Recruiting and Hiring


Hiring the right employee requires defining job descriptions and duties, and learning where to search for qualified candidates, how to interview them, and more.

Small Business Owners may take longer to acknowledge the fact that it is time to add staff to ones’ operations. Considering the following factors may help you reach this conclusion on whether you need to increase the size of your staff:

  • Do you need a specific skill or expertise you or your employees do not have?
  • Are you encountering sale or service backlogs in your operations?
  • Is the organisation coping with the workload?
  • Is your customer service up to scratch or does it need improvements?
  • Can the service be outsourced?

The above and many other factors will help you decide on whether it is time to recruit but before you do that you will need to budget for this expense. Typically, Accountants will recommend to budget an additional 10-15% of the actual salary being offered to cover all other costs such as national Insurance, fringe benefits and other tax tax-deductions and benefits (if you are able to provide them), the cost to market and advertise the vacancy as well as equipment (eg. PC, fixed and mobile phone, internet access etc) and office furniture.

Once you determine the total cost of a new employee, you can determine if you have the adequate cash flow to cover that expense or not.

Before you pursue with the search make sure the following have been dealt with:

  • Define Job Description (eg. Define the job profile and duties clearly, the skills and qualifications required, experience and personal traits important for the job)
  • Will the employee be working on a full or part time basis?
  • Will the contract be on a definite or indefinite basis?
  • Set a competitive salary package (check what the market and your direct competitors are currently offering). You will want to attract the best possible person your money can get you, if you cut corners on salaries and benefits you can expect a constant employee turnover which in the long run will not benefit your operations.

Marketing the Vacancy

There are many marketing options one could consider when recruiting. You can either do it on your own, via private recruitment agencies, or through the National Employment agency (Jobsplus). There are several ways to market your vacancy, through word of mouth, through your business networks and business peers, advertising on newspapers, through your own website and social media.

How to conduct the interviews

Before you start your interviews, go through all the CVs received, usually most people look good on paper but is always best to interview them. If you receive a lot of CVs, it is best to go through a pre-screening process where you choose only a small number of potential candidates for one to one interviews. You could either do that on your own or with other staff members (if you already employ any) who will be directly involved with the new recruit. Other ways to carry out this first selection phase is through a phone interview. Once you select the ideal candidates from all the applicants you should schedule follow-up in person interviews.

During interviews, you should never ask questions which could be considered illegal or inappropriate (sexual orientation, marital status, religious beliefs etc). As much as possible try and confine your questions to topics related to the job being offered.

Its best to follow the tips listed below when conducting interviews:

  • Be Organised and consistent. Prepare yourself and have a list of 10-12 questions that you can use with each applicant. The questions should focus on the applicant’s skills, qualifications, competencies and abilities. You can also elicit information about past work experiences. Take notes during the interview as they will help you remember individual applicants when you’re making a decision. You can also make use of assessment tools to score each candidate’s performance. Some of the more basic tools can be found online for free.
  • Act professional. The interview should be carried out in a business-like environment and the interviewer should conduct him/herself accordingly. Be clear in what you are asking and expect from the new recruit, do not be vague in your questions. Be clear on the nature of the job, job duties, salary package offered, the workplace ethics and atmosphere and management style in the company. Add any other factors which you deem will help you make the correct decision. It is also important to find a venue which offers little distractions or interruptions during the meeting.
  • Remember an interview should be a two-way communication. Do not do all the talking, as the interviewer you should spend most of the time listening. Take note of how the person responds to you questions and listen attentively. Try and observe non-verbal behaviour and choice of words. Through the interview, you should try and get an initial feel of the applicant’s personality and work attitude in additions to his qualifications and skills set. Try and assess if his/her character will fit with that of existing of employees and whether the person is a team player, whether he can work independently and whether s/he can handle working under pressure. Make sure that before you conclude the interview you ask the applicant if s/he has any questions.
  • Consult the references given in their CVs. This is also a good way to gauge an applicant’s past working experience.

Employment Conditions


Once you have chosen the right candidate/s, as an employer you will be required to take care of some further issues. These include signing a contract with the new recruit.

