In Labour’s electoral manifesto, there was a clear indication that the party wanted workers to join a trade union.

In recent press conferences held on International Workers’ Day, this issue was also highlighted by Malta’s largest unions.

Is this the right move? Or is it simply a way for the government to shirk key responsibilities?

In Malta’s current work climate, it is evident that several low-income jobs, which most of the Maltese workforce is uninterested in, are being largely filled by third-country nationals.

This has created an environment where these employees are often exploited. However, these are not the only ones.

On a daily basis, I come across employees who have their basic rights abused. I have even encountered employees who have been asked for a payment in order to receive their payslips!

This problem will not be solved by making union membership mandatory. It’s an

education problem that the government has ignored.

Our education system is failing our young people. How can our education system be preparing our students for the workforce if we are not even able to tell them their very basic employment rights?

Yes, you should get a payslip at least monthly. Yes, you should pay towards a pension and social security.

Yes, you should be registered with JobsPlus.

Yes, you have a right to 24 days of leave plus all public holidays. Yes, you are entitled to sick leave.

These are basic rights that most of our workforce only learn from their peers. Abuse and misinformation are allowed to fester due to lack of education.

I ask: why is a Malta Employee Rights onboarding session not required and managed by JobsPlus? Every new employee in Malta should be invited to a webinar or online session to explain their rights and obligations.

This lack of information and transparency is hurting Malta’s efforts in compliance and reduction of tax evasion. A quick look at comments posted on my TikTok account shows that employees often go without payslips or their payslips do not match the pay they receive.

It’s not simply the employee’s underpaid taxes that are an issue but also likely that their employer is significantly under-declaring their revenues. Otherwise, it’s extremely difficult to ‘hide’ these expenses while retaining profits.

Every new employee in Malta should be invited to a webinar or online session to explain their rights and obligations- Jonathan Mifsud

It would be fair to say that most people would like to pay the least amount of tax possible. However, does anyone ever explain the repercussions?

We come across many part-time employees whose 10 per cent social security contribution is deducted when working part-time.

Do they know that their pension at retirement could be compromised due to lack of contributions?

In most cases, employees have no idea.

This also happens when one accepts a decreased basic pay and an allowance to compensate. Everyone thinks they saved ‘10 per cent’ social security and few realise it could mean a 10 per cent haircut on their pension.

Does anyone ever lay this down to these employees? Who is stopping our government entities from empowering Malta’s workforce?

Should unions insist that education is not the answer but a union membership is, I would like to ask: are the unions taking this responsibility upon themselves?

As long as I’ve been working in payroll, I’ve hardly come across educational campaigns to the public by these unions. While I have never been represented by a union, I know people who have.

In all these interactions, I’ve always seen the needs of the few, mostly the managers, benefit more than their colleagues…

We should not be taking money out of the least privileged in our community simply to help them ensure their rights are not abused.

If the unions and the government are not willing to step up to the plate, it is up to businesses and influencers to create an impact.

Jonathan Mifsud, Co-founder & CTO of Buddy


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