The Malta Independent 20 January 2022, Thursday

Technical report on basic living income commissioned - Carmelo Abela

Giulia Magri Monday, 31 August 2020, 14:03 Last update: about 2 years ago

A technical report on the basic living income has been commissioned by the Ministry within the Office of the Prime Minister.

This was announced by Carmelo Abela, Minister within the Office at the Prime Minister during a meeting of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) held at MCAST in Paola.

The MCESD analysed the working conditions of the population, and set up two committees dedicated to remote work and the gender pay gap.

“In the coming weeks we will begin focusing on the basic Living Income concept. Everyone is entitled to more decent income,” Abela explained. He mentioned how the discussion on the concept continued to advance after the historical agreement on the national minimum wage before the 2017 elections.

Economist and Professor Joe Falzon will be conducting the research, where he will look at other countries in relation to the basic living income. Falzon will also give preliminary estimates of how much the ideal basic living income model for Malta can cost and how it compares to the main social security systems that are currently offered. The outcome of the research will be presented to MCESD members for further discussion.

Abela said that separate meetings had recently been held with each social partner regarding recent developments affecting working conditions as well as the need for revisions of the law and other legal structures in connection with working conditions.

“A special MCESD committee on remote working is being set up to study and discuss the recent developments to remote working. We now know that there are a number of jobs which can be worked from home and now we must look at ensuring that those who continue remote working are given the right working conditions.”

Abela also commented on the issue of the gender pay gap. “Over the past few years various initiatives have been taken by the government to see more women enter the workforce. I believe that these initiatives have been successful, but we have not yet reached where we want to be,” he said. 

Key points raised during the consultation between Minister Abela and social partners:

The following points were raised during the meeting which discussed the future and flexibility of work: That there must be equal trust between employers and employees; there should be a link between deliverables and office time; that according to ILO, one in four jobs can be done from home; that one must keep in mind that not everyone wishes to work remotely and that not everyone is able to work under these conditions; that any such prospective jobs must be beneficial for both parties

The following points were raised in relation to non-standard forms of employment: The protection of the worker; consideration of minimum wage, social security and sick leave; freedom of Association and Collective bargaining rights, among other things.

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