Now that the festive lull and holiday period have firmly come and gone, employers are being reminded of their obligations for the upcoming calendar year in terms of communicating to staff any shutdown periods that will invariably impact their leave entitlement.
Buddy payroll and HR software co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer contends that “most employers have no clue” about their obligation to communicate shutdown periods, including extended/long weekends, “before the end of January”, and that many are in the dark about “other legislation” related to payroll & HR matters.
The shutdown regulation was introduced in legal amendment 440 of 2018 – Annual Leave (Amendment) National Standard Order, 2018 and was implemented on 1st January 2019. It stipulates that no more than 12 working days may be utilised from staff annual leave entitlement for the purposes of shutdowns.
What is not included is “forced leave”, Mr Mifsud pointed out, and explained that this “is when the employer needs to place someone on forced leave for reasons out of his/her own control.
“For example, there was a water leak, resulting in the office being unsafe for work, and the employees cannot work from home.
“If it is planned, it would largely be [classified as] a shutdown.”
He stressed that “the point is primarily so that the employees can plan their holidays and have a better idea of what their actual leave entitlement is.”
The CTO confirmed that Buddy’s software caters for this legal requirement, and has even faced situations where the company has been asked to ‘increase” the 12-day limit, which, he said, the company does not allow.
“We have refused to do so as this goes against the stipulated laws,” he said.
“Of course, we do not have the same control over individual leave entries, as there is no realistic way we can confirm that the employee have really ‘agreed’ to all vacation leave that is inputted in the platform. However, when employee accounts are connected this is something they can see.”
Finally, he shares that the company is running a free workshop on 24th January, where a high level payroll overview will be provided, followed by an open Q&A on payroll & HR. “The demand for this workshop has been great! We have had over 40 registrations in under a week,” he exclaimed, emphasising that it is free to attend and to ask questions.
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