Contract of Service

A contract of service means an agreement, whether verbal or in writing, where a person binds him/herself to render service to, or to do work for, an employer in return of wages. Thus, even a verbal agreement between an employee and an employer is valid and is enforceable by law. In those cases, where no written contract of employment has been signed between the employee and the employer, the latter is bound to give the employee a signed statement which should include the following details:

  • the date of commencement of employment;
  • the period of probation;
  • the normal rates of wages payable;
  • the overtime rates of wages payable;
  • the normal hours of work;
  • the periodicity of wage payments;
  • in the case of a fixed or definite contract of employment, the expected or agreed duration of the contract period;
  • the paid holidays, and the vacation, sick and other leave to which the employee is entitled;
  • the conditions under which fines may be imposed by the employer;
  • the title, grade, nature or category of work for which the employee is employed; 
  • the notice periods to be observed by the employer and the employee should it be the case;
  • the collective agreement, if any, governing the employee’s conditions of work; and any other relevant or applicable condition of employment.

 Where a written contract signed between the employer and the employee exists, the above information should also be included in the contract. In any case, if the period of employment exceeds one month and exceeds eight hours of work a week, a copy of the contract of service or the statement signed by the employer should be given to the employee by not later than eight working days from the commencement of employment and the employer is required to keep a copy.

Templates of contracts can be downloaded from the following link: http://dier.gov.mt/en/Employment-Conditions/Starting%20a%20New%20Job/Pages/Sample-Contracts-of-Employment.aspx

Probation Period

Defining Probation

The probation is an established period at commencement of employment during which the employee is assessed by the employer for his suitability for the job and the employee decides whether he/she wants to continue his/her employment in that particular job. During probation either party may terminate the employment without assigning any reason, provided that one week notice is given if the employment has exceeded one month. The whole probationary period is payable with the rate of wage agreed.

Length of Probation Period

In the case of a contract of service, or a collective agreement, in respect of employees holding technical, executive, administrative or managerial posts and whose wages are at least double the minimum wage established in that year, such probation period is of one year unless otherwise specified (for a shorter period) in the contract of service or in the collective agreement. The probationary period cannot be extended beyond the maximum period allowed by law. Where the employer and the employee agree for a shorter period, such period is binding by law and can only be extended up to the maximum limit contemplated by law if both parties agree to do so.

Engagement and Termination


Employers are required by law to notify Jobsplus (The Government Employment Agency) of any new employees by completing an engagement form. Self-employed persons are also required by law to complete this form. Employers are also required to notify the Corporation of any termination of employment of any employees by completing a termination form. Jobsplus will acknowledge all engagement and termination forms received within fifteen days of receipt. Forms are to be sent by post or by hand at Jobsplus, Sir Arturo Mercieca Street, Victoria Gozo VCT 2024 or by email at [email protected] Alternatively, employers can submit the engagement and termination forms through the online facility. For further information, employers may contact Jobsplus on 22201957. 

The engagement and termination forms are available on the following links: 

https://jobsplus.gov.mt/employers-mt-MT-en-GB/fileprovider.aspx?fileId=1359 

https://jobsplus.gov.mt/employers-mt-MT-en-GB/fileprovider.aspx?fileId=1360

Employment of Foreign Nationals (EU and non-EU)

If you are employing a foreign national, certain conditions apply depending on the country of provenance of the recruited individual. For any further information, consult the following links:

https://jobsplus.gov.mt/employers-mt-MT-en-GB/employing-persons

Tax Registration


Once you start employing personnel, you will be required to:

  • Register as an employer with the Inland Revenue Department(IRD);
  • Submit an FS4 form for each employee on commencement of their employment;
  • Deduct from your employee’s emoluments any tax and Social Security Contributions (SSC) due;
  • Remit these deductions to the Commissioner by the end of the month following that on which payment of emoluments was made. The payment is to be made by means of the FS5 form;
  • Submit an annual Statement of Earnings (FS3) of all your employees together with the Annual Reconciliation Statement (FS7) by the 15th February of the following year;
  • Inform the Department upon ceasing to be an employer (De-registration Form)

The applicable forms can be downloaded from the following link: https://ird.gov.mt/downloads/dlindex.aspx#fss

For any further information, you can contact the IRD call centre on 153 between Monday to Friday. Alternatively you can visit their website on https://ird.gov.mt/default.aspx or their offices which are situated at the following address:

Malta:   Block 4, Vincenzo Dimech Street, Floriana

Gozo:    Enrico Mizzi Street, Victoria

Sectoral Minimum Conditions of Employment


A Wage Regulation Order (WRO) is subsidiary legislation kept in force under the Employment and Industrial Relations Act (EIRA) that regulates certain conditions of employment of employees working in a specific sector of the industry. At present, there are 31 different WROs in force. The conditions specified in these Orders include - maximum hours of work, minimum wages, overtime rates, sick leave, special leave, etc. 

