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European Commission
On 2 July 2019, Ursula von der Leyen was nominated by the European Council to the position of President of the European Commission; she will be the first women and the first German since Walter Hallstein
Equal opportunities and access to the labour market
1. Education, training and life-long learning Everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning in order to maintain and acquire skills that enable them to participate fully in society and manage successfully transitions in the labour market. 2. Gender equality Equality of treatment and opportunities between women and men must be ensured and fostered in all areas, including regarding participation in the labour market, terms and conditions of employment and career progression. Women and men have the right to equal pay for work of equal value.
The gender pay gap in the EU and the European Pillar of #SocialRights
1. The gender pay gap in the EU is 16.2%, that’s 16.2% higher than it should be! Gender equality is the second key principle of the European Pillar of #SocialRights for a reason 2. The European Pillar of #SocialRights supports the right to equal treatment and opportunities regarding employment, social protection, education, and access to goods and services available to the public. Something NCW Malta has supported since its creation!
Gender Equality in the Media Sector
This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. It examines key elements of the European policy agenda pertaining to gender equality in the media sector. It also reviews existing research on women's representation within media content and the media workforce. The study provides analysis of actions to promote gender equality in the media at both EU and Member State levels. Finally, it presents case studies of gender equality in the media sector in four Member States: Austria, Malta, Sweden, and the UK.
Empowering women and girls in media and ICT
On the occasion of the International Women's Day, the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality is holding an inter-parliamentary committee meeting on empowering women and girls in media and ICT. The meeting, which will bring together EU institutional representatives, members of EU national parliaments, experts and stakeholders, will take place on 08 March 2018. The presentation and debates will deal with the topics of women shaping media, empowering women and girls through digital inclusion and women’s movements and advancing equality in the digital age.
Digital healthcare / health insurance
In the view of the EESC, given the digital revolution in the field of health, it is vital to maintain and promote a health insurance system which serves the needs of everyone, and is solidarity-based, inclusive and non-discriminatory. Inclusion and fair access for all to good quality health services (digital or otherwise) and commitment to these are in fact prerequisites for universal health coverage.
Gender equality in European labour markets
In order to improve gender equality in labour markets, the EESC considers it necessary to draw up an integrated and ambitious European strategy to tackle systemic and structural obstacles and lead to adequate policies, measures and EU funding programmes for improving equality between women and men, thus fostering "more equal economic independence of women and men" . This would also contribute to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Services to the family
Developing services in private homes in order to achieve a better work-life balance Every family has a home and clothes to maintain, meals to prepare, children to care for, elderly parents or ill or disabled family members who need help. Women often have to work part-time in order to carry out these tasks, missing out on the career for which they have trained or on time they would use for training.
Women and girls digital gender gap
This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, attempts to reveal the links between the different factors (access, skills, socio-economic and cultural), which prevent women from having equal access to digital technology. It then suggests ways of dealing with online and offline inequalities to the effect of closing the digital gender gap and improving women’s and girls’ digital inclusion and future technology-related career paths.
Plastics, human health and environmental impacts: The road ahead
Plastics have been with us for more than a century, and by now they’re everywhere, for good and for ill. Plastic containers and coatings help keep food fresh, but they can also leave behind neurotoxins such as BPA in the human body. PVC is used for everything from pipes and flooring to furniture and clothes, but it contains compounds called phthalates that have been implicated in male reproductive disorders. Studies have also shown that childhood exposure to environmental pollutants can have significant negative effects later in life, including reduced labor force participation and even earnings.
European Commission aims to significantly reduce the gender pay gap
The European Commission plans to use a series of measures aimed at significantly reducing the pay gap between men and women over the next five years. The average gender pay gap in the EU currently stands at 18%. To lower this rate, the Commission plans to raise awareness among employers, encourage initiatives to promote gender equality and support the development of tools to measure the gender pay gap.
NCW Annual General Meeting 2019
NCW Annual General Meeting 2019 The Annual General Meeting of the National Council of Women was held on Saturday 26th January 2019, at The Victoria Hotel, Sliema. President Mary Gaerty spoke about the work which the Council has embarked on during 2018. This included pensions, education, violence against women, work and entrepreneurship, work life balance and the challenges faced by women on a daily basis. She also highlighted the fact that the National Council of Women is looking ahead at the constant changes
Work-life Balance
Better work-life balance for EU citizens: Presidency reaches provisional agreement with the European Parliament
The National Council of Women supports the Act to provide protection for human embryos
NCW has always advocated for legislation of alternative IVF treatment not least because of the sensitivity and the consequences for both parents and society if it had to remain unregulated. NCW believes that IVF treatment should be for heterosexuals within a stable family environment The Council has always supported the protection of embryos as the first cell of a human life and, with the development of alternative treatment over the past years this has become possible successfully.
Women on Boards: Vice-President Viviane Reding meets with leaders of Europe's business schools and i
Today, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding met with European Industry Associations, European Business Schools and Senior Executive Women to discuss progress being made on improving the gender balance in company boardrooms.
UfM adopts new project to support women’s empowerment in the Mediterranean
A project aimed at developing women’s empowerment in the Mediterranean through the development of effective field projects and the setting up of networks and platforms, was adopted by Senior Officials of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) at a meeting held last month.

