EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Malta: Young people and temporary employment in Europe

  • Observatory: EMCC
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 08 December 2013



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The growth of temporary employment in Malta seems to have accelerated since 2009. However, when compared to other EU Member States, this remains on the low side. The upward shift in temporary employment reflects both an increasingly flexible labour market and the effects of the financial crisis. Social services benefits do not differ on the basis of the type of employment contracts, although temporary workers may be disadvantaged when it comes to certain entitlements. While trade unions are concerned about employee exploitation and precarious working conditions, social partners claim that temporary contracts are necessary to complement a more flexible labour market.

Introduction

Youth unemployment has been a persistent problem in many parts of Europe for many years. Over the past 3-4 years, however, since the onset of the financial crisis and the economic recession which followed, it has become an even greater and more widespread problem and one which, given the on-going depressed state of the European economies, is likely to remain for some time to come. The latest monthly figures (for September 2012) show the unemployment rate of those aged 15-24 averaging 22.8% in the EU – just over 1 percentage point higher than at the time a year earlier. In Spain, the figure was over 54% and in Greece, 57%, in both cases, much higher than a year earlier. In the worst affected countries, therefore, as in most Member States, there is very little sign of any easing of the youth unemployment problem. There are, however, a few exceptions. In Germany, in particular, youth unemployment has declined since the global recession hit in 2009 and now stands at only 8%, well below the level it was before the recession. In Norway too, the rate is only 8%, though this is slightly above the level in 2007 before the crisis. Germany, apart, there are two other countries in the EU with youth unemployment below 10% according to the latest monthly figures - the Netherlands (9.4%) and Austria (9.9%). As in Norway, in both cases, the rate is above the pre-crisis level.

Moreover, young people who do manage to find jobs often have to settle for a temporary one, defined as one with a fixed-term contract of employment. According to the European Labour Force Survey (LFS), in 2011, just under 43% of employees under 25 were in temporary jobs in the EU and well over half in Germany (56%), France (55%), Portugal, (57%), Sweden (57%), Spain (63%), Poland (66%) and Slovenia (75%). (In Norway, the figure was much lower than in most EU countries, at around 24%.) While around 40% of the young people concerned on average were in temporary jobs because they had a fixed-term training contract and another 9% were on probationary contracts, a substantial proportion (37% on average) were in temporary jobs because they were unable to find permanent ones. In the Czech Republic, Cyprus and Portugal, this figure was over 75% and in Spain and Slovakia, well over 80%.

Among young people making the transition from education or initial vocational training into employment, the proportion who take up temporary rather than permanent jobs is much higher than for the age group as a whole. In 2011, 57% of those aged 15-24 in employment who were in education the previous year were in temporary jobs in the EU and 86-87% in Spain, Portugal and Poland. For those moving from unemployment into employment, the proportion who take up temporary jobs is even higher on average in the EU (61%) as well as in Spain (90%).

The fact that a relatively large proportion of young people in employment are in temporary jobs may be a reason why they have been hit disproportionately hard by the crisis. In the economic downturn in 2009, many of the people who lost their jobs first were on fixed-term contracts since not renewing these contracts represented the easiest way for employers to reduce their work forces. In 2009, therefore, there was some decline across Europe in the proportion of young people in work employed in temporary jobs (see the Tables attached to the questionnaire). Since then, there has been some tendency for the proportion to increase again, in part perhaps because employers are reluctant to take on people on permanent - or standard – contracts given the uncertainty about future economic prospects.

Given the above, it is understandable that there is growing public interest, and some concern, over the nature of the jobs that young people are taking up. This concern is mirrored at EU-level where a ‘flexicurity’ approach to labour market policy has increasingly been advocated, which, in practice, means that while flexibility is an important objective, it needs to be accompanied by protection of workers’ interests if it is not to lead to a growth of precarious employment in low quality jobs. Accordingly, there is a need to obtain a better understanding of the terms and conditions applying to temporary jobs, the extent to which they are a stepping stone to permanent jobs and a working career in line with a person’s qualifications and capabilities, the access to social protection which comes with them and the measures in place to encourage employers to convert them into more stable jobs. These issues form the focus of the present study.

