Forced Labour

Prohibition on Forced and Compulsory Labour

In accordance with article 35 of the Constitution, no person may be required to perform forced labour. However, forced labour does not include any labour required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court; labour required of any person while he is lawfully detained by sentence or order of a court that is reasonably necessary in the interests of hygiene or for the maintenance of the place at which he is detained or if he is detained for the purpose of his care, treatment, education or welfare; any labour required of a member of a disciplined force in pursuance of his duties; any labour required during a period of public emergency or in the event of any other emergency or calamity that threatens the life or well-being of the community.

A person who, by using physical violence or threats or deceit or by otherwise depriving of a possibility of resistance or by taking advantage of a person’s dependence/vulnerability trafficks a person for the purpose of exploiting the person in servitude or forced labour, slavery or practices similar to slavery or productions of goods or provisions of services or activities associated with begging and any other unlawful activities is, on conviction, liable to punishment of imprisonment from four to twelve years.

Sources: §35 of the Constitution of Malta 1964, last amended in 2014; §248-A of the Criminal Code (CAP. 9)

Freedom to Change Jobs and Right to Quit

The contract termination notice for both worker and employer depends on the length of worker's continuous service with the employer and  is one week for one to six months of employment; two weeks for six months to twenty-four months (two years) of employment; four weeks for twenty-four (two years) to forty-eight months (four years) of employment; and eight weeks for forty-eight (4 years) to eight-four months (seven years) of employment. For more than seven years of service, an additional week of notice is added for every subsequent year of service or part thereof however the maximum length of notice period is 12 weeks. Longer notice periods may be agreed by the parties in the case of technical, administrative, executive and managerial posts. 

Sources: §36 of the Employment and Industrial Relations Act (CAP. 452) last amended by Act IV of 2015

Inhumane Working Conditions

As provided under the Overtime Regulations, the normal working hours are 40 hours a week and eight hours above 40 hours a week are considered overtime hours. The law requires that total working hours of a worker, including overtime, should not exceed 48 hours a week.

Sources: §4 of the Overtime Regulations (S.L.452.110)

Regulations on Forced Labour

  • Constitution of Malta 1964, last amended in 2014
  • Criminal Code (CAP. 9)
  • Employment and Industrial Relations Act (CAP. 452)
  • Overtime Regulations (S.L.452.110)