National Council of Women
The Participation of Women in Decision-making


The National Council of Women believes that achieving the goal of equal participation of women and men in decision-making will provide a balance that more accurately reflects the composition of society and is needed in order to strengthen democracy and promote its proper functioning.  

Addressing the issue of women's participation in decision-making is one of the six priorities of the EU Roadmap for Gender Equality 2006-2010. All member states are obliged to take the necessary measures to implement the Roadmap

NSO/NCW research clearly reveals that many women are not coming forward for top posts because of the difficulties in reconciling long hours of work and family responsibilities.
The study also reveals that both women and men fail to perceive that  the relationship between a woman's life pattern and her gender  is resulting in a negative impact on her career path choices.

NCW  
recommends
that structural deficits  be addressed across the board through the formulation of strategies to bring about changes in government policies, trade unions, political parties, and other institutions to ensure that opportunities for women in decision-making  

recommends
the formulation of  a national policy for a strategy and its implementation to bring about a cultural change that facilitates the entry of women in decision -making in economic, social and particularly in political positions at local and national level  

recommends
that in  the current revision of the National Curriculum and Lifelong Learning, concrete  measures are taken to address gender  stereotyping and to promote   gender equality behaviour at the earliest stages of life, starting with the family

also recommends

  • that further positive action is taken in the field of equal treatment of men and women, as stated in EU directives
  • to further strengthen  family-friendly measures that address women’s needs in particular, in political and management structures, which facilitate  women’s  access to political decision-making roles,
  • that in the spirit of democracy and equality of opportunity, in the planning phase of policies,  the use of time is not built on men’s norms
  • that in the forthcoming general elections, names of candidates on ballot sheets will be listed in alternate male/female order, whilst retaining alphabetical order
  • that a University of Malta Diploma Course (or further)  be set up to professionally prepare both men and women for political decision-making posts


recommends
That in the revision of the National Curriculum, education, starting with the family, not only to change stereotyping but also as concrete measures to encourage gender equality behaviour at the earliest stages of life be given priority


Aims and Objectives

With this primary aim in mind and to attract and encourage local women to pursue decision-making positions, whether political or in other spheres, the National Council of Women, has organized an intensive course focused on Women in Decision Making.  This course was held twice a week over a period of nine weeks at NCW premises in Blata l-Bajda.  During this course participants from all walks of life were exposed to a wide perspective of the current situation and what it entails to be a woman in a decision making position.  

Programme Content

The course covered a broad spectrum of the skills that are required by anyone who aspires for decision making posts, starting from personal and social development, problem solving and decision making, conflict management to presentation skills, public speaking, networking techniques and handling the media.  Decision-making in politics and the political scenario be it local, national and European, were also given prominence.  