Definition of temporary jobs

The interest in the study is in all young people employed in temporary jobs of whatever kind, in the sense of all jobs that they are not subject to a standard contract of employment which is normally one of indeterminate length, or at least one for which no specific length is specified. Such temporary jobs can be for a period of training (i.e. traineeships or apprenticeships) or probation, intended to enable employers to check the suitability or aptitude of people for the jobs concerned. They might also be to replace someone on maternity leave or on a training programme or they might relate to a specific project of fixed duration.

All such jobs and others which are of fixed duration should be covered, whether they are part-time or full-time and irrespective of whether they are specifically for young people (such as perhaps in the case of traineeships or apprenticeships) or for people of all ages which young people happen to be doing. In some cases, it should be noted, it is relevant to include, in addition, to temporary employees, the ‘bogus’ self-employed – i.e. those people who have self-employment status but who are contracted to work for a single employer and who are effectively similar to employees who have a fixed-term contract of employment. (The cases in question relate to instances where employers use self-employment contracts as a means of employing young people without bearing the costs, and obligations, of a standard contract of employment.)

Outline of study

The study is divided in three sections. The first is concerned with the main types of job in which young people who are employed under temporary contracts work and the reasons why employers choose to use temporary contracts of employment instead of standard ones when they take on young people, as well as with the link, if any, with labour market conditions (i.e. with the extent to which the crisis has led to an increase in temporary employment). The starting point is the data summarised above, derived from the LFS, which indicate the relative number of young people employed on temporary contracts in the different European countries and the way that this has changed over the recent past (these data, as noted, are set out in the tables attached to the questionnaire). Correspondents are asked to check these data against any national data on temporary employment and to indicate where these show a different picture from the LFS data, perhaps because a different definition is adopted of temporary jobs.

Any description or commentary on national statistics should, however, remain brief, since the main task of the first section, is to review and summarise relevant sources of information on the different kinds of temporary contract under which young people are employed in each of the countries, the circumstances and areas (the types of job and the sectors of activity) in which they tend to be used and the main reasons why employers adopt them.

The second section is concerned with the access to social benefits which temporary jobs provide, distinguishing between the various kinds of benefit, and with the extent to which entitlement to benefit differs for young people employed in temporary jobs from that for those employed under standard contracts of employment. It should be emphasised that the concern is not only with the formal regulations which apply, which in many if not most countries do not make a formal distinction between temporary jobs and others, but also with de facto entitlement which stems from the nature of temporary employment. In particular, young people in temporary jobs may have difficulty in complying with the need to have a continuous period in employment, or a continuous record of paying social contributions, in order to be eligible for unemployment benefit.

The third section is concerned with the measures in place to regulate the use of temporary contracts of employment (such as specifying the number of times they can be renewed), with the attitudes of government and the social partners towards their use and with the incentives which exist to encourage the wider use of standard contracts of employment and the conversion of temporary jobs into permanent ones. A particular point of interest is the extent to which regulations and attitudes as regards temporary jobs have changed over the crisis period as the number of jobs available for young people to take up has diminished and as expanding these has become a policy priority.

A final point to note is that while it is customary to define youth employment (and unemployment) in terms of those aged 15-24, it is also the case that many of those aged 25-29 are also employed in temporary jobs, as indicated in the attached tables. Correspondents are therefore asked to extend the coverage of the study to this age group where relevant. It is recognised that in some countries the statistics available may not relate precisely to the age groups specified here, in which case correspondents should report on the age groups nearest to these.

Questionnaire

1. Importance of temporary employment for young people

1.1. Do the figures shown in the attached tables (on the number of temporary employed as a % of total employees based on Eurostat LFS data) give a reliable indication of the scale of temporary employment among the young in your country and the way that it has changed over recent years? Are there young people employed in temporary jobs who do not show up in the Eurostat figures? Are there national statistics which show a different picture from the Eurostat data? If so, please indicate what they show and give the source of the data.

