The Malta Employers’ Association appealed for a reduction in water and electricity tariffs among a raft of other measures which it is recommending to support the ailing economy as the restrictions imposed to ease the proliferation of the coronavirus pandemic take their toll. To compensate for these measures, the MEA also suggested a reduction in salaries for idle public sector employees.
In a statement this morning, the Malta Employers’ Association stated that experience of the past few weeks is evidence that, as happened in previous years when Malta faced an international crisis, employers have done their utmost to prevent massive unemployment by retaining people in their jobs, even though many of them may be idle. This is the main reason why predictions of high unemployment have not materialised thus far.
The Association said that employers are aware that the economic and social consequences of the Covid-19 crisis have the potential of being as devastating as the health aspect, and are postponing layoffs as much as possible.
To alleviate the current situation, the MEA is therefore proposing:
- a reduction in utility bills for both businesses and households
- training grants should be more flexible and enhanced. The 21 day notification for application acceptance needs to be shortened for companies to be more motivated to train their people. Specific grants for online training can be introduced. •
- wage supplements should be extended to cover more employees and sectors. In some cases, there is an anomaly whereby employees are applying pressure on their employer to be made redundant since the unemployment benefit exceeds the supplement they will get if they remain in employment.
- rents for factories facing difficulties should be temporarily waived.
- salaries of employees in the public sector who are idle should be reduced.
- a special bonus should be awarded to employees in the health sector for the excellent service they are delivering.
The Association said that thus far, the country has coped reasonably well with this crisis on many fronts, yet the situation calls for constant monitoring and adjustment to enable the economy to bounce back in the shortest time possible.