'Empowering you with Rights’ - know them! | Jobs for Mums Malta

Jobs for Mums - Katja Dingli Bennetti May 20, 2016

Many women are being emotionally abused, discriminated against and even fired from their work place. Why? Well amongst other realities, one of them is because they are pregnant! 

As some of you may have read in a recent Jobs for Mums Malta Facebook Page Posts. We have been contacted by yet another woman who claims to have been emotionally abused at her work place and another woman who explained that she was allegedly fired because she is pregnant and who contacted us asking for help to find a new employment, which they desperately needed.

This is not only unacceptable but it is illegal, and yes these employers should be reported. BUT! Is it that simple? Do you just go down to an office and tell tell about your Boss, then what?

Whilst I am no expert in the field and such proceedings I can imagine it to be more complicated than that, and I can truly understand if an expecting Mum decides to tuck the experience under a carpet, hoping to forget about it and chooses to enjoy her pregnancy and her unborn child in a more serene environment, then up and down our courthouse.

However, not speaking up and letting these employers get away with it will just make women in these situation look like a minority, and you know what that means! No one will pay any attention and ignore the reality and happenings of this nature. We shouldn’t, any singular person being discriminated in which ever way, shapr or form should speak up and be heard, and let our society know of how real these situations are in our workplaces. 

We want to kick-start you by knowing what your rights are. Knowledge is power and we want you to be power-full. (powerful)

Protection of Maternity (Employment) Regulations - Subsidiary Legislation 452.91 -  ( Click here to download PDF )

LEGAL NOTICE 439 of 2003, as amended by Legal Notices 3 of 2004, 427 and 431 of 2007, 130 and 503 of 2011, and 258 of 2012. 

Art. 2) The purpose of these regulations is to lay down minimum requirements designed to safeguard the employment rights of pregnant employees, employees who have recently given birth and breastfeeding employees, thus facilitating improvements in the safety and health of these employees and to give effect to the relevant provisions of Council Directive 92/85/EEC.

Art. (4) These regulations shall apply to all employees who are pregnant, have recently given birth or who are breastfeeding.

Also Cap. 465 Equality for Men and Women Act – Art.2 (3) (b) ( Click here to download PDF ) – states that “discrimination based on sex or because of family responsibilities … is treating a woman less favourably for reasons of actual or potential pregnancy or childbirth”.  

With reference to discrimination in employment, the said legislation in Art.4 (1) also states that “It shall be unlawful for employers to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against a person in the arrangements made to determine or in determining who should be offered employment or in the terms and conditions on which the employment is offered or in the determination of who should be dismissed from employment.

As a Pregnant employee you must inform your employer in writing of your pregnancy and, within 15 days subsequently formally inform your employer of your pregnancy and of the expected due date ( aka date of confinement ) by means of a certificate which must be issued by a registered medical practitioner or midwife.

Now, just to get this out of the way and say, NO it is not lawful to dismiss a pregnant employee and not only that, also employees who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding ( breastfeeding employee means someone who is breastfeeding during a period of up to 26 weeks after birth date ), even if you are on probationary period. 

Subsidiary Legislation 452.91 – Art.12 (1)  - ( Click here to download PDF )
Subject to subregulation (2), it shall not be lawful for the employer to dismiss a pregnant employee, an employee who has recently given birth or a breastfeeding employee, from the date in which such employee informs her employer, by means of a certificate issued by a registered medical practitioner or midwife, of her pregnancy to the end of her maternity leave, or during any period of special maternity leave, because of her condition or because she avails herself or seeks to avail herself of any rights in accordance with these regulations. 

Further more:

  • You are ensured that your wages shall not be less favourable than those stipulated in your contract of employment when an employer takes measure to protect the health and satay of an employee. 
  • Maternity Leave - an uninterrupted period of 18 weeks ( If you intend to avail yourself of your maternity leave entitlement, you must notify your employer in writing of the date when you intend to avail yourself of such entitlement at least four weeks before the maternity leave begins)
  • Entitled to time off without loss of pay or other benefits in order to attend antenatal examinations, should such take place during your work hours. 
  • You are not obliged to work overtime during pregnancy or for a period of 12 months from either the birth of your child or from the effective date of the adoption of a child. 
  • During the maternity leave or special maternity leave, you are entitled to all rights and benefits, including the right to apply for promotion opportunities. 
  •  If you are a pregnant employee still on probationary period which has not been exceeded on the date when you are to start your maternity leave, the probationary period shall be deemed to been automatically suspended on the commencement of your maternity leave for the whole period. Any probationary period remaining shall thereafter continue to run upon your return to work following the end f the maternity leave. Dismissal during probationary: The employer is bound to give the reason/s for the employer dismissal in writing at the time of dismissal to justify that the dismissal is unrelated to the employee condition. 
  • Download the PDF version of S.L. 452.91 Protection of Maternity (Employment) Regulations and The Protection of Maternity (Employment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2011 to read more

Employees who are discriminated on the basis of their sex or family responsibilities can contact NCPE to lodge a formal complaint and/or to ask for advice.  For more information on how one can lodge a complaint click here NCPE Complaint.

In addition, employees who feel discriminated against at the place of work can also contact the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations on Tel.: 21 224245/6 or on ind.emp.relations@gov.mt

Click here to download PDF the CAP 456 - Equality For Men and Women Act  / S.L. 452.91 Protection of Maternity (Employment) Regulations / The Protection of Maternity (Employment) (Amendment) Regulations, 2011

The information provided by Jobs for Mums Malta is not a substitute for legal and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. If any reader requires legal advice or other professional assistance, each such reader should always consult his or her own legal or other professional advisors and discuss the facts and circumstances that apply to the reader.

Jobs for Mums Malta - Katja Dingli Bennetti