School hallway pexels

Malta’s Government has relaunched the COVID-19 support scheme for working parents of children under 16 years of age.

Last week, Government announced the closure of non-essential shops and services, banning of in-house dining at restaurants and snack bars, the closure of schools, cinemas, pools, theatres and museums until 11th April.

While a vast array of businesses have been ordered shut, several working parents unable to work remotely have found themselves in difficulty as children have been ordered to switch to remote learning.

For instance, parents who work at supermarkets and pharmacies fit such a description.

Working parents of children under 16 who are employed in the private sector but whose company/place of work is being contracted to provide essential services to the Government will not be eligible for the subsidy, however through the Education Ministry, childcare facilities are being made available as is the case with frontline workers.

Parents of children under 16 are eligible for the support measure should they work full time or part time in the private sector, the nature of their work means it is not possible to work from home, they must not have attended work between 15th March and 11th April to care for their children, they must be on unpaid leave and the employee must not be receiving the COVID-19 Wage Supplement.

The condition for workers to be on unpaid leave stems from two reasons, it was explained: Firstly, so that parents do not use up all of their paid leave during this difficult period, and, secondly, so that employers who may have to make alternative arrangements won’t incur double expenditure of paying leave and overtime/wages of an alternate employee.

For working couples who match the above description, one parent will be eligible for the supplement, allowing the other to proceed with work.

How much will parents receive?

Full time workers eligible will receive a net weekly figure of €166.15c, equivalent to a gross monthly subsidy of €800. National Insurance, at 10 per cent, will be taken out as usual.

Those working part time will be eligible for a net weekly figure of €103.85c, amounting to a gross monthly figure of €500.

In the case where parents must stop temporarily stop receiving their wage to start receiving the subsidy, children’s allowance will be adjusted to bridge the gap, where applicable.

Those who receive in work benefit will continue to receive it.

Payment is to be received through direct credit and parents may apply online at socialsecurity.gov.mt or family.gov.mt

The press conference was addressed by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana and Family Minister Michael Falzon.

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