The different WROs can be viewed from the following link:

https://dier.gov.mt/en/Legislation/Pages/Wage-Regualtion-Orders.aspx

Leave

Vacation Leave

By law, an employee working 40 hours per week is entitled to 192 hours of paid annual leave (that is at least the equivalent in hours of four (4) weeks and four (4) working days calculated on the basis of a 40-hour working week, and an 8-hour working day). If the average normal hours (excluding overtime) calculated over a period of 17 weeks is below or exceeds 40 hours per week, the vacation leave entitlement in hours should be adjusted accordingly. (For more information see Legal Notice 247 of 2003 - Organisation of Working Time Regulations). 

Sick Leave

The amount of sick leave varies substantially according to the relevant Wage Regulation Order that regulates the specific sector of industry.

Detailed information can be found in the DIER’s Resource Pack. Where the type of activity of work is not regulated by any WRO., the sick leave entitlement of an employee amounts to two working weeks per year (calculated in hours) as stipulated by Legal Notice 432 of 2007 - Minimum Special Leave Entitlement Regulations.

Other types of Leave

In Malta employees are allowed special in certain situations which include maternity, marriage, parental, injury, bereavement amongst others. For more information click on the link to the DIER website https://dier.gov.mt/en/Employment-Conditions/Leave/Pages/default.aspx

Hours of Work

Normal Hours of Work

The normal hours of work for full-time employment and the maximum hours for part-time work vary according to the relevant sector of industry. These are established in Wage Regulation Orders that regulate such sectors according to their activity of work (see also Legal Notice 247 of 2003 - Organisation of Working Time Regulations). Usually, the normal hours of work (excluding overtime) are based on 40 hours a week. However, in certain cases as may be established by law, normal hours of work can be more, but not exceeding a maximum of an average of 48 hours a week spread over a reference period of 17 weeks. In certain sectors, as the manufacture and tourism sectors, the reference period is of one year.

Atypical Employment

Atypical work means work which does not conform to the standard full-time, 40 hour a week, indefinite period contract employment relationship. These generally take the form of part-time, shift work etc. There are specific conditions for each category, these can be viewed on the following link:

Atypical work means work which does not conform to the standard full-time, 40 hour a week, indefinite period contract employment relationship. These generally take the form of part-time, shift work etc. There are specific conditions for each category, these can be viewed on the following link: https://dier.gov.mt/en/Employment-Conditions/Hours%20of%20Work/Pages/default.aspx

National and Public Holidays


There are fourteen paid holidays in a year. These are:

Public Holidays

1st January - New Year's Day

10th February - Feast of St. Paul's Shipwreck

19th March - Feast of St. Joseph

Good Friday (the date varies)

1st May - Workers' Day

29th June - Feast of St. Peter and Paul

15th August- Feast of the Assumption

8th December - Feast of Immaculate Conception

25th December - Christmas day

National Holidays

31st March - Freedom Day

7th June - Sette Giugno

8th September - Feast of Our Lady of Victories

21st September - Independence Day

13th December - Republic Day 

It is important to note that when a Public or National Holiday falls on a week-end it is not added to the Vacation Leave entitlement – subject to WRO differences (https://dier.gov.mt/en/Legislation/Pages/Wage-Regualtion-Orders.aspx)

Employer's Assistance Schemes and Training Opportunities 


The Jobsplus agency offers a number of assistance schemes to employers ranging from financial aid to employ people from disadvantaged backgrounds, people with disability and mature workers amongst others. These schemes and training opportunities can be found on the following links:

https://jobsplus.gov.mt/schemes-jobseekers

https://jobsplus.gov.mt/training-opportunities

 

Sources: Jobsplus, Department of Industrial and Employment Relations, Inland Revenue Department and HR practitioners