Employment and Assisted Reproduction – What Employers Need to Know
News    ·   21-06-2017

AUTHOR: Ron Galea Cavallazzi, Marisa Vella, Edward Mizzi

Recent amendments to law now mean that employers are bound to grant a period of paid leave to employees who undergo the processes of medically assisted procreation, whether such treatment takes place in Malta or otherwise. The latest instalment under the Employment and Industrial Relations Act entitled - Leave for Medically Assisted Procreation National Standard Order, 2017 (S.L. 452.114), applicable as of 30th May 2017, entitles employees to paid leave and protects them from being discriminated against should they require medical assistance for procreation (the most common of these being ‘in vitro fertilisation’ or IVF).

The National Standard Order grants prospective parents an aggregate of three hundred hours of leave with full pay during their working life. This is split into three entitlements of one-hundred hours per cycle which is further divided between the couple so that the prospective parent receiving the embryo implant is entitled to sixty hours and the other parent to forty hours. The term ‘prospective parents’ is defined as two persons united in marriage, civil union, cohabitation, or those who are over 18 years and in a stable relationship with eachother.

As opposed to maternity leave, employers do not benefit from a refund for leave given to employees for medically assisted procreation and there is no indication whether this is in the pipeline. Similar to maternity leave however, employees cannot be dismissed or discriminated against on the basis of their intention to utilise or on the utilisation of such leave. Having said this, and despite granting considerable leeway to employees in deciding when, and the manner in which they would like to utilise the said leave entitlement, the National Standard Order lays down compulsory notification requirements to be adhered to by the prospective parents should they need to avail themselves of this entitlement. Any contraventon of the National Standard Order renders the employer liable to a minimum fine of five hundred Euros.  

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