New helpline for employees and employers; 6,000 questions received by DIER
The Department for Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER) is the regulator ensuring that wages and work conditions are being safeguarded. Prior to implementing changes, the Department needs to grant permission to all those companies which find themselves in a position where they cannot retain the usual wages and normal conditions for their employees. The Minister responsible for the Department for Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER), Carmelo Abela, announced this during a virtual conference. The Minister spoke about how the government is taking all the necessary steps to ensure that there is no abuse at the workplace in relation to the Covid-19 situation.
During a video conference, Minister Abela announced a new helpline managed by the Department which will assist all those employees and employers with their queries about work conditions and mandatory quarantine leave in Covid-19 times.
The helpline numbers are as follows: 1575 for employees and 1576 for employers. Minister Abela explained that through this helpline one may seek advice about a number of different issues such as work conditions, quarantine leave, payment rates, reduced hours, unpaid leave, forced leave and collective redundancies. These helplines will be available from Monday to Friday, between 08:00 and 16:00. Anyone needing to clarify issues may also do so via email on email@example.com. The helplines will be operated by a team of 16 professionals with 8 people per line.
The Minister also provided an overview of the work which the Department has been doing in relation to this situation and stated that as from the 9th of March 2020, it has received a total average of 6,000 calls and emails with questions about work conditions in these times.
Since the 9th of March, the Department for Industrial and Employment Conditions has received an average of 3,500 calls by employers, employees, trade unions and legal representatives. In this past week the Department received an average of 300 calls a day. Since the 9th of March the Department has received an average of 2,500 emails. The Department also prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions focusing on work conditions in the light of the Covid-19 situation. These FAQs are available on dier.gov.mt (attached).
FAQ's Department of Industrial and Employment Relations COVID19.pdf