Employment Law in Malta is mainly governed by the Employment and Industrial Relations Act (Chapter 452 of the Laws of Malta) (the 'EIRA'), which ensures fair treatment of workers, and prohibits discrimination and harassment at the workplace, amongst others. Having said this, the Employer's focus should firstly be aimed at the legal requirements relating to employment contracts.

Employment law in general, particularly however employment contracts, are not only there to protect the employees as the weaker party but they are also vital to employers. The latter would need to base their employment contracts in line with the current Maltese employment laws, otherwise they risk being faced with fines or, even worse, a claim in front of the Industrial Tribunal.

There are various requirements that the employer needs to satisfy in order to have a fully compliant employment contract. For a better insight on the information the employer is obliged to make available to the employee about his/her employ, kindly refer to our write-up on 'Considering an Employment Contract: Is it Necessary?' In this regard, it is always advisable to seek legal counsel to ensure that your employment contracts are fully compliant with Maltese law.

It is important to keep in mind that under the EIRA, an employee who feels aggrieved by his employer has the right to lodge a complaint before the Industrial Tribunal. Should the complaint be deemed justified by the Industrial Tribunal, certain remedies would be awarded, for instance the cancellation of the employment contract in toto or certain clauses within such contract, payment of compensation by way of damages, or even the reinstatement of employment.

There could be various situations when either an employer or an employee may need legal assistance when facing a dispute, including discrimination and harassment claims, salary and working hour disputes, wrongful terminations, breach of confidentiality, termination during the probationary period, amongst others. Complaints before the Industrial Tribunal are held in person and both the employer and the employee are advised to engage legal counsel in order to assist with their claims. Having good representation before the Industrial Tribunal is vital, reason being that the decision of the Tribunal shall be binding on the parties. Should there be an appeal from an Industrial Tribunal's decision, the case would then be referred to the Civil Courts of Malta, whereby legal representation would be vital.

Having said this, there could be instances where the parties manage to agree amicably between themselves whereby a settlement agreement would be drafted and entered into. For such dispute resolution, it is also advisable for both the employer and the employee to engage legal counsel and this to ensure that their rights are being safeguarded and that the settlement agreement portrays the desires of both parties.

Whether it's an out-of-court-settlement or a claim before the Industrial Tribunal, through CSBL Advisory, we would gladly provide such assistance by advising clients, both employers and employees, on the best way forward, drafting the appropriate agreement/s where necessary, and also assist you with dispute resolution.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.