Factsheet for case MT-2021-12/1805 – measures in Malta
|Country||Malta , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 15 March 2021 – 11 April 2021|
|Type||Other initiatives or policies|
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||02 April 2021 (updated 11 May 2021)|
COVID-19 cases in Malta began to increase in July 2020. Despite a brief reprise in November 2020, these began increasing again in December 2020 to levels previously unseen in Malta, with active cases reaching 3,000 in March 2021 for the first time and healthcare unions warning that the healthcare system was on the verge of collapse.
Consequently, Government announced a range of new measures to reverse the number of COVID-19 cases. Amongst these measures, it was announced that schools would close from March 15 till April 11, 2021. Schooling at all levels could only take place by means of remote methods.
This presented working parents of young children who were unable to work remotely with an issue, with some parents having to stop work and take unpaid leave in order to care for children. The Government therefore announced a social measure to support such families, termed the 'Parent Benefit'. Such a benefit had also been previously offered between 9 March 2020 and June 2020 - when schools had last been closed.
The measure targeted parents employed in the private sector on a full-time or part-time basis who have children under the age of 16, are unable to work from home, and who due to their caring duties cannot go to work, resulting in unpaid leave.
Parents eligible for this benefit will receive a direct payment of €166.15 per week if they work full-time or €103.85 per week if they work part-time. Furthermore, successful applicants also have their Social Security Contribution paid for them, their future contributory pension rights safeguarded, continue to be entitled to the Children's Allowance and their rate will be adjusted to take into consideration their new income earned. If such parents were entitled to other government benefits such as the 'Work Benefit' or 'Tapering of Benefits' eligible parents will continue to receive this without any deductions.
The measure is administered by the Social Security Department.
On March 25 it was announced that 934 people had applied for the benefit, with 418 applications assessed so far. Of the analysed applications, 70 have been rejected, 270 will be receiving their first payment that week, 70 others were awaiting authorisation, a further 70 were asked to provide more information, whilst 446 were waiting to start the claims process.
It is estimated that the cost of applications received will amount to about €320,000, with €32,000 more in social security payments.
Parents in employment
||Does not apply to businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
No social partner involvement was announced or highlighted when this measure was introduced. The measure was announced by the Minister of Finance along with the Family Minister. In terms of implementation, parents apply with the social security department directly who analyse the application. A statement from the employer stating that the worker cannot work from home must also be submitted. Payment takes place directly between this department and the concerned parent.
No views or reactions by the social partners to this measure were identified.
Eurofound (2021), Parent Benefit 2021, case MT-2021-12/1805 (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.