Photo: Mr Joseph Farrugia, Director-General MEA
The Malta Employers’ Association called for a legislative framework and clear guidelines in order to ensure a healthy work environment, which is in everyone’s interest. It reiterated its position to issue a Digital Green Certificate and to expedite the vaccine to employees who cannot telework to achieve herd immunity within the shortest time-frame possible. Employers need assurances about handling employees who opt not to be vaccinated without justifiable reason. In such cases, whilst employees will be exercising their right not to vaccinate – since till now it is not mandatory – employers also have a duty to protect the workplace and the other employees from infection by having such employees undergo mandatory, regular testing. The frequency of testing should be determined by the health authorities. Any related costs, including work assessments to accommodate such persons are to be carried by the employee. Moreover, quarantine leave should not be paid by the employer in such cases. Employers should also be able to ask for certification of vaccination prior to employing someone.
This was stated during a webinar on Vaccination and the Workplace which was organised by the MEA on the 9th April, which was attended by hundreds of employers. The seminar was addressed by MEA officials and representatives from the Department for Industrial and Employment Relations, the Occupational Health and Safety Authority and the Department of Public Health.