefit will again be revised. For couples where both spouses work, the threshold will rise to €35,000. In the case of couples where only one parent works, the threshold will rise to €26,000. For single parents, the threshold will rise to €23,000. 4,500 new families will be eligible for this benefit under the updated thresholds.

This measure was welcomed by the General Workers Union.

06 June 2020

As from 6 June 2020 till 31 December 2020, the revised criteria and rate are now:

  • A declared income for a single parent in gainful employment earning more than €6,600 and less than €18,200 is eligible for a maximum payable rate of €1,400 yearly per child.
  • A couple in gainful employment whose collective income from employment is greater than €10,000 and is less than €26,000 are eligible for a maximum payable rate of up to €1,400 yearly per child.
  • A couple of whom only one is in gainful employment and whose income from employment is greater than €6,600 and less than €22,000 are eligible for a maximum payable rate of up to €630 yearly per child.

Use of measure

In June 2020 it was announced by government that some 3,900 families will receive a €250 top-up to their usual in-work benefit.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Parents in employment
Single parents in employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
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

By means of a tripartite agreement, a package of measures to save jobs and organisations was agreed on 24th march 2020. This was the third but most significant package of measures announced by the Government. Following this agreement, social partners remained in direct contact with the government highlighting their proposals of what was felt was still necessary to save the Maltese economy and jobs. In view of this, on the 8 June 2020, the government announced a 'mini budget' to help the Maltese economy to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Essentially, this was the fourth package of measures announced by the government. The current measure formed part of this package. The measure is administered by the Social Security Department.

Views and reactions

The fourth package of measures, of which the current measure formed part of, received public support from an array of social partners. Those positive and vocal about it were primarily business associations, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of SMEs, the Malta Employers' Association, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, and the Association of Catering Establishments. Whilst these associations commented on the proposals in general which included reduced electricity tariffs, aid with rent, and vouchers, only the MHRA appears to have made specific mention of the In-Work Benefit which it viewed positively. The feedback on the overall package from unions was more mixed; THe Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin (UHM) Voice of the Workers argued that only 6% of the €900 million mini-budget will end up benefitting workers directly. Conversely, the General Workers' Union supported the package.

Sources

  • 10 June 2020: In work benefit

Citation

Eurofound (2020), In-work benefit for working parents, case MT-2020-23/935 (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.