This course was more than anything else interactive, involving sharing of ideas as well as practical exercises, and was purposefully enriched by the knowledge and expertise of chosen personalities and facilitators who conducted the various sessions of the course programme.  


Participants highly rated the topics covered during the programme, the knowledge of the presenters, their method of presentation, the course content and the handouts distributed during the course.  

It is worth pointing out that, a team feeling was created from the beginning of the course and this was nourished until the end.  This team feeling fostered respect, facilitated learning and enabled the sharing of ideas and opinions through acceptance of diversity.  

Comments by Participants

The participants reported that they enjoyed the course overall and found it very informative since they obtained useful tips on managing one’s image, explored presentation techniques and current networking options.  Attendees got a glimpse of ‘the behind the scenes’ in local politics that served to enrich their understanding of the local, national and European political scenario.   The participants also felt that this course serves as a good stepping-stone for those interested to join politics and those who aspire for decision-making positions.  

view of the imminent forthcoming General Elections, the Council therefore recommends to

  • Government,
  • Political parties,
  • Local Councils
  • Civil Society organisations
  • and other parties as required
  • that further positive action is taken in the field of equal treatment of men and women, as stated in EU directives
  • the formulation of  a national policy for a strategy and its implementation to bring about a cultural change that facilitates the entry of women in decision -making in economic, social and particularly in political positions at local and national level  to further strengthen  family-friendly measures that address women’s needs in particular, in political and management structures, which facilitate  women’s  access to political decision-making roles, that in the spirit of democracy and equality of opportunity, in the planning the use of time is not built on men’s norms that in the forthcoming general elections, names of candidates on ballot sheets will be listed in alternate male/female order, whilst retaining alphabetical order that a University of Malta Diploma Course (or further)  be set up to professionally prepare both men and women for political decision-making posts


Grace Attard, NCW Vice-President, EESC memb


Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value

Women’s importance on the labour market is growing and it is widely recognised that women are a key resource that is currently under-utilised. This has been borne out by the Lisbon conclusions, which has called for an increase in female employment rates to 60%.

  • Equality legislation since 1957 – Treaty of Rome - established equality in all policy areas and in Community Law to ensure that the principle of equality is backed by strong legislation.
  • The Roadmap for Equality 2006-2010 and the Gender Pact, highlight the importance of addressing the pay gap.


The individual statutory rights of women and men to equal pay for work of equal value are anchored in European and national law.
EC Treaty (Amsterdam Treaty) Article 141 (formerly Art. 119) Principle of Equal Pay
Directive 75/117/EWG “Equal Pay Directive” puts the principle of equal pay in a more concrete way
Directive 97/80EC regulates the burden of proof and provides a definition of indirect discrimination. These legal provisions are binding for the national law of all member states
Directive 97/80/EC
Onus of Proof Directive

Equality legislation, particularly directives on equal pay and access to employment and social security have served to improve equality between men and women. However, there is the need to revise gender equality in the context of the Lisbon strategy.

The principle of equal pay for  work of equal value
is anchored in our Industrial Relations Act, however there is the need for adequate measures to ensure its practical implementation

Background

Reducing the gender pay gap is one of the objectives of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs. The gap between men's pay and women's pay is a major source of inequality between women and men. Whichever way you look at the data on pay, women's average earnings are lower than those of men: at the EU level, women are receiving only 73% of men's hourly earnings. Although there is much variation between countries. Iin very few cases are average women’s earnings more than 85% of men’s and in no Member State over 90%.

Even after recalculating women’s earnings to remove three major structural effects (age, occupation and economic activity of the employer), there still remains a difference of about 15% for the EU as a whole.

The gender pay gap worsens the higher up the corporate ladder you climb. At managerial level in some countries average female pay rates are only around 2/3 of those of men. The gap is particularly pronounced at the top end of the scale, amongst the men and women with the highest level of earnings. The top 10% of women wage earners in the EU earn on average 35% less than the top 10% of men wage earners, where as the bottom 10% of women earners earn on average 15% less than men.