Eurostat figures show that while in the five year period between 2004 and 2009 there was 2.1 percentage points increase among those aged 15-24 years who were temporary employed, in the two year period between 2009 – 2011 the same figure shot up to 6.4 percentage points. The sharp increase may be due to various factors such as the uncertainty brought about by the financial crises, the requirements of an increasingly flexible labour market and to the increasing number of students that continue with their studies. Meanwhile in the period 2009 – 2011, full-time employment among those aged 15-24 years went down by 9.4%. Data indicated below as supplied by the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC) that is derived from employment registration forms, shows that in 2011 36% of those aged 15-24 years were employed on temporary contracts mostly for a fixed-term period.

Temporary employees as a share of total employees aged 15-24

Type of Employment

December 2011

Fixed-term Contract

30.5%

Temporary

2.8%

Apprentices and Trainees

2.3%

Source ETC, 2013 (ad hoc request)

Thus while Eurostat figures shows that 17.7% of those in the age bracket of 15-24 years were on temporary contracts, the ETC data based on the figures shown in the table above suggests a much higher figure. However, it is important to note that the methodology is completely different between the two sources, since while ETC data is collected from employment registration forms the Eurostat is based on the LFS survey. More details about the ETC data are supplied below.

A factor which may be taken into consideration is the number of young persons involved in undeclared seasonal work particularly in the Summer months, when educational institutions are in their summer recess. The custom of undeclared work is likely to increase in Summer months months and it mostly involves women and persons under the minimum working age (Camilleri Cassar,F. 2010). National data about the informal economy is unavailable.

1.2. Is there any evidence that other forms of employment are used as a substitute for temporary contracts, such as bogus self-employment where young people are contracted to provide services to a single work provider in a continuous manner so acting de facto as employees? If so, please give the source of the evidence and indicate the scale of the phenomenon in terms of the number of people concerned.

The development of the phenomenon of Bogus Self-Employment in Malta has been recognised in recent years and Government authorities decided to amend legislation to curb such abuse. Legal Notice 44 of 2012, (Employment Status National Standard Order) among others enlists eight criteria that are synonymous with the status of a bogus self- employee which are when the person :-

  1. depends on one single person for whom the service is provided for at least 75% of his income over a period of one year;
  2. depends on the person for whom the service is provided to determine what work is to be done and where and how the assigned work is to be carried out;
  3. performs the work using equipment, tools or materials provided by the person for whom the service is provided;
  4. is subject to a working time schedule or minimum work periods established by the person for whom the service is provided;
  5. cannot sub-contract his work to other individuals to substitute himself when carrying out work;
  6. is integrated in the structure of the production process, the work organisation or the company’s or other organization’s hierarchy;
  7. the person’s activity is a core element in the organization and pursuit of the objectives of the person for whom the service is provided; and
  8. carries out similar tasks to existing employees, or, in the case when work is outsourced, he performs tasks similar to those formerly undertaken by employees

If a person meets five of these criteria she/he will be regarded as an employee. In a six month period following its entry into force in January 2012 the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER) looked into the status of 453 individuals. Out of these 453 individuals 221 were found to be bona fide self-employed while 49 were bona fide employees. 183 self-employed persons were found to satisfy five of the eight criteria enlisted in L.N. 44 of 2012, 88 of which were exempted while the remaining 95 were to be regarded as employees (Vella,N. 2012). The data was only provided as whole figures and thus it does not indicate the number of young persons involved if any.

1.3. Please list (and give summary details, i.e. purpose and duration of the contract) the most common contract types or contractual arrangements under which young people are employed on a temporary basis (such as for traineeships, apprenticeships, probationary periods, replacement of workers on leave or projects of a fixed duration). What is the relative importance of each type of contract or arrangement in terms of the number of young people employed under them?

