Following many complaints this week from employers that they’re yet waiting for data on how to apply for refunds for their immense contributions to the Maternity Leave Trust Fund, the Board of Trustees governing the fund has told this newspaper that online reimbursement application documents or forms will be online “in the coming days”.
The fund was developed a year ago with the target of putting an end to gender discrimination in private sector recruitment procedures, in which employers were observed preferring to hire men rather than women because of the threat of having to pay for maternity leave.
The latest rules have eradicated such prejudice by having entire employers contributing the equivalent of 0.3% of the basic salary of each worker, irrespective of their gender, to the fund.
The employers are then meant to be refunded for the salaries paid to workers who take the fourteen week maternity leave. But while the proposed employers have been paying into the fund for the past twelve months, they’ve yet not got any refunds, and they are yet in the dark as to how to apply for their reimbursements.
Contacted on the day of Friday, the Maternity Leave Trust Fund’s chairperson Charlotte Camilleri assured that the testing of online reimbursement application forms or documents will be carried out tomorrow, after which the applications will go live online.
Dr Camilleri describes, “The procedure has been a very lengthy one but testing of the online application form for reimbursement of maternity leave is going to be done on the day of Monday.
“If there’re no setbacks, the application form or document will be live as soon as the Board of Trustees’ auditors give the go ahead. Hence it should be online in future.”
Initially this year, the Malta Employers Association had called on the government to deal the problem, claiming that despite the legislation being in place since previous year, the employers were yet in the dark as it appeared there was no system in place yet.
The association stated that it would instruct its employees to prevent paying into the fund unless the proposed progress was registered since, as the MEA analyzed, employers are presently paying double for workers’ maternity leave, i.e. their workers’ maternity leave salary plus the 0.3% payments into the fund itself – for which they haven’t still been reimbursed.
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