In addition, men are more likely than women to have jobs which include a range of fringe benefits. The most valuable of these is likely to be a pension. When this is taken into account the gap gets even wider. Low pay yields low Social Security benefits. The inequities of the workplace are perpetuated in retirement.

Women get paid less for many reasons: Jobs usually held by women pay less than jobs traditionally held by men--even if they require the same education, skills and responsibilities. Traditional women’s work is usually under-valued. A central factor which has created unequal pay is the under-evaluation of women’s skills – for example, (women’s) caring skills are often given less value than (male) physical strengths.

From words to action

Member states are obliged to adopt positive measures to eliminate gender discrimination and to eliminate labour market segregation.
“Member states are obliged to ensure that equal pay is implemented .“Each member state shall ensure that the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value is applied” (EC Treaty Article 141)
(For the purpose of EC Treaty Article 141 (in force since 1999) ‘pay’ means ‘the ordinary basic or minimum wage or salary and any other consideration, whether in cash or in kind, which the worker receives directly or indirectly, in respect of his employment, from his employer’)
Member states shall take such measures as are necessary, in accordance with their judicial systems…. Before a court or other competent authority…..it shall be for the respondent to prove that there has been no breach of the principle of equal treatment. Burden of Proof (Directive 97/80/EC )

Job classification schemes need to include effective measures to ensure the elimination of gender discrimination.
Member states are obliged to promote equality and to encourage social partners to adopt equality measures.
Also member states are obliged to ensure equal pay is implemented and not just to ensure that social partners take the responsibility

The role of Trade Unions

Trade unions have a key role to play in this process by ensuring that the gender pay gap is central to collective bargaining and negotiations. Improved knowledge is needed both about the causes of existing gender pay differentials and effective methods for reducing these differentials.

At the negotiating table, the parties that determine the contents of collective agreements can accomplish much in ensuring that unjustified pay differentials are revealed, corrected and prevented. Legislation and collective agreements can serve in various ways as means of stimulating efforts to combat wage discrimination.

It is a fact that there are few women involved in the collective bargaining process at the various levels. Research indicates that the presence of women in collective bargaining has a positive effect on gender mainstreaming. In other words, the more women are involved in the negotiating process, the likelier it is that the negotiations in question will tackle areas related to equality

New methods need to be tried out and good models need to gain greater currency. One valuable instrument that can enable us to monitor and evaluate the efforts made on a continuous basis is indicators. The information brought out by indicators is significant in addressing the gender pay gap.

The role of Employers

For employers, equal pay is essential to fairness at work: employers can conduct pay audits to identify the problems and then develop and implement the appropriate solutions
Pay systems that are simple, transparent and easy to understand send a positive message to the workforce about the value an organisation puts on its staff.

Pay reviews avoid unfair discrimination and ensure that the skills, experience and potential of all staff are rewarded fairly, thereby increasing the organisation's morale, efficiency, productivity and competitiveness. Equal pay is about good management

It is essential that facts about the gender pay gap become available also at company level where negotiations on pay take place. It is at this level that the analysis of women’s and men’s wages is needed as a basis for correcting unjustified pay differentials in the case of equal work or work of equal value. It goes without saying that this analysis must then include assessments of what kinds of work performed at any particular workplace are equal or of equal value

European Court of Justice (ECJ)

Developments in legislation have resulted from ECJ Case Law. Cases of ‘equal work’ and indirect discrimination in particular in part-time work should be consulted.
Reference should be made to a number of achievements of the ECJ, namely the application of affirmative (positive) action in addressing equality issues on the basis of:criteria that do not to discriminate against female candidates, and therefore not based on a male norm

Addressing indirect discrimination is not easy; it is disguised and usually addresses groups of employees and not individuals. This makes it more difficult to establish and victims might not be aware of discrimination

