Human Resources

A primary concern for any person considering establishing a business in any country must be the availability of a skilled and highly trained workforce that can help take the enterprise forward. The Maltese workforce ticks all these boxes and more. A primary contributor to what makes the Maltese worker so adaptable, motivated and above all, skilled is the local education system. Malta has a strong history and tradition in educating the local population and in fact Malta has the second oldest university in the Commonwealth, second only to the UK. Education in Malta is provided free of charge up to secondary level in public schools or on a fee basis at private schools or foundations. Tertiary education provided by the University of Malta is free of charge to all regardless if the student has graduated from a private or public school. This is one of the factors why around 60% of students progress to a tertiary level. The University of Malta provides courses in numerous vocations and professions and is also involved in joint ventures with a number of universities and institutions of world-wide repute. This has guaranteed a steady flow of professionals within the accountancy, legal and financial management and consultancy sectors which join established firms, most of which are affiliated to international organizations thus providing a world-wide network of resources that may be drawn upon when required. The University also works in close partnership with the local industrial sector in providing new courses and programmes to meet HR requirements of new, advanced and highly specialized technologies that are employed by industry. Lufthansa Teknik are a prime example of this collaborative approach having established a significant presence on the island to service and maintain various types of aircraft and who, together with the Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology have set up specialised courses and training programmes that focus in various disciplines related to aircraft and engine maintenance. The same can also be said for Malta’s reputation for its advanced levels of IT literacy following the government of Dubai’s decision to set up ‘Smart City’ in Malta. A number of leading IT companies have also set up bases in Malta and Microsoft, IBM and HP are represented and have, in some cases, used Malta as a test bed to pioneer new products or services. The Employment and Training Corporation (ETC) in Malta provides assistance to companies. It offers free training courses to meet the requirements of local industries besides running financed apprenticeship schemes. The Maltese Government has also launched a number of financial and social incentives in order to encourage married women to return to the work-place. There are also fiscal incentives for those wishing to pursue certain qualifications which are of particular relevance to certain industries. Labour legislation in Malta is modeled on EU directives. The first six months of employment are deemed to be a probationary period and this may be extended to 12 months for certain grades (technical, executive and managerial). The Maltese law provides for twenty four days annual vacation leave and also provides for maternity leave and paternal leave. Employers must pay an annual statutory bonus to full time employees whilst part timers are entitled to a pro-rata payment. There are two principal trade unions in Malta and a number of smaller, industry specific unions, however workers are not obliged to join. Social security contributions are payable according to the salary or wage scale whilst payroll tax is calculated using the Final Settlement System. Once again this is based on the gross wages earned and is also influenced by factors such as marital status and applicable tax bands. Foreigners require a work permit prior to commencing engagement in Malta. Applicants from EU member states are issued with the relevant permits whilst all other applications are normally issued in those instances where the experience, qualifications and skills are not readily available locally. Most Maltese are also fluent in English and Italian with French, Arabic and German also being widely spoken. Employment costs are amongst the most efficient when compared to the more developed EU member states and Malta ranks very favourably as a value-for-money location in which to do business.