Malta

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Last updated at November 22, 2022

Currency

Euro (EUR)

Capital

Valletta

Time Zone

GMT+1

Key Country Facts

Introduction

Officially the Republic of Malta, or ‘Repubblika Ta’Malta,’ Malta is a small island country in the central Mediterranean Sea. It is considered part of Southern Europe and is increasingly referred to as a city-state. Having been inhabited since approximately 5900 B.C., it has enjoyed strategic importance as a naval base. With a succession of powers having ruled the islands, most have left an imprint on the country’s culture. Malta has one of the highest population densities in the world but, despite this, the Maltese enjoy a high standard of living.

Area

Malta covers an area of an area of 316 sq. kilometers and its capital is Valletta, the smallest national capital in the European Union by area and population. The country consists of five islands: Malta (the largest), Gozo and Comino are inhabited while Cominotto and Filfla are uninhabited islands. It sits approximately 90 kilometers to the south of Sicily, 284 kilometers to the east of Tunisia and 333 kilometers to the north of Libya.

Climate

The Mediterranean climate provides hot and dry summers and cool rainy winters. The average annual temperature is approximately 23 °C during the day and 15.5 °C at night. January is typically the coldest month, with a temperature range from 12 to 18 °C during the day and 6 to 12 °C at night. August, the warmest month, has a temperature range of 28 to 34 °C during the day and 20 to 24 °C at night.

Culture

Maltese culture is an amalgamation of various traditions brought to the islands by its various rulers throughout the centuries, from the Phoenicians and Romans to the Arabs and the British. Modern Maltese culture can be defined as being Latin European with influences from the British colonial period, while Arab influences are apparent in the Maltese language and diet.

Religion

The Constitution of Malta provides for freedom of religion but establishes Roman Catholicism as the state religion. Approximately 98% of Maltese identify as Roman Catholics.

Official Language

The official languages are Maltese and English, and 66% of the current Maltese population is at least conversational in the Italian language. Maltese is a a language of mixed Phoenician, Arabic, and Latin origin using the Latin alphabet.

Malta HR at a Glance

Employment Law

Malta’s Employment & Industrial Relations Act (or EIRA, Act 22 of 2002) is a consolidated piece of legislation which replaces both the Conditions of Employment (Regulation) Act of 1952 (formerly CERA, now Title I of the new Act) and the Industrial Relations Act of 1976 (IRA, now Title II). The Act is divided in the following manner:

  • Title I – Employment Relations
  • Title II – Industrial Relations
  • Title III – Supplementary Provisions

Malta’s Occupational Health and Safety Authority Act (OHSA) also plays an important part in Maltese employment law, ensuring the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of all workers in the workplace.

Employment Contract

The parties to a contract of employment are free to determine if the contract will be for an indefinite or fixed-term. An employment contract can be concluded either verbally or in writing.

However, a verbal contract will not suffice where the period of employment exceeds one month and the employee’s working hours exceed eight hours per week, and the employer has to provide the employee with either:

(i) a written contract of employment, or

(ii) a written statement of minimum conditions, which must be furnished to the employee

Contract Terms

Where there are minimum conditions of employment established by law or regulation, only provisions that are more favorable to the employee are enforceable. If an employee signs a contract for less favourable conditions, it is not enforceable.

Basic terms such as the rates of pay, hours of work, place of work, overtime rates and leave entitlement must be included in the document. The contract must be issued to the employee within eight working days from the start of employment.

Pre-Employment Checks

Once personal data for the pre-employment vetting of the applicant is collected, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into play. A prospective employer must prove a lawful basis or have consent from the candidate for processing personal data.

The employer is permitted to hire a third party to conduct background checks, as long as the applicant is informed of this practice.

Probation Period / Trial Period

The probation period in Malta is six months but it can be extended up to one year for management and executive positions. However, the parties to the employment contract can agree to a shorter term.

During probation, either party can terminate the employment relationship at will without providing any reason. For an employee who has been in employment probation for more than one month, one week’s notice must be given.

Working Hours

The average, normal working week (excluding overtime) is a 40-hour week. Working time should not exceed a maximum of 48 hours a week, including overtime hours. Workers should have a minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours.

The maximum weekly working hours of 48 hours is calculated as an average working time for each seven-day period over an average of 17 weeks. There is an exception for the manufacturing, tourism, travel and catering sectors, where maximum weekly working hours is calculated over a period of 52 weeks.

It is acceptable in Malta to have the employer and employee agree to a consolidated wage, which covers all working hours including overtime. This practice is common with senior or management level employees.

Overtime

Overtime in excess of a 40-hour week is paid at a rate of one and a half times the normal wage, averaged over a four-week period. Overtime worked on Sundays is paid at a rate of two times the normal wage.

