The benefit for parents affected by the closure of schools will be paid once again
The Ministry for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights is re-introducing a scheme aimed at paying a benefit to those parents whose children are under the age of 16 and for whom it is not possible to work from home and due to the closure of schools they will be on unpaid leave between 15th March and 11th April 2021 to take care of their children.
This scheme applies to employees working in the private sector other than those working with private companies, and are working or providing essential services to a government department or entity.
This scheme was announced during a ‘Gvern għan-Nies’ press conference addressed by the Minister for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights Michael Falzon and the Minister of Finance and Employment Clyde Caruana.
Minister Michael Falzon said that this benefit will give parents peace of mind so that they can stay with their children while schools are closed, and at the same time continue to receive financial support. Moreover, these persons will remain in the world of work.
Minister Falzon said these payments will not affect the contributions paid so that it will not be detrimental to future pensions. He recalled that the government has already supported a number of persons who would have had a reduction in their pension due to a low income during 2020. As a result of this measure, the year 2020 will not be taken into consideration with the rest of the qualifying years.
Minister Clyde Caruana said that once again this government is showing how close it is to the people. “Over the past few months many places of work have introduced various measures through the support offered by the government, such as teleworking, to make work more flexible. However, we are also aware that certain industries do not permit this. Therefore, we will be re-introducing this measure in order to continue to assist those families who have no relatives to leave their children with during the day. “
Minister Caruana explained that over the past year, approximately 4,000 people have benefited from this measure. This means that if the same number of people that benefited from this measure is the same again this year, the government will be spending around three and a half million euro a month.
Minister Caruana emphasized that the government’s commitment is to continue to do everything possible to assist, not only the employees but also the employers, so that when the pandemic is over, the country’s wealth will start to increase again.
Mr Mark Musù, the Permanent Secretary within the Ministry for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights explained that this scheme is applicable to parents of children under 16 years of age, are a married couple, in a civil union or are in cohabitation according to the Laws of Malta, where both members of the couple work or a single parent of a child under the age of 16 who:
a. works full-time or part-time in the private sector;
b. he/she cannot work from home;
c. he/she cannot go to work to take care of their children in any period between the 15th March and 11th April 2021;
d. be on unpaid leave;
e. the employer is not receiving the wage supplement for him/her.
In the case of a couple where both parents work and both cannot work from home, the benefit will be paid to either one of the two parents.
This scheme consists of the following:
- a person who works full-time and is eligible, will start receiving this benefit, amounting to €166.15 per week;
- a person who works part-time and is eligible, will start receiving this benefit amounting to €103.85 per week;
- the social security contribution is paid in order to protect the contributory pension rights during the period during which this benefit is paid;
- the children’s allowance rate being paid under the respective Act may be adjusted according to the new income and may be increased accordingly;
- those entitled for the In-Work benefit will still continue to receive it without interruption or without deduction;
- those entitled for the Tapering of Benefits will continue to receive it without interruption or without deduction;
Payment of the benefit due to an eligible person will start to be paid directly into the applicant’s bank account each week. This scheme is applicable as from 15th March to 11th April 2021. However, this period may be extended if necessary.