The Malta Business Bureau (MBB), the EU research and advisory arm of the Malta Chamber and MHRA, has lobbied actively in Brussels in the past months on their parent organisations’ behalf, in order to reduce the impact on business operators over the implementation of the proposed work-life balance directive being discussed at EU level.
In a Press Release issued on Friday, the three organisations said that they strongly support the objectives of promoting equality, increasing female participation in the labour market and a healthy work-life balance. "This is also reflected in the various EU projects the MBB undertook in previous years. The MBB however maintains that work-life balance initiatives should not increase the cost burden on companies that would otherwise impact their competitiveness and ability to create more jobs" the statement said.
The MBB said that in view of the compromise agreement by the EU institutions today, while cautious on the objectives of the directive itself, it welcomed the compromise deal that will allow member states to determine the level of remuneration for employees for parental leave and carers leave in their own labour market, rather than this being set by the EU. The directive also determines that paternity leave will be paid at the level of sick leave of the respective member state.
MBB President Simon DeCesare stated, “In this case, subsidiarity prevailed, whereby decisions will be taken closer to citizens and reflect national economic realities.” “Following this outcome, it is the responsibility of Government to discuss with employer organisations locally how these measures should be implemented in Malta and ensure that there would not be any negative impact on businesses,” he affirmed.
The Malta Chamber President Frank V. Farrugia said, “Malta as a country already practices strong family friendly values. The provision of free childcare for working parents puts it at the forefront and a best practice in Europe.” “Companies have to compete internationally and thus we need to ensure that new measures do not increase costs that would make them less competitive. Therefore, we need to find solutions that work for all parties,” he reiterated.
MHRA President Tony Zahra also commented that “The outcomes of the work-life balance directive will present numerous challenges for companies, impacting productivity and human resources, especially in the hospitality sector. Businesses therefore expect that the spirit of social dialogue prevails and that the associated costs with this directive will not be borne by employers.”