Data referring to the type of contracts involving young people supplied by ETC show that the prevalent type of employment contract for those aged 15-24 years is that agreed for an indefinite period which in 2011 amounted to 64% of the share of total employees falling in that age bracket. On the other hand the commonest type of temporary employment contract is that agreed for a fixed-term period which in 2011 it amounted to 30.5% while Apprentices and Trainees contracts made up 2.3% of the share of total employees aged 15-24 years. The data available does not indicate the purpose (other than apprenticeship and training) and the duration of the contracts.

1.4. Please indicate the main reasons for the emergence and development of the different types of temporary contract which you have listed in response to question 1.3. To what extent are they linked to particular conditions in the labour market or employment protection legislation/regulation in your country? What is the main attraction of such contracts to employers? What effect has the crisis had on the use of such contracts?

As indicated above data relating to the purpose and duration of temporary contracts is unavailable. However the available data indicates that between 2008 and 2011 there was a 4.2 percenatge points% increase in fixed-term employment contracts against the share of total employees aged 15-24 years. On the other hand the share of indefinite contracts pertaining to the same age category of employees decreased by 3.4 percentage points% while Apprentices and Trainees contracts remained stable (Source ETC). It can be assumed that the shift registered towards the increase in definite contracts maybe due to various reasons such as the substitution of employees on family friendly measures in particular in the public sector and the uncertainty brought about by the financial crisis. The requirement for a more flexible labour market is increasingly being recognised in the Maltese economy so much so that in 2012 government provided for the regulation of Temping Agencies through Legal Notice 461 of 2010 - Temporary Agency Workers Regulations.

1.5. To what extent are temporary contracts a ‘stepping stone’ to ‘permanent’ jobs (or those with standard contracts of employment of undefined duration)? Are apprentices and trainees typically taken on by the companies or other organisations concerned on standard permanent contracts once they complete their training? Has the situation changed over the crisis period? Please summarise any relevant studies which have been carried out in your country or other evidence at the national level which exists and give the reference to them.

Data relating to the conversion from temporary to indefinite employment contracts is unavailable. Data indicated below as supplied by ETC show that in 2011, 76.3% of apprentices and trainees found employment after the termination of their related contract either with the same employer sponsoring their apprenticeship / traineeship or with a different employer. However the 2011 figure is 2.5percentage points lower than the relating one registered in 2008. This reflects a downward trend during the recession period. This was further confirmed by the rate of apprentices and trainees that ended unemployed following the termination of their apprenticeship / traineeship contract, which from 1.2% in 2008 went up to 6.3% in 2011. The data supplied does not indicate the type of contract that the apprentices and trainees that were retained in employment had.

Status of apprenticeship and traineeship 2008-2011

Status after apprenticeship and traineeship

Employer

2008

2011

Employed Full-Time / Part-Time

The same (that sponsored the apprentice/trainee)

58.1%

46.8%

 

Different (from the one that sponsored the apprentice/trainee)

20.7%

29.5%

 

Self-employed

1.6%

0.4%

Further Studies

 

18.3%

17.0%

Unemployed

 

1.2%

6.3%

Source ETC, 2013 (ad hoc request)

2. Access to social benefits

2.1. Does entitlement of young people to (contributory) unemployment insurance benefits and (non-contributory) unemployment assistance (i.e. benefits, usually means-tested, which provide a minimum level of income) differ if they are employed on temporary contracts as opposed to permanent ones? If so, please indicate briefly the differences in eligibility conditions and any differences between types of temporary contract (including those working as self-employed for a single employer). Have there been any changes over the period of the crisis?

The Social Security System in Malta does not differentiate on basis of whether a person is on a temporary job or on permanent one when claiming contributory and/or non-contributory benefits. There were no changes in the entitlement rules in this regard over the period of the financial crisis. In order to qualify for the unemployment benefits, beneficiaries must have a minimum of 50 weeks of Social Security paid contributions, and have paid or have been credited with, at least 20 weeks of contributions in the last two years, prior to the year in which the claim for the unemployment benefit is made.

Young persons on short term contracts may encounter difficulties to acquire enough paid contributions. However it must be pointed out that usually the first six months of both fixed-term and indefinite contracts are probationary period, thus in practice a person employed for an indefinite duration can also encounter the same problem particularly if it is the first job and is fired prior to having paid the said amount of contributions.

