Women workers have the right to maternity leave as guaranteed under the Regulations. Maternity leave is 126 consecutive days (18 weeks). Of these 126 days, 42 days (6 weeks) is the compulsory entitlement and is taken after birth. Four weeks leave may be taken before birth while the remaining leave (8 weeks) may be taken immediately before or after birth as an employee may request. If a worker is unable to avail the 4-week pre-natal leave before birth, this may be availed after confinement.
An employee must inform the employer of her intention to avail maternity leave at least four weeks before the maternity leave begins.
Sources: §6 & 8 of Protection of Maternity (Employment) Regulations (S.L.452.91) as amended by Legal Notice 415 of 2014
Workers on maternity leave are entitled to full wages during the first 14 weeks, paid by the employer. However, if an employee chooses to avail additional maternity leave beyond 14 weeks, employer is not obliged to pay wages for those extra four weeks. A maternity leave benefit for four weeks is paid by the Government in accordance with the provisions of Social Security Act.
In accordance with the Maternity Leave Trust Fund, launched by the government on 6 July 2015, employers will pay the equivalent of 0.3 per cent of the basic pay for every employee, irrespective of gender and age, to establish a fund from which maternity leave will be paid. Main objective of this Trust Fund is to end discrimination where employers engage more men than women to avoid the payment of wages during maternity leave.
Sources: §7 of Protection of Maternity (Employment) Regulations (S.L.452.91) as amended by Legal Notice 415 of 2014; §71-72 of Social Security Act (CAP. 318) as amended by ACT XIII of 2015 and Legal Notice 123 of 2015; https://dssservices.gov.mt/BenefitPaymentRates.aspx
Free Medical Care
A pregnant employee is entitled to time-off without loss of pay in order to attend ante-natal examinations. Female workers are entitled to pre-natal and post-natal care including free confinement and hospital care.
sources: §9 of Protection of Maternity (Employment) Regulations (S.L.452.91); §8 of the Protection Of Maternity At Work Places Regulations (S.L. 424.11)