If an employee is pregnant, has just given birth or has adopted a child, the employee should not be asked to work overtime.

Bonus

All employees are entitled to a statutory bonus and a weekly allowance, each paid twice yearly as follows:

  • Paid June 15 -30: €135.10 (covering the period January to June)
  • Paid December 15-23: €135.10 (covering the period July to December)
  • Paid on the last working day of March: €121.12 (covering the period October to March)
  • Paid on the last working day of September: €121.12 (covering the period April to September)

These bonuses, which are taxable, must be paid along with the employee’s monthly or four-weekly wage.

Part-time employees are entitled to a pro-rated bonus according to the number of hours worked.

Employees may also receive as part of their remuneration a bonus that is guaranteed, discretionary or a combination of both.

Termination

If the parties to a fixed-term contract wishes to terminate the contract prior to the expiry date as stated on the employment contract, the terminating party must pay a penalty to the other party. This amount is equal to half the wages that the employee would have earned in the remaining period of employment.

Notice Period

Termination of indefinite-term contracts can happen due to redundancy by the employer or through resignation by the employee. The party initiating the termination must give notice to the other party. A dismissal is permitted if there is a good and sufficient cause.

The notice period is based on the duration of continuous employment with the employer:

  • 1 week: for employment between 1-6 months
  • 2 weeks: for employees between 6 months – 2 years
  • 4 weeks: for employment between 2-4 years
  • 8 weeks: for employment between 4-7 years
  • Up to a maximum of 12 weeks – for employment above 7 years (an additional week must be added for every year of service or part thereof)

If an employee under an indefinite-term contract fails to give notice, he or she will be liable to pay the employer a sum equal to half the wages that would have been payable according to the notice period.

Redundancy / Severance Pay

It is not mandatory to pay severance payments, other than the wages covering the relevant notice period. However, it is common practice for trade unions or individual employers to negotiate or offer severance payments in specific cases. A settlement agreement is sometimes signed, which outlines severance payments.

Post-Termination Restraints / Restrictive Covenants

Non-competition clauses applicable during the employment period are understood to be standard and generally enforceable.

Post-employment restrictive covenants, such as non-compete and non-solicitation clauses, are not regulated by Maltese law and employers are not obliged to provide compensation in return for including restrictive covenants in the employment relationship. However, compensation will help increase the chance of enforceability.

For restrictive covenants to be enforceable, they must be reasonable and limited in scope, particularly with regards to the duration and the geographical coverage.

Fixed-Term Contracts

A fixed-term contract can be renewed consecutively up to a maximum duration of four years. Thereafter, the contract will be deemed to be for an indefinite term, unless the employer has justifiable reasons for continuing with a fixed term contract.

If a fixed-term contract has expired but the employee is still providing services to the employer, the employment relationship will also be considered to be under an indefinite contract, unless a new contract of service is issued within 12 days of expiry of the previous contract.

The conditions of employment in a fixed-term contract must not be less favourable than that of an indefinite contract.

Data Protection

Data protection is principally regulated by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act, Chapter 586 of the Laws of Malta.

Employers must ensure they are processing data in accordance with GDPR, namely:

  • lawfulness, fairness and transparency
  • purpose limitation
  • data minimization
  • accuracy
  • storage limitation
  • integrity and confidentiality
  • accountability

Tax and Social Security

Employers and employees must make weekly social security contributions which are generally equivalent to 10% of the employee’s salary, up to a maximum of €49.97 per week (if born after 1962) and a maximum of €37.90 per week (if born up to 1961). However, the actual contribution will depend on the type of employment.

The employer must deduct the social security contribution in addition to the income tax deductions, at source, and make the payments monthly to the SSI and Commissioner of Tax.

Employees over the age of 65 years of age are exempt from the payment of Social Security Contributions. Weekly contributions change on a calendar year basis.

Individuals must submit tax returns annually by the end of June in the following calendar year. For married couples, one spouse must take responsibility for filing the joint tax return by registering as the taxpayer.

Personal Income Tax

The rates of tax for an individual are progressive rates with a range of 0% to 35%. A person who is resident in Malta for more than 183 days a year will be taxed in Malta on his or her income earned in Malta, as well as on any income earned overseas that is received in Malta.

A person who is domiciled in Malta must declare worldwide income, irrespective if received in Malta or not.

Married rates may apply to single and separated parents or widows and widowers under certain conditions.