2.2. Does entitlement of young people to sickness benefits and maternity benefits differ if they are employed on temporary contracts as opposed to permanent ones? If so, please indicate briefly the differences in eligibility conditions and any differences between types of temporary contract (including those working as self-employed for a single employer). Have there been any changes over the period of the crisis?

An employee is entitled to the Social Security sickness benefit after having paid 50 contributions or a total of 20 contributions for the last two years. The first three days of any claim for sick leave is paid in full by the employer. If sickness exceeds three days the employer deducts an amount equal to the rate set for the Social Security sickness benefit entitlement. However sick leave entitlement from the employer’s part varies according to the sector. Each sector is regulated by one of the existing 31 Wage Regulation Orders (WRO). For instance sick leave entitlement in the Construction Sector starts after one year from engagement, which makes eligibility difficult for those employed on temporary contracts. Sick leave entitlement of employees engaged in enterprises which does not fall under any of the current 31 WRO’s is regulated by Legal Notice 432 of 2007 - Minimum Special Leave Entitlement Regulations. These regulations grant two working weeks sick leave in every calendar year on full pay and those who are employed for less than a year are entitled to the proportional amount.Apprentices and Trainees are entitled to 30 days sick leave (15 days will be on full pay and the other 15 days on half pay) after the probation period which is of a 3 moth duration.

2.3. Are there any differences in the entitlement of young people to old-age pensions between those employed in temporary jobs as opposed to permanent ones? If so, please indicate what these are. Have conditions of eligibility to pensions changed over the period of the crisis (including through pension reforms introduced as part of a long-term strategy to improve the financial sustainability of the system)?

The National pension system including the recent reform does not differentiate between persons employed on temporary contracts or on indefinite ones. However, the 2007 pension reform increased the retiring age of those persons born on the 1st January 1962 or after, from 61 to 65 years. Retirement is still possible at 61 years old, if a person has 40 years national insurance contributions paid. Thus persons changing employment due to the temporary nature of contracts and as a consequence have to spend periods unemployed might not accumulate enough paid contributions to retire earlier.

2.4. Are there any differences in entitlement of young people to health care between those employed in temporary jobs as opposed to permanent ones? If so, please indicate what these are. Have conditions of eligibility to health care changed over the period of the crisis?

The National Health System of Malta is free of charge to everyone, so it is irrelevant whether a young person is employed on a temporary job or on a permanent one. There were no changes in this regard over the period of the financial crisis.

3. Regulation of temporary contracts and policies to support transitions into permanent contracts

3.1. Please describe briefly the regulations applying to the main types of temporary contract in your country. Do restrictions exist on the maximum duration of the different types of temporary contract for young workers or the number of times they can be renewed? Do these regulations differ by age (i.e. between young people and older workers) and/or by type of temporary contract (as mentioned in question 1.3), by occupation, or by sector of activity? Do special regulations exist for those completing apprenticeships or traineeships? Have the regulations changed over the period of the crisis – i.e. has there been a tendency for them to have been tightened or relaxed?

Fixed Term Contracts

These types of contracts are regulated by Legal Notice 51 of 2007 Contracts of Service for a Fixed Term Regulations. The maximum duration of a contract of service for a fixed-term is four years after which this is then transformed into a contract of service for an indefinite period. The same applies when an employee has been employed continuously on successive fixed term contracts. An employee whose been kept in employment following the expiry of a fixed term contract, shall be deemed to be employed on an indefinite duration if s/he is not given a new contract of service for a fixed-term within the first twelve working days following the expiry of the previous contract. However there are a number of reasons which can be considered as objective reasons based on precise and concrete circumstances characterising a given activity in which an employer can be justified in retaining an employee on a fixed-term contract beyond the four year period. The Legal Notice enlists five different situations which can be included among the reasons to be considered as justifiable namely: A casual substitute or similar employee on a back to back basis or as a temporary substitute employee; Persons employed in top managerial positions; Persons employed in positions of trust; Persons involved in safeguarding particular security or economic interests of the State and employees on temporary assignments in missions or postings abroad for a duration not exceeding six years. These regulations apply to all employees irrespective of age.