We need to study closely current criteria of job classifications – their explicit, implicit implications, progression of work in the context of time, availability, and home responsibilities
The definition of indirect discrimination  of  Directive 96/80/EG (article 2) needs to be interpreted according to ECJ case law

We need to ensure transparency in job classification systems.

the criteria should include:

  • transparent and verifiable pay systems
  • objective criteria related to the nature of the work in question and reflecting  the nature of the job and not the person
  • Criteria “for which female employees could be particularly suited” must also be taken into account. (ECJ) Under certain circumstances, this includes necessary non-professional qualifications, psychosocial requirements and demands, as well as communication skills, team work ability, working under time pressure and responsibility for personnel
  • the set of criteria must be drawn up and implemented free of gender discrimination


In studying job classification, criteria should focus on:
part-time work,
new work organization,
access to education and vocational training
IT training
A closer study of the working time Directive

Statistics on Wages

Wage discrimination is a complex problem that requires new initiatives and innovative thinking in many different areas. To a great extent wage discrimination is invisible – indeed a hidden problem
Changes of various kinds are needed in statistics on wages so as to make information on pay differences a more adequate basis for decisions. The causes of pay differentials need closer study and the resulting knowledge must be used to reveal, correct and prevent discrimination.

The formulation of strategies in the following areas is crucial:

Labour Market Inspectorate
Collective bargaining
Job Evaluation and Job Classification
Wage - Formation
Statistical Data and Indicators
Trade Union Training
Action Plans
Equality Pay Audits
National Action Plans (NAPs)
Solutions

RESOLUTION: EQUAL PAY FOR WORK OF EQUAL VALUE


Background
Reducing the gender pay gap is one of the objectives of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs. The gap between men's pay and women's pay is a major source of inequality between women and men. Whichever way you look at the data on pay, women's average earnings are lower than those of men: at the EU level, women are receiving only 73% of men's hourly earnings. Although there is much variation between countries,in very few cases are average women’s earnings more than 85% of men’s and in no Member State over 90%.

Even after recalculating women’s earnings to remove three major structural effects (age, occupation and economic activity of the employer), there still remains a difference of about 15% for the EU as a whole.

The gender pay gap worsens the higher up the corporate ladder you climb. At managerial level in some countries average female pay rates are only around 2/3 of those of men. The gap is particularly pronounced at the top end of the scale, amongst the men and women with the highest level of earnings. The top 10% of women wage earners in the EU earn on average 35% less than the top 10% of men wage earners, where as the bottom 10% of women earners earn on average 15% less than men.

In addition, men are more likely than women to have jobs which include a range of fringe benefits. The most valuable of these is likely to be a pension. When this is taken into account the gap gets even wider. Low pay yields low Social Security benefits. The inequities of the workplace are perpetuated in retirement.

Women get paid less for many reasons: Jobs usually held by women pay less than jobs traditionally held by men--even if they require the same education, skills and responsibilities. Traditional women’s work is usually under-valued. A central factor which has created unequal pay is the under-evaluation of women’s skills – for example, (women’s) caring skills are often given less value than (male) physical strengths.

In context of the above
NCW aware
that member states are obliged to ensure that equal pay is implemented .“Each member state shall ensure that the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value is applied” (EC Treaty Article 141)
(For the purpose of EC Treaty Article 141 (in force since 1999) ‘pay’ means ‘the ordinary basic or minimum wage or salary and any other consideration, whether in cash or in kind, which the worker receives directly or indirectly, in respect of his employment, from his employer’)

recommends that

  • government adopts (affirmative) positive action (measures)  to eliminate gender discrimination and to eliminate labour market segregation
  • job classification schemes include effective measures to ensure the elimination of gender discrimination.
  • that social partners are encouraged to adopt equality measures to eliminate the gender pay gap


