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The Malta Employers’ Association (MEA) voiced its strong disagreement with the implementation of the right to disconnect in Malta before the directive is transposed by the EU.

The right to disconnect is a measure allowing workers to refrain from engaging in work-related tasks, activities, electronic communication or other forms of communication outside of working hours.

On The Malta Independent’s current affairs programme Indepth, Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba said that Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, Carmela Abela – who is responsible for social dialogue, has indicated Government will not wait until the directive is officially transposed by the EU, a process which can take up to a year.

The MEA said that currently there are sensitive discussions taking place between the social partners at EU level and it would be completely premature to introduce local legislation before the directive is issued.

“There are still many aspects of this concept which are nebulous, and it would be irresponsible to act before a common denominator for all EU countries is established.”

The MEA said that employers’ and workers’ organisations are actively engaged in negotiations through their affiliations in EU social dialogue institutions, so there is no rational reason to rush things locally.

The Association added that thus far, there have been no local studies that determine the nature or even the extent of the issue.

“It should be obvious that these matters cannot be approached impulsively, as the result can be detrimental to the smooth operation of both private and public sector organisations.”

Such a directive cannot be applicable across the board for all employees, but depends on the level of responsibility, the nature of the work, and what is considered the normal time of work in that particular field, the MEA stressed.

“In addition, Malta should never be used as a guinea pig so that other countries may learn and benefit from our mistakes, and half-baked measures can have negative implications on both employers and employees.”

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