Probation Period

The Employment and Industrial Relations Act (EIRA), states that the first six months of any contract of service shall be probationary employment. However the employer and the employee can agree for a shorter period of probation which would be binding by law. In cases involving technical, executive, administrative or managerial positions provided that relating wages are at least double the national minimum wage, the probation period is of one year. No reason is required when terminating an employment during the probation period however a one week notice period if the employment is terminated after one month. The probation period regulation applies to all employees irrespective of age.

Apprenticeships or Traineeships

Special Regulations exist for Apprentices and Trainees and these are specified by Chapter 343 of the Laws of Malta namely the Employment and Training Services Act and by Legal Notice 73 of 1998 Extended Skill Training Regulations. The Employment and Training Corporation ETC is the body responsible in matters relating to Apprentices and Trainees. The length of apprenticeship agreement varies between 18 months up to 36 months. The probation period in an agreement of apprenticeship or traineeship is the relating first three months. During this period, any party can terminate the agreement by giving three days notice in writing. Time allotted to theoretical instruction is considered as part of the normal working hours. Payment applicable to apprentices under the Extended Skill Training Scheme is made up by a wage by the employer, coupled by a maintenance grant paid by government as follows:

Payment applicable to apprentices

Year

Wage by Employer per week in €

Government Maintenance Grant per 4 weeks in €

1st

47.75

86.01

2nd

49.99

86.01

3rd

73.61

-

Source (ETC, 2013)

Any overtime to be performed by trainees and apprentices requires the consent of the ETC and the applicable rates of payment are equal to those of full-time employees performing the same job. Overtime of apprentices below 18 years of age is regulated by LN 440 of 2003.

Apprentices and Trainees are entitled to 2 working days vacation leave for every 20 days attendance at the place of work. They are also entitled to half of the statutory bonuses payable to normal employees in June and December.

The employer (sponsor) is not legally obliged to retain the trainee or apprentice once the relating agreement has expired.

There were no changes in these regulations due to the economic downturn.

  3.2. Do incentives exists in your country to encourage employers to opt for standard rather than temporary contracts of employment, to convert temporary contracts into permanent ones or to make it easier for employees to move from temporary to permanent contracts? If so, please briefly describe the form that these incentives take. Do they apply equally to young people as well as to older workers? Are any incentives in place to encourage employers to take on young people who have completed an apprenticeship or traineeship on permanent contracts? Have there been any changes to incentives over the period of the crisis? Are any such changes being proposed or being actively discussed at present in your country?

There are no such incentives.

3.3. Is the employment of young people on temporary contracts an important issue of concern for the social partners? Are there strong differences in attitudes and policies between employers and trade unions towards the use of temporary contracts? Have any initiatives been taken by the social partners, either jointly or separately, to encourage the use of permanent rather than temporary contracts? Have any specific initiatives been taken in respect of young people completing apprenticeships or traineeships over the types of job they are offered when their temporary position comes to an end?

From the Trade Union’s front, In October 2007 the General Workers’ Union (GWU) published a report about its position on definite and indefinite contracts of employment. Among others the report raises concern about the possible psychological problems brought about by the insecurity of being on a fixed-term contract. This report suggests that for instance young persons on such contracts find it hard to secure bank home loans. The Union emphasises about the need that these employees are not discriminated due to their nature of contract. The GWU understands that the use of short term contracts is useful in times of peak demand particularly in sectors influenced by seasonal demand. However it also shows concern that some employers may use these contracts to exploit workers especially students by tying them with contracts that extend beyond the summer holidays. In its 2013 pre-election memorandum to political parties, the GWU among others proposed, that the 4 year limit established by law as the maximum duration of a fixed-term contract (or successive fixed-term contracts) should be reduced and that unless the contract is not terminated for a good and sufficient cause, the employer should be precluded from employing new workers for a period of one year. The aim of this proposal is to prevent employers from terminating the employment of employees on fixed term-contracts just before the expiry of the said 4 year period in order to avoid having to switch the contract of the said employees to an indefinite period. The GWU also suggested that companies should only be allowed to have a maximum of 10% of their workers employed on a definite contract.

