The Nationalist Party has filed a Private Members’ Bill in parliament to make it obligatory for companies to have an anti-sexual harassment policy in the workplace.

The Bill was filed on Wednesday and announced on Thursday. It was signed by PN MPs Ivan Castillo, Graziella Attard Previ, and Darren Carabott.

The proposed legal changes would, for the first time, oblige businesses to have a policy on sexual harassment at work, promoting zero tolerance towards sexual harassment and sexual assaults at the workplace.

The legal changes would apply to medium-sized and large companies.

However, the party said it was also calling on firms employing fewer than 49 workers to explore the possibility of introducing such a policy to combat workplace sexual harassment.

The three MPs said in a joint statement that the Nationalist Party was taking seriously the concerns of a number of workers and employers regarding current reports of sexual harassment in the workplace.

According to reports and polls by expert NGOs in the sector, one out of every  three cases of sexual abuse in the workplace was not reported to the police for various reasons, including because the victims ddid not know how to file their report, or simply out of fear.

At the same time, reports also indicate that three out of four female workers were victims of sexual abuse in the workplace. All this, together with other factors, was leading to fear among the workers, the MPs said.

The bill, if enacted, would oblige workplaces that are considered as medium enterprises or largee, to introduce a policy. This legal amendment would directly affect around 44,000 workers in Malta and Gozo. 

The MPs said they expected the government to support this proposal.

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