The role of Trade Unions

NCW aware

that trade unions have a key role to play in this process

recommends

  • that the gender pay gap is central to collective bargaining and negotiations to ensure that unjustified pay differentials are revealed, corrected and prevented


also aware
that research indicates that the presence of women in collective bargaining has a positive effect on gender mainstreaming.

recommends that

  • more women are encouraged to be involved in the negotiating process


The role of Employers

NCW aware that
it is essential that facts about the gender pay gap become available also at company level where negotiations on pay take place

recommends that

  • employers conduct pay audits to identify the problems and then develop and implement the appropriate solutions
  • pay systems  are simple, transparent and easy to understand to send a positive message to the workforce about the value an organisation puts on its staff.
  • employers ensure that the skills, experience and potential of all staff are rewarded fairly, thereby increasing the organisation's morale, efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.


European Court of Justice (ECJ)
NCW aware that
developments in legislation have resulted from ECJ Case Law.

recommends that

  • ECJ cases of ‘equal work’ and indirect discrimination., in particular in part-time work be consulted and the necessary amendments be made both in th Industrial  Relations Act and in the Gender Equality Act
  • the application of affirmative (positive) action in addressing equality issues should be on the basis of :criteria that do not to discriminate against female candidates, and therefore not based on a male norm


Addressing indirect discrimination
NCW aware that

addressing indirect discrimination is not easy; it is disguised and usually addresses groups of employees and not individuals. This makes it more difficult to establish and victims might not be aware of discrimination

recommends that

  • the definition of indirect discrimination  of  Directive 96/80/EG (article 2) be interpreted according to ECJ case law
  • a close study be carried out of current criteria of job classifications – their explicit, implicit implications, progression of work in the context of time, availability and home responsibilities by social partners


also recommends that
the criteria should include:

  • transparent and verifiable pay systems
  • objective criteria related to the nature of the work in question and reflecting  the nature of the job and not the person
  • Criteria “for which female employees could be particularly suited” must also be taken into account. (ECJ) Under certain circumstances, this includes necessary non-professional qualifications, psychosocial requirements and demands, as well as communication skills, team work ability, working under time pressure and responsibility for personnel
  • the set of criteria must be drawn up and implemented free of gender discrimination


also recommends
transparency in job classification systems with criteria that focus on:

  • part-time work,
  • new work organization,
  • access to education and vocational training
  • IT training
  • working time directive


Statistics on Wages

NCW aware that
Wage discrimination is a invisible, hidden and complex problem that requires new initiatives and innovative thinking in many different areas

recommends

  • Changes of various kinds in data collection and in statistics on wages so as to make information on gender pay differences a more adequate basis for decisions.

Flexicurity: The role of the social partners and collective bargaining

One of the priority themes items of the outgoing Portuguese Presidency is flexicurity.(balancing flexibility and security). Member States were invited by the Commission to pursue, in accordance with their individual labour market situations, reforms in labour market and social policies under an integrated flexicurity approach reflected  in the New Employment Guidelines (December 2007).

Strengthening industrial relations systems is essential for any discussion on flexicurity. A strong and vital social dialogue where the social partners actively participate and are able to negotiate, influence and take responsibility for the definition and components of flexicurity and evaluation of its outcomes is a key element

NCW recommends

  • that in the current debate on flexicurity, a balance between flexibility and worker protection be pursued

also recommends

  • that this be guaranteed through regulations established by collective bargaining, in line with national practices.

also recommends

  • a solid context of rights, well-functioning social institutions and employment-friendly social security systems to back it up.


To better create a win-win situation, the National Council of Women
also recommends

  • that  the flexicurity debate should focus more on:


1. The dimension of internal flexibility

  • Enhancing adaptability through internal flexibility can play a key role in advancing productivity, innovation and competitiveness, and can thus contribute to reaching the goals of the Lisbon strategy
  • It can also play a major part in allowing workers to better combine work with other activities and responsibilities and to improve the quality of their employment.


2. Gender equality and flexicurity

  • Labour market flexibility and security affect men and women in different ways. Women often work in more precarious and insecure jobs characterised by excessive flexibility.
  • Therefore there is the need to ensure that the risk of precarious and insecure jobs is offset by an adequate form of security.