The Malta Workers' Union (UHM) has in the past shown concern about the use of short-term contracts as means of workers’ exploitation. In its message in the occasion of May 1st 2012 (Workers’ Day) the union highlighted its awareness about persons engaged in their first job that are being given successive fixed-term contracts of a one month duration. The UHM pointed out that apart from making it easier for employer to hire and fire, the situation was creating insecurity among these new workers and about their future (UHM Press Release 30 April 2012).

From the employers’ side, both the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry (MCCEI) and the Malta Business Bureau (MBB) consider the use of a wider diversity of working arrangements and also the concept of temping agencies as a contribution for a more flexible workforce that provide for the enterprise flexible requirements. Temporary contracts help enterprises find temporary replacement for instance in periods were employees are on maternity leave and at the same time contribute to attract more females in the labour market. The Malta Employers Association (MEA) considers atypical employment among others, as a means of increasing labour participation and moreover temporary contracts are mostly voluntary and provide a stepping stone to full-time employment as synonymous with the EU experience (MEA, 2008)

Government whilst recognising the need of temporary contracts, has shown concern in the increase of employee exploitation in particular to precarious work. It also believes that temporary work can among others encourage employers to grant more family friendly measures (The Malta Today 13 February 2012). Government has enacted a number of legal notices aimed at the protection of workers whilst updating the legal framework to the evolving labour market requirements, for instance L.N. 44 of 2012 - Employment Status National Standard Order which tackles the issue of bogus self-employment and L.N. 461 of 2010 - Temporary Agency Workers Regulations.

In general social partners agree about the need of utilising temporary contracts especially in cases involving the substitution of employees on long leave. They also agree on being vigilant about the practices of illegal and substandard employment conditions synonymous with precarious work. The difference between them lies among others in the extent of which such temporary contracts are to be utilised with the GWU proposing a limit. No specific initiatives have been adopted by social partners about the type of employment offered to apprentices and trainees on the completion of their training course.

Temporary employees as a share of total employees aged 15-24, 2004-2011

 

% total employees

% point change

 

2004

2007

2009

2011

2004-2007

2007-2009

2009-2011

2007-2011

EU27

37.6

41.3

40.4

42.5

3.7

-0.9

2.1

1.2

BE

28.6

31.6

33.2

34.3

3.0

1.6

1.1

2.7

BG

15.3

10.3

9.3

8.3

-5.0

-1.0

-1.0

-2.0

CZ

18.0

17.4

18.7

22.3

-0.6

1.3

3.6

4.9

DK

26.9

22.5

22.8

22.1

-4.4

0.3

-0.7

-0.4

DE

55.5

57.4

57.3

56.0

1.9

-0.1

-1.3

-1.4

EE

:

:

:

13.8

 

   

 

