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Malta Day In Lieu Public Holidays Promised For 2021

Source: Malta Department of Information (Government of Malta)
Posted: Monday, December 21, 2020
Most recent follow-up news item: December 30, 2021

Malta's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, Carmelo Abela, has announced that, beginning in 2021, whenever a Maltese public holiday falls on a weekend or another public holiday, workers would be entitled to a compensatory day’s leave during the rest of the week ("This is a Government that believes in the importance of honesty and fair contribution by workers at their place of work but at the same time employees must have time for themselves and their families").

However, the minister did go on to state that "A motion will be presented to Parliament when it reconvenes in 2021", meaning that this is by no means a done deal, as there have been many such promises in the past.

Additionally, it should be noted that the minimum vacation leave entitlement stands at 24 days, but the number of annual vacation days was gradually increased to 27 over past years. Therefore, in 2021, with three public holidays falling on a weekend, this will mean 27 vacation days, as if the aforementioned bill had not come into force.

After the 2017 elections (2017-10-08), Malta's Finance Minister, Edward Scicluna, had announced that all workers Malta would get an extra day added to their vacation leave, beginning in 2018, following his party's electoral promise to restore as day in lieu public holidays the public holidays which are lost when they fall on weekends (2017-05-07).

Before 2005, a Monday public holiday was declared in Malta whenever a fixed-date public holiday fell on a weekend. But, following a Nationalist victory at the polls in 2003, the National Holidays and Other Public Holidays Act (Chapter 252 of the Laws of Malta) was amended so that "with effect from 1st January, 2005 when a National Holiday or a Public Holiday listed in the Schedule falls on a Saturday or on a Sunday, it shall not be deemed to be a public holiday for the purposes of entitling any person to an additional day of vacation leave" (2004-12-03 and 2005-01-15).

The amended legislation was contested repeatedly by the GWU (2005-09-20 and 2007-01-27), but to no avail (2007-10-21).

A couple of years later (2007-12-16), sensing a easy vote-getter, Malta's Labour Party promised that, if elected in the next general elections, they would restore the pre-2005 practice of declaring a Monday public holiday when a fixed-date public holiday fell on a weekend. But, despite its electoral victory (2013-03-10), the Labour Party did not implement the promised change in the subsequent list of public holidays in Malta (2015-01-07 and 2014-01-10).

This led to more calls to "reverse a temporary measure" (2015-10-15) from Malta's General Workers' Union (GWU) and counter calls not to "drag issues out of the past, that have been settled and concluded for more than ten years" from Malta's Chamber of Commerce (2016-08-29).

Links and References

Below are links to the news stories referred to in the above "Malta Day In Lieu Public Holidays Promised For 2021" news story, as well as links to subsequents news stories which refer to the present news story.