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Binding employees to the company through definite contracts is not an effective means of improving employee retention, Merkur eSolutions Human Resources (HR) Manager Calvin Cassar highlighted on Friday.

His comments came after he noticed an increasing amount of companies in Malta deciding to set up definite contracts of employment, rather than on an indefinite basis. In his opinion, these companies do so with the aim of “locking in” employees once past their probationary period.

“I have also seen some contracts in which the employees are asked to waive the probationary period, which cannot be waived as it is established by law,” Mr Cassar, who is also HR Director at EPG Financial Services Ltd, added.

Calvin Cassar - EPG
HR Manager Calvin Cassar / LinkedIn

He acknowledged that while this is an issue that is coming up for third country nationals, it is also the case for a number of EU and local residents.

“I understand the challenge in turnover brought about by a tough job market, however, you improve retention by treating employees well and not by locking them up,” Mr Cassar reaffirmed.

Definite contracts, those agreements which are on a fixed-term basis and hence have an expiry date, do have their uses, such as for project work, time-bound work, and other scenarios. Therefore, they should act as a “tool that HR persons use when needed”. It is also important to note that such contracts can be successively renewed up to a maximum period of four years, after which the employee shall be considered to be under an indefinite contract, unless justifiable reasons are identified.

“Doing this not to allow a person to go for another role unless they pay you money is not one of them,” he concluded.

Mr Cassar has extensive experience within the HR field, having previously served in various related positions at The General Soft Drinks Co Ltd, Malta Financial Services Authority, Mizzi Motors, FTIAS Ltd, and Konnekt. He holds a Master of Science in Occupational Psychology from University of Leicester, as well as a Bachelor of Psychology in Psychology and Linguistics from University of Malta. He is particularly skilled in recruitment, interviewing, and talent management, among other things.

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