Parent rates are applicable for individuals who have custody of a child or pay maintenance for their child and if:

  • the child is below 18 years of age (or between 18 and 23 years of age if attending full-time education at a university or other educational establishment)
  • the child is not gainfully employed and does not earn more than EUR 3,400 per annum

Single Rates

Chargeable Income (€) From Chargeable Income (€) To Rate (%) Deduct (€)
0  9,100  0.0  0.0 
9,101  14,500  15.0  1,365 
14,501  19,500  25.0  2,815 
19,501  60,000  25.0  2,725 
>60,001    35.0  8,725 

 

Married Rates

Chargeable Income (€) From Chargeable Income (€) To Rate (%) Deduct (€)
0  12,700  0.0  0.0 
12,701  21,200  15.0  1,905 
21,201  28,700  25.0  4,025 
28,701  60,000  25.0  3,905 
>60,001    35.0  9,905 

 

Parent Rates

Chargeable Income (€) From Chargeable Income (€) To Rate (%) Deduct (€)

0 

10,500 

0.0 

0.0 

10,501 

15,800 

15.0 

1,575 

15,801 

21,200 

25.0 

3,155 

21,201 

60,000 

25.0 

3,050 

>60,001 

 

35.0 

9,050 

Social Security

Social security contribution is referred to as ‘bolla’ in Maltese. ‘Bolla’ refers to the ‘stamp’ that used to be manually fixed to an individual’s book showing the number of contributions paid.

A social security contribution is also referred to as SSC or NI (abbreviated).

For employees the contribution paid is defined as Class I contribution.

Description of Class 1 Categories:

Category Description
A  Persons under 18 years of age earning not more than the amount indicated below. 
B  Persons aged 18 years and above, earning not more than the amount indicated below. 
C  All persons whose basic weekly wage is between the amounts indicated below. 
D  All persons whose basic weekly wage is equal to or exceeds the amount indicated below. 
E  Students under 18 years of age. 
F  Students 18 years old and over.  

 

Category Basic Weekly Wage From Basic Weekly Wage To Weekly Rate Payable by Employee Basic Wage Payable by Employer Total
A  0.1 c  € 182.83  € 6.62  € 6.62  € 13.24 
B  0.1 c  € 182.83  € 18.28  € 18.28  € 36.56 

 

Persons born up to 31st December 1961

Category  Basic Weekly Wage From  Basic Weekly Wage To  Weekly Rate Payable by Employee  Basic Wage Payable by Employer  Total
C  € 182.84  € 378.98  10%  10%  N/A 
D  € 378.99  N/A  € 37.90  € 37.90  € 75.80 

 

Persons born from 1st January 1962 onwards

Category  Basic Weekly Wage From  Basic Weekly Wage To  Weekly Rate Payable by Employee  Basic Wage Payable by Employer  Total
C  € 182.84  € 499.74  10%  10%  n/a 
D  € 499.74  N/A  € 49.97  € 49.97  € 99.94 
E  N/A  N/A  10% Max. € 4.38  10% Max. € 4.38  N/A 
F  N/A  N/A  10% Max. € 7.94  10% Max. € 7.94  N/A 

*The contribution can be 10% of the basic weekly wage if the employee chooses. This rate of contribution entitles the contributor to pro-rata contributory benefits.

Employees

Salary Payment

Wages should be paid at regular intervals not exceeding one month.

Payslip

Salary payments must come with payslips, according to the law, and must include the below information:

  • name of the employer and the employee
  • address of the employer
  • employee’s designation
  • breakdown of total wages paid
  • the period for which payment is made
  • number of normal hours worked (including overtime, work done on off day and holiday work)
  • number of hours of annual leave used and the remaining balance
  • bonuses, allowances or commissions received
  • deductions including national insurance contributions and tax

Timesheets & Record Keeping

The retention of different categories of documents is governed by varying legislation and regulations. Personal information follows PSD regulations but details of employment status including name, ID and contact details must be retained for 10 years.

Annual Leave

Employees working a 40-hour week and an eight-hour working day are entitled to statutory annual leave entitlement of 24 days per year. In addition to this, employees are granted extra days of leave depending on the number of public holidays that fall on the weekend during that respective year.

Part-time employees are entitled to paid annual leave, pro-rated according to their total hours of work. The entitlement is also calculated proportionally for employees who have not completed a full year of service.

Sick Leave

Sick leave entitlement in Malta depends on the applicable wage regulation order, which is industry dependent. This is typically around two working weeks per year. A medical certificate must be submitted to the employer.

For the first three days of sick leave, salary must be paid in full by the employer. The remaining days are paid by the employer at the full salary, after the sickness benefit entitlement under the Social Security Act has been deducted.

Compassionate & Bereavement Leave

Each employee is entitled to one working day of bereavement leave, without loss of wages, on the occasion of the death of the spouse, parent, son, daughter, brother or sister of the employee.

Maternity & Parental Leave

A pregnant employee may take maternity leave for an uninterrupted period of 18 weeks. The first 14 weeks are paid by the employer and the remaining four weeks are paid by the Social Security Department if the employee has contributed at least one year of Social Security National Insurance. Otherwise, the remaining four weeks are unpaid.

