Joseph Farrugia has been the president of the Malta Employers’ Association since 2001 and a board member of the Employment and Training Corporation and the Employment Relations Board. Farrugia shares his views on member countries’ businesses cooperation to create a more flexible working environment, and boost female employment across the EU.
“Business organisations do discuss at European level as well, in fact Maltese business organizations, there is the Malta Employers’ Association, chamber of commerce, general retailers and traders unions. We participate at European level. We do have a voice in the formulation of European directives.
“Also, consequently, the ones which are related to social and economic affairs. And the entitlement of employees to these benefits are certainly one factor which influences the operation of the labour market. Therefore, if we believe that these measures will on one hand encourage more people to work, encourage the retention of people particularly female employees into the labour market, and on the other hand therefore will also contribute to the country’s competitiveness then we’re all for such measures to be implemented.
“What many families do when deciding whether to have two working parents or not, is to weigh the cost and the benefits. Therefore if the cost of going out to work, and there are costs, transport costs, the need to buy more clothes perhaps, taking care of the children, not giving enough attention to the children as they grow up, therefore there are sacrifices to be made at family level.
“But there are also benefits. The main benefit of course is the financial aspect that family with working parents would generally be in a better financial position than those with one working parent. Therefore families do take this into account.
“Now government and employers need to work hand in hand to ensure that the benefits outweigh the cost. Therefore measures such as free childcare, measures taken at enterprise level, which are related to a flexible work environment, it is all adding to the benefits and cutting, reducing the cost of going out to work. And it is this attitude towards the situation that will help women to continue working.”