Employment law overview: Malta
By Dr. Andrew J. Zammit B.A., LL.M. (Lond.), LL.D. and
Dr. Doran Magri Demajo B.A., LL.D.
The right of all citizens to work and the state’s role in promoting the conditions to make this right effective
is enshrined in Malta’s 1974 Republican Constitution. Indeed the Constitution’s first clause states that
“Malta is a democratic republic founded on work and on respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms
of the individual”. The Constitution also upholds the basic principles of workers’ rights, including inter alia
the maximum number of daily working hours, a weekly rest day, holidays without pay, the establishment
of a minimum working age, gender equality, professional and vocational training for workers, contributory
social insurance and the provision of the means of subsistence for those unable to work. The
Constitution, however, leaves it to statutory acts to add flesh to these basic principles.
The Employment and Industrial Relations Act (EIRA) (Chap 452 of the Laws of Malta) represents Malta’s
primary source of employment law, including conditions of employment, protection against discrimination
and industrial relations. This statute was enacted in 2002 with a view towards consolidating the previous
primary sources of employment law namely the Conditions of Employment (Regulation) Act (Chap.135 of
the Laws of Malta) and the Industrial Relations Act (Chap. 266 of the Laws of Malta). This consolidation
exercise also served to bring Malta’s employment law in line with European employment law.
Sources of Labour Law
The hierarchy of legal sources of Maltese labour law can be generally broken down as follows:
• Primary Legislation - The most notable of these primary legislative sources include the
Constitution of Malta, the Employment and Industrial Relations Act (EIRA), the Employment
Commission Act, the Employment and Training Services Act, the European Union Act, the
Immigration Act and EU Regulations and Directives which apply in virtue of the doct