Length of Maternity Leave in Malta

An expectant employee may apply for a period of uninterrupted maternity leave for an eighteen week period which is broken down into (a) a compulsory six weeks to be taken immediately from the date of birth; (b) a four week period of maternity leave to be taken immediately before the upcoming due date for the birth, unless there is a prior agreement between the employer and the employee; (c) all remaining entitlement is to be used, wholly or in part, immediately before or after the above time periods at the employees’ request. If the employee is unable to use the entitlement before the date of birth, any remaining maternity leave may be used after the birth.

The rights for a woman during Maternity Leave; including right to pay and other benefits

For the duration an employee is on maternity leave, they will be deemed to have been in employment and as such, for the duration of their absence, shall be entitled to the same right and benefits that other employees may accrue for the same class or category of employment under the same employer; this includes the right to apply for promotions with the employer. The employee will also be entitled to return to the same job or, if for a valid reason this job is no longer available, an equivalent job consistent with the original employment contract. During the employees’ maternity leave they shall forfeit the right to any performance based allowance or bonus.
In regards to pay and wages, after fourteen weeks the employer is no longer obliged to continue paying wages for the weeks after the existing fourteen have elapsed. If the employee uses maternity leave for a period extending beyond those fourteen weeks then the additional four weeks will be paid by the Government; this is paid and provisioned for in the Social Security Act. It is illegal for an employer to do the following: dismiss pregnant employees, breastfeeding employees or an employee who has recently given birth, from the date from which the employee has presented a certificate from a registered medical practitioner or midwife to inform the employer of their pregnancy, to the end of their maternity leave, including periods of special maternity leave, due to their condition or because of their use, or intent to use, any legal right provided for by the terms of law.

What Rights are approved for during the return to work following maternity leave?

Unless there is a valid reason, an employee has the right to return to the same role, position and wage following a period of maternity leave but, if this is not possible, the employee is entitled to an equivalent role which conforms to the original contract of employment.
Within the EIRA, it is stated that if the mother returns to work or resigns from her position of employment without good cause of sufficient reason within a time period of 6 months from her return to work, that she is liable for the refunding of wages paid for the duration of her paid maternity leave.

Do fathers have right towards paternity leave?

Under Maltese law, there is no specific provisions for a fathers’ right to take paternity leave, however the Parental Leave Regulations (S.L 452.78) and the Minimum Special Leave Entitlement Regulations (S.L. 452.101), fathers are entitled to avail 1 day of paid leave for the birth and up to 4 months of unpaid leave to be taken, in one month blocks, by the time the child has reached their eighth birthday. There is no pay from the Government for these periods.

Other rights employers must observe regarding parental leave

The use of maternity and family leave is not limited to natural parents; it is also extended to adoptive and foster parents. The employer must accommodate the same regulations, in regards to maternity leave, to any employee exercising their right to parental leave such as the right to return to the same employment and pay they occupied prior.

Employee entitlement to flexible working to allow care for dependents
In the current private sector there is no regulation that obliges employers to provide flexible working hours, however this benefit can be agreed between the employee and their employer.