Services for Employers
Even before Malta became an EU member in 2004, all EU laws concerning employment issues were slowly, but surely, transposed into Maltese law. In the last few years, we saw the introduction of new Maternity Leave Regulations, the Organisation of Working Time Regulations, new regulations regarding equal opportunities, discrimination and harassment, and many others. Malta has also seen the introduction of regulations which are not found in EU law, such as the new Overtime Regulations and the new Employment Status National Standard Order.
This has turned working with employees into a potential minefield, especially for those who wish to focus on their core business competency. The pace of the introduction of these new laws has also increased work pressures, especially for small and medium- sized companies which cannot afford specialised internal knowhow.
Twenty-one law can add value to your company by providing the following services:
- Employment Advice in simple, clear terms
- Employee Handbooks, Policies and Procedures
- Contracts: Employment and Commercial
- Advice on Dismissal and Disciplinary Matters
- Advice on Whistle Blowing
- Training: Induction and Specialised
- Representation at Industrial Tribunal
- Advice on Harassment and Discrimination issues
- Mediation in Disputes
Employment Advice in simple, clear terms
When a company finds itself in a difficult or ambiguous situation, it is very helpful if it can turn to someone who can provide advice in a simple and straightforward manner.
Twenty-one law makes this its mission: advice is offered in simple, understandable terms, leaving the legal jargon out of the equation. It is the philosophy of Twenty-one law to differentiate between a working environment and a court environment and to use the right language accordingly.
Employers must feel comfortable in difficult situations and they can only do that if they fully understand the requirements of the law and the consequences of their actions.
Employee Handbooks, Policies and Procedures
Forewarned is forearmed. This maxim has been repeated time over time and, in fairness, we cannot say that it does not hold water.
Companies can be armed not to find themselves in difficult situations. One, of course, cannot say that problems will never arise but employers will face fewer issues if their house is in order.
Twenty-one law can help companies organise their employee relations by communicating effectively to have a smooth operational base. They can teach their employees about their legal rights and obligations, and how to follow procedures. All these are usually found in the Company’s Employee Handbook.
Small and medium-sized companies are often at a loss when it comes to Employee Handbooks. Twenty-one law can sort all this out for you and prepare customised policies and procedures on sick leave, vacation leave, maternity leave, parental leave, equal opportunities, disciplinary and grievance procedures and any other as required.
Contracts, Employment and Commercial
Every employee is required to have a personalised contract. This means that employers are legally obliged to state the conditions of employment, including sick leave entitlement, the rate of pay, the number of working hours, the payment of overtime under specific circumstances, the right to special leave, amongst other details, in a contract of employment.
On the other hand, companies also have rights which can be specified in an employment contract, such as the right to confidentiality, data protection and the quality of work to be expected. Twenty-one law can draw up your employment contracts and personalise them according to each specific case.
Furthermore, most companies also deal with suppliers, subcontractors and consultants. Thus, they will require commercial contracts to ensure that the company’s rights are safeguarded. Twenty-one law also covers this area and is more than happy to help companies which require such expertise.
Training, Induction and Specialised
Twenty-one law believes that when supervisory and middle management personnel receive suitable training on employee relations, companies are better placed to concentrate on their core competence.
Employers are very enthusiastic in training their front-line employees because they fully acknowledge that no company can survive without an excellent product or service. However, there is often not enough time to train supervisors and middle managers on how to deal with employees, how to approach disciplinary issues, how to keep a look- out to ensure that everyone is treated equally.
Twenty-one law can formulate and implement a customised training programme on such matters to help companies fully grasp the importance of good employee relations.
Advice on Harassment and Discrimination Issues
One of the greatest inputs from European law has been the enactment of the Equality for Men and Women Act in 2003, in short known as the Equal Opportunities Act.
Companies sometimes find themselves in difficult situations because they are not aware of provisions regarding recruitment, vacancy advertising, promotion, allocation of overtime and training, harassment and bullying, victimisation and others found in the Equal Opportunities Act.
Twenty-one law is considered an expert in this area and is forthcoming with straightforward advice to employers on what is acceptable at law. Furthermore, Twenty- one law can carry out internal investigations of allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation. A report is then submitted to Management, with proof of evidence, if available, and recommendations for the way forward.
Mediation in Disputes
Companies can build a solid foundation by ensuring that all employees are aware of policies and procedures at their place of work. Well-trained supervisors and middle management also shore up the company’s position when dealing with employees.
However, human nature being what it is, a company may sometimes find itself in the middle of a dispute, whether internal or with a union. Of course, a solid foundation will be a great asset in such dealings, but the dispute must be resolved.
Advice on Dismissal and Disciplinary Matters
Internal disciplinary matters are often solved informally between middle management and employees. In fact, there is no better way than a good, honest chat to clarify the air. However, sometimes things get out of hand and formal disciplinary procedures need to be followed.
When disciplinary measures may result in termination of employment, employers are advised to ensure that a proper disciplinary procedure is followed.
There are also cases when the issue heats up and both parties, namely the employer and the employee, bring their own lawyers to the hearing. In such situations, Twenty- one law can argue the case for the employer.
In case of dismissals, employers must ensure that they follow a logical procedure before arriving at the final stage. Employees must be informed beforehand if their performance of behaviour is not acceptable before the final decision is taken. Twenty-one law can be there with employers all the way, advising and suggesting different avenues for the issue to be resolved in the best way possible for all parties involved.
Twenty-one law has experience in cases of unfair dismissal, discrimination, redundancy, whistle-blowing, restraint of trade clauses and compromise agreements, which is bound to add value to employers, in their time of need.
Representation at Industrial Tribunal
Every employee who believes that:
- either he/she has been unjustly terminated from work
- or that he/she has suffered an alleged employment rights breach
has up to four months to take his/her case to the Industrial Tribunal. Once a case has been registered with the Tribunal, the employer must appear in court to defend the company’s position.
Twenty-one law offers representation services at Industrial Tribunals, which do not only include the actual argument of the case but also an in-depth discussion prior to the beginning of the case. There are situations when one realises that conciliation and a negotiated out-of court settlement are better business options than to actually fight the case.