Responding department: Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties (MSDC)
Has your government taken any initiatives to reduce companies’ negative impacts on human rights that you consider particularly successful?
The Government of Malta introduced a number of mandatory conditions in Public Procurement which have come into force to fight precarious employment. The conditions also apply for existent contracts and no contract will be renewed before all conditions are met.
Malta does also consider the right to privacy to be a fundamental human right, which is safeguarded and enshrined in our Constitution. The enforcement of the right to privacy is facilitated by the protection of personal data from abuse.
The Data Protection Act of 2001 was enacted in Malta on the 14th December 2001, with both sides of the House of Representatives voting in favour of it. This continued to further confirm Malta’s tradition t of upholding democratic values, foremost amongst which is the right of the individual to privacy.
The Data Protection Act 2001 provides for the protection of individuals against the violation of their privacy by the processing of personal data and for matters connected therewith or ancillary thereto.
The Data Protection Act was brought fully into force on the 15th July 2003, enabling data subjects to enjoy their rights under the Act.
The Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs & Civil Liberties has also embarked on the drafting of an Integration Strategy for immigrants residing in Malta.
In 2011, a new piece of legislation was introduced, the Employment Status National Standard Order (SL 452. 108). This Order addresses the issue of false self employment. Indeed, it lifts the veil of self employment where it is clear that the persons concerned are in actual fact employees. Moreover, it protects workers who are falsely declared as self employed by ensuring that they are granted all the rights and entitlements enjoyed by all employees.
What department or departments have significant responsibility for business and human rights within your government?
The Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties (MSDC) is responsible for Human Rights.
Has your government undertaken new business & human rights initiatives or strengthened existing ones since the endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles in June 2011?
What are the top 5 priority issues that your government has taken steps to address since June 2011?
Types of company impacts prioritised:
- Health (inlcuding environmental health, workplace health & safety)
- Freedom of expression & the right to privacy
- Women's rights
- Migrant workers
Actions on health
Occupational Health & Safety – Enforcement - It is the duty of the Occupational Health & Safety Authority to see that the levels of occupational health and safety protection established by Act XXVII of 2000, (General duties), Article 5 and by the regulations enacted under this Act are maintained”
Actions on discrimination
Discrimination – Legislative - the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) encouraged the Government to take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure that no person may be subjected to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Actions on freedom of expression & privacy
Freedom of expression [Legislative] In Malta is contemplated in two distinct fundamental freedoms’ enactments. The first is contained in Article 41 of the Constitution of Malta and the second in Article 10 of the First Schedule to the European Convention Act, 1987; and Right to Privacy [Legislative] – Data Protection Act. Overall the Office of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner is committed to protect the individual's right to privacy by ensuring the correct processing of personal data. The Office aims to safeguard this fundamental human right which is enshrined in the Constitution of Malta.
Actions on women
Women’s rights - Guidance & incentives – MSDC [Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties] is committed towards increasing the female participation in the labour market and equality in employment at all levels. NCPE [National Commission for the Promotion of Equality] has embarked on a number of research activities to provide more guidance in the field.
Actions on migrant workers
Migrant Workers – MSDC [Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties] is developing an Integration Strategy for Third Country Nationals.
This year, the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations commissioned a qualitative research study on the conditions and employment and level of Integration of third country nationals at their place of work. This report was discussed in a National Conference which the Department organised in collaboration with the International Organisation of Migration.
Access to remedy: What steps have been taken to develop new judicial or administrative remedies or to reduce barriers to existing remedies for victims?
Occupational Health & Safety – OHSA [Occupational Health & Safety Authority] Malta publish on its website ‘Good Practices’ for companies to take note of. For instance: Machinery Checklists; Risk assessments (various)
Discrimination & Women’s Rights – NCPE [National Commission for the Promotion of Equality] introduced the Equality Mark, which is a certification awarded to companies / organisations that make gender equality one of their values and whose management is based on the recognition and promotion of the potential of all employees irrespective of their gender and caring responsibilities.