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-2022-6/2198 – Updated – measures in Malta
|Country||Malta , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 03 February 2022 – 14 March 2022|
|Context||COVID-19, War in Ukraine|
|Type||Other initiatives or policies|
Responses to inflation
– Increasing income in general
|Author||Luke Anthony Fiorini (University of Malta) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||29 April 2022 (updated 24 February 2023)|
The Government announced that two cheques were to be distributed amongst the population of Malta. The original reason for these cheques, according to the Prime Minister, Robert Abela, was to stimulate economic growth in all sectors and alleviate rising inflation in view of the impact of COVID-19. As war broke out in Ukraine, these were repackaged by the Labour Party (PL, Partit Laburista), the party in Government, as a measure to cushion the economic blow of this war.
One cheque, initially termed the 'stimulus cheque' and later being referred to as the 'one time bonus cheque 2022', was to be sent to workers, students, pensioners and people on social benefits.
A second cheque, known as the 'Tax Refund Cheque' was sent to those in employment.
The distribution of these cheques were criticised by Malta's main opposition party, the Nationalist Party (PN, Partit Nazzjonalista) stating that these were an election gimmick and an attempt to buy votes: a general election was due on 26 March 2022. The Government however denied this and highlighted that tax rebate cheques had been distributed annually between 2018 and 2021.
In terms of the stimulus cheque (or one time bonus), workers and students received a €100 cheque, while pensioners and people on social benefits received a €200 cheque. While it was initially announced that all adults in Malta would receive the stimulus cheque (or one time bonus), this was not distributed to individuals who had an annual income in excess of €60,000.
In terms of the tax refund cheque, the amount distributed depended on one's annual income. Those who paid tax by means of the single tax computation could receive a refund ranging between €60 and €125. For those using a married tax rate, refunds could range between €65 and €140. Finally, those making use of the parent's tax computation could receive a tax refund of between €60 and €135. Those earning €60,000 were not eligible to receive this cheque.
In practice therefore, workers earning below the benchmark of €60,000, received two cheques.
Finance Minister Clyde Caruana announced that 243,000 people would benefit from the tax refund cheque, with the measure costing €25.5 million.
In terms of the stimulus cheque, this was distributed to around 361,000 individuals, with the measure costing €48 million. Of these, 24,000 individuals on social benefits and 94,000 pensioners received €200. Furthermore, 240,400 workers and students received a cheque for €100.
|Applies to all workers||Does not apply to businesses||
Other groups of citizens
People on social benefits
People on low incomes
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||No involvement||No involvement|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Social partners do not appear to have been involved in designing, implementing or monitoring this measure. No evidence was identified that the measure was requested by social partners or that social partners were contributing to the measure.
The measure was criticised by Malta's Women's Lobby, which stated that the stimulus cheques were discriminatory. The lobby noted that the terms and conditions of the measure excluded women who were not in employment but who carried out unpaid work in their family.
The measures were also criticised by the Nationalist Party (PN), Malta's main opposition party which referred to the measure as a vote buying exercise.
Eurofound (2022), Distribution of one-time bonus and tax refund cheques , measure MT-2022-6/2198 (measures in Malta), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/MT-2022-6_2198.html
30 January 2023
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.