The president of the Malta Employers' Association has stressed the need for guidelines and safeguards about vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees at the workplace, reiterating the view that employees who do not have a valid 
reason not to be vaccinated and refuse to do so should not be entitled to quarantine leave.

"The use of a green passport is important for employers to be able to contain the risk of spreading the virus among the working population, Dolores Sammut Bonnici told the association's annual general meeting.

In her wide-ranging address she also expressed concern that Malta is in the international limelight for the wrong reasons.

"This, added with the COVID crisis, leaves many businesses operating under conditions of grave uncertainty," she said.

Business, she observed, will not be back to normal by May as predicted, and many operators in the tourism sector are bracing themselves for a worse summer season than anticipated. Furthermore, the Moneyval assessment hanged over Malta like the sword of Damocles. 

"The outcome is damaging even if we scrape through the evaluation, as we should have never been placed in a situation which cast serious doubts on our governance structures. A greylisting by Moneyval will deliver a devastating blow to our financial and gaming 
sectors. 

Glimpses of a silver lining

Sammut Bonnici said there were also glimpses of a silver lining including the way how the incentive packages managed by Malta Enterprise have been successful in keeping businesses afloat and people in employment.  

The vaccination process is proceeding reasonably well and herd immunity is expected by the end of summer. 

Many employers have also adapted their work organisation to allow for better flexibility for their employees to strike a better work-life balance in Covid circumstances. 

She said that although the number of foreign workers has declined from a 
figure of more than 70k in 2019, there is still a demand for foreign employees.

"In the case of Third Country Nationals, we call for a more efficient processing of applications by Identity Malta, and we should also possibly consider engaging asylum seekers in our labour force," she said.

The MEA president said employers are also concerned about the provisions contemplated in the Equality Bills and the Interpretation Act, whereby employers and individuals may stand accused and sentenced without due process in a court of law.

"I reiterate the position taken by the Association that allowing public officers and authorities to impose penalties that go beyond administrative fines is unacceptable and unconstitutional. Such a measure could also lead to massive corruption and instances of a gross miscarriage of justice. The inefficiencies of our courts of justice cannot be used as a justification for what is being contemplated," she insisted. 

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