A pregnant employee is entitled to paid time off to attend antenatal examinations, if such examinations must take place during work hours.

A pregnant employee should notify the employer in writing of the intended start date of maternity leave. It is recommended to give at least four weeks’ notice to the employer.

If a female employee does not resume work or resigns without cause within six months from the date of resuming work, she will be liable to pay the employer the sum equivalent received during the maternity leave.

Paternity Leave

Fathers will receive ten days of fully paid leave upon the birth of their child.

Parental Leave

Both male and female workers have the individual right to be granted unpaid parental leave in cases of birth, adoption, fostering or assuming legal custody of a child. This leave enables them to take care of that child for a period of four months until the child has reached the age of 8 years.

 

Parents will be entitled to two months paid parental leave at the national parental leave rate while also benefitting from another two months of unpaid leave, which is transferable from one parent to another.

 

Parents have the right to request for flexible working arrangements for the first eight years of the child’s life through flexible working schedules, remote work arrangements or reduced working hours.

Adoption Leave

Natural or adoptive working parent of a child are entitled to three months of parental leave without pay, as long as the child is not older than 8 years of age.

Other Leave

Marriage Leave

Each employee is entitled to two working days’ marriage leave, which is leave to be granted without loss of wages on the occasion of the marriage of the employee.

Urgent Leave

An employer is bound to grant to every employee, both full and part-time, a minimum of 15 hours with pay per year as time off from work for urgent family reasons as specified in the respective regulations. The total number of hours availed of by the employee for urgent family reasons will be deducted from the annual leave entitlement of the employee.

Carer’s Leave

Each employee is entitled to five days of unpaid carers’ leave per year to take care of an ill family member or anyone living within the same household.

Public Holidays

Employees benefit from a total of 14 paid public and national holidays per year.

Benefits to the Employee in Malta

Statutory Benefits

The social security contribution paid provides the following benefits:

  • Guaranteed retirement pension
  • Invalidity pension
  • Early survivor pension
  • Survivor pension
  • Unemployment benefit
  • Sick leave benefit
  • Bonus

Visas and Foreign Workers

General Information

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members may take up employment in Malta by exercising their EU Treaty rights. There are currently no restrictions on EU/EEA/Swiss nationals’ access to working in Malta.

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who are employed and working in Malta are required to register for tax and social security purposes. The employer is responsible for registering the employee with the revenue office for payroll purposes.

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals (Third Country Nationals) require an employment license to work in Malta. To apply for an employment license, an application must be submitted to the Department of Citizenship and Expatriates (DCEA) through a Single Permit Application (SPA). When the SPA has been approved, a Maltese residence permit will be issued to the Third Country National. This residence permit will allow the individual to legally work and reside in Malta, subject to certain conditions.

The residence permit is typically valid for one year and the processing time for an SPA is approximately 12 weeks from the date of application submission. Once the SPA is approved, the employer should register the employee with the revenue office for payroll purposes.

The following documents, together with the application fee, must be submitted:

  • Detailed Curriculum Vitae: indicating education, work experience and previous employers
  • Copies of employment references, education and professional certificates (and any other qualifications)
  • Notarized copy of the applicant’s passport and a passport sized photograph

The SPA is tied to the specific occupation and employer. Should the Third Country National change employers or occupation, a new SPA must be submitted.

Other factors impacting the approval of employment license include:

  • Labor Market Test: Employers must show effort has been made to hire EU/EEA/Swiss nationals before offering a position to a Third Country National.
  • Malta Vacancy Exemption List: In some professions, it is not possible to hire a Third Country National and these include accountants, auditors, personal carers, IT consultants and vets.
  • Key Employee Initiative Scheme (KEI): This is a fast-track application process, whereby SPAs are processed in around ten working days from submission. On first submission, a one-year residence is issued. On renewal, subject to the DCEA, the SPA may be issued with a residence permit for a three-year period. The KEI is exempt from the labor market test and is intended for individuals who hold a managerial or highly technical position requiring specific experience. The individual must also earn at least EUR 30,000/year.

Public Holidays in 2022

S.No Occasion Date

1. 

New Year’s Day 

January 1 

2. 

Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck 

February 10 

3. 

Feast of St. Joseph 

March 19 

4. 

Good Friday 

April 15 

5. 

Workers’ Day 

May 1 

6. 

Feast of St. Peter and Paul 

May 1 

7. 

Feast of the Assumption 

June 29 

8. 

Feast of Immaculate Conception 

December 8 

9. 

Christmas Day 

December 25 

 

National Holidays

S.No Occasion Date

10. 

Freedom Day 

March 31 

11. 

Sette Gugno 

June 7 

12. 

Feast of Our Lady of Victories 

September 8 

13. 

Independence Day 

September 21 

14. 

Republic Day 

December 13 

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