Fabian Demicoli

GRTU welcomes National Employment Policy


Last Friday the Ministry for Education and Employment launched the National Employment
Policy, a policy endorsed by social partners, amongst which the GRTU, following
a consultation that the Ministry itself through the Jobs+ Committee and MCESD
carried out.

The policy is a very serious
one with measures addressing specific gaps in the current system. It is aimed
at both improving the situation for the employers and employees as well as
addressing long standing issues of abuses in the welfare system and the black
economy. The policy is in fact divided into 10 concrete measures. These
include:            

     –
Schemes for part-subsidised employment such as the Employment Aid Programme and
part-subsidised training such as the Training Aid Framework. These would remain
open for
a longer period.

–    Those
refusing employment opportunities or insisting on 'non-existent' vacancies will
no longer receive unemployment benefits.

–    Investment
in an IT system at ETC

–    More
flexibility at the workplace

A detailed
presentation was made by Mr Clyde Caruana, Chairperson of the Job+ Committee,
who outlined a number of statistics that show clearly where the gaps we have in
our employment system emanate from. Mr Caruana said that the level of
productivity and the level of investment in machinery and training needs to
increase. Malta stands second highest with the amount of students stopping
education at the secondary level, 5th highest in employers  finding difficulty to find skilled
individuals and 3rd highest in employers 
finding difficulty to find un-skilled individuals. The gap between the
pay of the unskilled and the skilled has widened and is continuing to widen.
Currently we have a significant amount of foreigners working in Malta that are
filling jobs that the Maltese are not skilled enough to do or do not want to
do.

Another
initiative announced was that Government would start paying the full maternity
leave in exchange for an equivalent increase in the social security
contribution paid by employers for each of their workers. The aim is to have a
level playing field and to distribute the cost of this measure among a bigger
pool of employers. This measure was intended to make it easier for women to
avail themselves of maternity leave. GRTU found this proposal interesting
however we would like to see how this will be worked out in practice and ensure
that the increase in social security does not exceed the amount that would be
paid by an employer during maternity leave. Having said this it would diminish
one of a number of challenges small businesses face when one of their employees
goes out on maternity leave.

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