- Response to COVID-19
- Fostering mobility
This instrument covers all employees holding a valid work permit, including third–country nationals in companies facing redundancies or closure. Eligibility for this instrument depends on the employer’s willingness to contact Jobsplus (the national employment agency) and inform Jobsplus to activate this instrument in light of anticipated redundancies or closure.
This instrument is a pre-emptive measure that proactively prevents employees finding themselves unemployed by matching them with the most suitable job vacancies available in the shortest time possible. Apart from easing the transition of employees made redundant and who are seeking alternative employment, this service is also tailor-made to provide solutions to the employer to avoid redundancies. Employers are assisted primarily through the upskilling of workers.
In the first phase of the process, notification of planned redundancies is sent by the employer to Jobsplus. Through this service, employees are provided with a fast track registration process which makes registration and job search easier and quicker. Each worker is profiled and registered into a suitable part of the register. Then registered employees are offered training opportunities to help them update their knowledge and skills. This rapid reaction intervention includes a session delivering information on registration for alternative employment, creating an online account to facilitate job matching, tips on a preparing a Curriculum Vitae, general Jobsplus services, and general jobseeker advisory services. This session is generally held in collaboration with the Department of Social Security which is the entity responsible for issuing benefits including unemployment benefits.
The following is also offered:
- One on one guidance meetings with those affected
- Career tests
- CV building sessions
- Mock interviews
- National funds
- European funds
- European Funds (ESF)
The Department of Social Security
Public employment services
Seven separate companies used the services between 2018 and April 2020. Within this period, 233 employees who were going to be made redundant were offered one or more of the services and 133 of these were assisted.
This instrument, previously known as Rapid Reaction Service, remained relevant, although during the last years it was hardly availed of, given that Malta’s economic boom has decreased the number of redundancies. Having said that, Jobsplus insists that it will continue to retain this instrument to reduce and avoid unemployment. Jobsplus added that this instrument also received positive feedback and it was appreciated by clients. Apart from facilitating registration and job search, the programme also encourages employees who are experiencing a difficult time due to an imminent redundancy. Jobsplus latest update on this instrument claims that during March and April 2020, no redundancy interventions were carried out.
While Jobplus ascertained that this service is expected to continue to be offered, taking into account the current COVID-19 situation, it is difficult to carry out such interventions in the same format that they were previously being offered. Notwithstanding, Jobsplus is ensuring that some form of online support could be organised to cover all aspects of this intervention.
Jobsplus also stated that as of early summer 2020 it is still early to assess the impact of COVID-19 on this intervention given that the government provided immediate and continuous financial aid, that has to-date avoided mass redundancies. One has yet to see what would happen if the COVID-19 crisis continues to persist beyond the point where the government has to reconsider the aid it could continue to provide.
One of the main benefits of this instrument is that it is tailored to the needs of the employers and employees. Therefore, although the format might change depending on the intervention, the general scope of the service remains similar.
According to Jobsplus, it is difficult to provide valid data on the effectiveness of this instrument as one cannot compare the outcome of one intervention to another since many factors affect both the service provision and the eventual outcome.
Jobsplus also noticed that whereas in the past employers were more readily available to collaborate with Jobsplus on such redundancies, recently they came across more and more employers who would either choose not to contact them for such interventions or worse still refused to facilitate Jobsplus intervention with staff.
Another weakness is that there is practically no online presence of this instrument and it simply might not be availed of because employers might not even be aware of its existence.
COVID-19 might make it harder for Jobsplus to become aware of planned redundancies and also to get through to employers. Furthermore, not all employers are equipped with resources that facilitate online interventions from Jobsplus.