In a virtual media conference, the Minister Responsible for Social Dialogue, Carmelo Abela, said the Government is continually vigilant to ensure there are no workplace abuses because of COVID-19. Minister Abela said that since 6th March the Department for Industrial Relations and Employment has received 6,000 queries and during the last week an average of 300 telephone calls daily related to employment conditions and the spread of Coronavirus.
Consequently, two helplines have been launched, 1575 for employees and 1576 for employers.
He said these helplines may be used in connection with directives that have been issued including conditions of work, quarantine leave, rates of payment, reduced hours, unpaid leave, forced leave and collective redundancies. These lines will be operational from 08:00 to 16:00 from Monday to Friday. One can also email [email protected]
Minister Abela said that wages and conditions cannot be changed arbitrarily. He mentioned the third financial help package launched for commercial entities with the Government providing €800 monthly as wages for those employees affected by the situation. He said that employers’ associations have promised to carry their part of the agreement and if they cannot comply with the agreement they are obliged to contact the Department and not take the Law into their own hands.
The Director of the Department, Diane Vella, said that on the Department’s website there is Q&A documentation on queries and replies mostly being sought during the current situation.