Seeking an increase in Employment of Persons with Disabilities

MEDIA ROOM

In recent years Parliament was seeking the implementation of legislation which has been long in place. The 2% quota rule which was implemented by Act II of 1969 was more recently enforced through Act No. XXII of 2015.

Employers with more than 20 employees on their books are required to maintain a 2% quota of disabled employee quota. The ‘Persons with Disability Employment Act’, Chapter 210 of the Laws of Malta, speaks of ‘compulsory employment’. The ‘compulsory’ element has been given greater strength through a contribution being due in cases of non-compliant employers. The enforcement of this quota has recently been put in place through a contribution being due for every person with disability who is not being employed. The annual contribution has been capped at €10,000 per employer for every person that should have been employed.

Despite the legal provision related to the quota-rule (although implementations have not been enforced for several years) many companies have chosen not to employ any person with disability over the last years. To this end it is reported that a total of circa €1.5 million in fines have been issued to employers who failed to adhere to legislation. These fines have been issued to non-confirming employers towards the end of 2016 and a reminder should be sent out in the coming weeks.

In view of this, one must note that any contributions/fines paid by employers who fail to satisfy the established quota will be contributed to the Lino Spiteri Foundation. The Lino Spiteri Foundation was set up through a public-private partnership aiming at matching persons with disability with jobs that are adequate for their skills. It also aims at supporting disabled employees through job coaches.

It is worth highlighting that by virtue of “Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act”, Chapter 413 of the Laws of Malta, employers are prevented from discriminating persons with disability in regard to:

  1. procedures relative to applications for employment;
  2. the hiring, promotion or dismissal of employees;
  3. employees’ compensation;
  4. job training; and
  5. any other terms, conditions and privileges related to employment.

One may argue that the element of positive discrimination is intended to balance out the drawbacks and barriers which persons with disability face when seeking employment.