IE

11.2

20.5

25.0

34.2

9.3

4.5

9.2

13.7

EL

26.3

27.0

28.4

30.1

0.7

1.4

1.7

3.1

ES

64.8

62.8

55.9

61.4

-2.0

-6.9

5.5

-1.4

FR

46.7

53.5

52.4

55.1

6.8

-1.1

2.7

1.6

IT

34.4

42.3

44.4

49.9

7.9

2.1

5.5

7.6

CY

16.1

23.3

18.4

17.2

7.2

-4.9

-1.2

-6.1

LV

17.3

9.3

9.3

10.7

-8.0

0.0

1.4

1.4

LT

13.8

9.8

5.0

9.1

-4.0

-4.8

4.1

-0.7

LU

24.1

34.1

39.3

34.5

10.0

5.2

-4.8

0.4

HU

15.1

19.1

21.4

22.9

4.0

2.3

1.5

3.8

MT

9.2

11.0

11.3

17.7

1.8

0.3

6.4

6.7

NL

37.9

45.1

46.5

47.7

7.2

1.4

1.2

2.6

AT

32.4

34.9

35.6

37.2

2.5

0.7

1.6

2.3

PL

60.6

65.7

62.0

65.6

5.1

-3.7

3.6

-0.1

PT

47.4

52.6

53.5

57.2

5.2

0.9

3.7

4.6

RO

6.6

4.6

3.7

5.8

-2.0

-0.9

2.1

1.2

SI

63.1

68.3

66.6

74.5

5.2

-1.7

7.9

6.2

SK

9.9

13.7

12.5

18.6

3.8

-1.2

6.1

4.9

FI

49.8

42.4

39.0

43.4

-7.4

-3.4

4.4

1.0

SE

53.1

57.1

53.4

57.3

4.0

-3.7

3.9

0.2

UK

11.0

13.3

11.9

13.5

2.3

-1.4

1.6

0.2

NO

31.2

28.0

25.7

24.3

-3.2

-2.3

-1.4

-3.7

Temporary employees as a share of total employees aged 15-24, 2004-2011

Source: Eurostat, Labour Force Survey

         
Temporary employees as a share of total employees aged 25-29, 2004-2011

 

% total employees

% point change

 

2004

2007

2009

2011

2004-2007

2007-2009

2009-2011

2007-2011

EU27

19.5

21.1

20.2

21.4

1.6

-1.0

1.2

0.2

BE

12.4

13.1

12.5

14.6

0.7

-0.5

2.0

1.5

BG

9.0

5.3

4.4

4.2

-3.8

-0.8

-0.2

-1.0

CZ

9.8

8.1

8.4

10.8

-1.7

0.2

2.5

2.7

DK

16.5

13.9

13.8

16.4

-2.6

-0.1

2.7

2.5

DE

17.2

21.2

21.2

22.0

4.0

0.0

0.8

0.8

EE

3.0

1.8

4.2

4.2

-1.2

2.4

0.0

2.3

IE

3.4

10.1

9.5

12.7

6.7

-0.6

3.2

2.6

EL

18.4

16.1

19.9

19.0

-2.3

3.8

-1.0

2.9

ES

44.0

41.2

37.5

39.8

-2.7

-3.7

2.3

-1.5

FR

18.3

20.8

20.2

22.0

2.5

-0.6

1.8

1.2

IT

17.2

22.7

23.5

26.7

5.5

0.8

3.2

4.0

CY

19.2

17.7

16.2

18.1

-1.5

-1.5

1.9

0.4

LV

11.8

3.2

4.2

5.5

-8.6

1.0

1.4

2.3

LT

5.3

4.2

2.5

3.6

-1.1

-1.7

1.1

-0.6

LU

7.6

12.5

11.2

12.7

4.9

-1.2

1.5

0.3

HU

8.1

8.9

11.3

11.0

0.8

2.5

-0.3

2.2

MT

1.1

5.6

5.0

6.3

4.6

-0.6

1.3

0.6

NL

16.8

22.9

24.2

25.8

6.1

1.2

1.7

2.9

AT

10.0

8.8

9.6

9.8

-1.1

0.8

0.2

1.0

PL

33.8

38.7

35.6

38.9

4.9

-3.1

3.3

0.2

PT

30.3

36.6

38.6

39.2

6.3

2.0

0.6

2.6

RO

3.4

2.1

1.2

2.1

-1.3

-0.9

0.9

0.0

SI

30.7

33.7

34.1

33.9

2.9

0.4

-0.2

0.3

SK

6.8

5.7

4.1

7.7

-1.2

-1.6

3.7

2.1

FI

28.7

24.5

25.5

26.0

-4.2

1.1

0.5

1.5

SE

24.0

27.4

24.0

25.0

3.4

-3.3

1.0

-2.4

UK

6.2

7.1

6.3

5.0

0.9

-0.8

-1.3

-2.1

Temporary employees as a share of total employees aged 25-29, 2004-2011

Source: Eurostat, European Labour Force Survey

       

References

Louis Grech and Anna Borg, Centre for Labour Studies, University of Malta

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