Malta's business community rejects paternity leave

Maltese business lobbies don't want to foot the bill for the EU's proposed paid paternity leave. 

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Malta
Malta's business community rejects paternity leave - NewsMavens
Fatherhood, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Maltese fathers have only one day of paid paternity leave -- and, as an official website explains, only when the parents are married. Is this long enough to help one's recovering partner and baby home? Is it enough to help one's partner if she is suffering from various post-natal symptoms? And is it enough to become mentally adjusted to one's new role as a father and recover from a difficult birth? Maltese employers think it's almost too much.

An EU-wide legislative proposal, agreed upon earlier in January, would see fathers across the EU benefit from 10 paid days after the birth or adoption of a child.

In Malta, mothers can get 14 weeks maternity of leave paid by employers and an additional four weeks paid for by the government. After that male and female parents can request parental leave, but it is unpaid.

The CEO of the Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises, Abigail Mamo, commented on the forthcoming mandatory 10-day leave, "We reiterate that in the context of already scarce human resources, this is difficult news to deal with." It is difficult for employers to accept the fact that "human resources" may also want to be good fathers in the country with the highest gender employment gap in the EU (almost 28%).

Details from the story:

  • The European Parliament and Council of Ministers have agreed on a new Work Life Balance Directive. It mandates compulsory leave of 10 days for each father.
  • This provisional agreement still has to be adopted by both the European Parliament and the Council.
  • The development of the new directive was led and negotiated by Maltese MEP David Casa.
  • The Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises (GRTU) in Malta said that governments should work on encouraging women's labor market participation instead.
  • The Malta Employers’ Association, too, pointed out that employers should not bear any financial burden for an employee's life outside of the workplace.
  • The Malta Business Bureau, which does research and lobbying at the EU level for the Malta Chamber and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, is pushing to place any financial burden on the governments.
  • In the EU, the Mediterranean countries -- Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta -- have thelowest fertility rates.
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