3. Intergenerational solidarity and flexicurity

  • As well as a gender dimension, flexicurity also has a generational dimension. Therefore there is als the ned to ensure that  the neds of older workers are addressed in the debate on flexicurity
  • There is also the need to address the needs of young people who face an uncertain labour market with high unemployment, fixed term contracts, insufficient social security coverage and work below their qualification level.


4. SMEs and flexicuity

  • Flexicurity is of particular importance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the light of their significance in employment terms. Therefore policies in relation to flexicurity, will have to contain provisions safeguarding the needs of SMEs and their employees.


5. Working time flexibility

  • Working time flexibility needs be established by collective agreements and by law over a longer time period, by making use of overtime, the flexible scheduling of working hours over predefined time frames, shift work, etc.
  • In this way working time flexibility can strengthen productivity and competitiveness., whilst ensuring that employees' protection is taken into account which can otherwise lead to bad working conditions or precarious employment, or even having harmful effects on the quality of goods and the provision of services to consumers


NCW affirms that a stable framework for social dialogue and collective bargaining provides opportunities for strong social partners to agree on key issues relating to the labour market

And therefore recommends

  • Strengthening collective bargaining and social dialogue as instruments to regulate
  • and reform labour markets, within the context of legal regulations that ensure work and health protection and that provide stability and security to workers.
  • A  welfare state able to guarantee high levels of social protection, the assumption of responsibility by adequately funded public services, and a stable legal framework for collective bargaining and social dialogue
  • General welfare systems that can improve mobility by ensuring that workers do not lose out when they are confronted with changes affecting their workplace.


Social Issues Committee 2007
Resolution
Pensions and the Aged


Act XXI  of the Civil Code, 1870:9) generated changes in the reciprocal duties of spouses stating that “The Law promotes the unity and stability of the family… The spouses shall have equal rights and shall assume equal responsibilities during marriage.  They owe each other fidelity and moral and material support”

NCW aware
that in today’s continuously evolving society a large percentage of couples in their old age effectively administer the pension to ensure an adequate standard of living for both, but there are many elderly women who have never been in employment and therefore have not been in a position to pay National Insurance contributions and are not in a position to claim pensions entitlement, should the male spouse refuse to share in the administration of it and deprives the female spouse of her share

aware
that pension cheques are addressed to the individual who pays National Insurance contributions according  to part V of the Social Security Act (Chapter 318) which clearly states that the pension is a property of those who have paid the proper rate of contribution under this Act (Article 52).  

aware
that the  ‘femminisation of poverty’ is a growing concern among the 21st century Maltese housewives who end up living their old days deprived from the basic needs.  Even though these women are repeatedly denied a share of the pension, they are not ready to take their marriage to court after so many years

aware also
that according to the latest NSO statistics with regards ‘Poverty and Social Inequality’ standards in Malta – 51.1% of those living below the at-risk-of-poverty line were females, especially those aged above sixty.  

Recommends
that Pension Sharing should be legally considered in those cases were women declare that they are being deprived of a good standard of living in their old-age, due to lack of income sharing, similar to the way in which pension cheques are divided under court ordinance in cases of separation or when one of the spouses enters a retirement home.  

also recommends
that the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity (MFSS) creates a platform were the aforementioned ‘abused’ dependent women can voice their concerns, and be able to claim a percentage share of the pension with the necessary mechanisms, criteria and professional  human resources

also recommends
that in instances were the woman is living temporarily with her children or any other relative or friend, the two cheques: worked out on a definite outlined ratio of the pensionable income, will be sent separately to both addresses.  Whereas, if the spouses are still living under the same roof, the Board may decide to have the cheques deposited directly into two separate bank accounts

Maria Camilleri                                         
Social Issues Committee
Coordinator


NCW


Social Issues Committee Proposal
School Absenteeism


In 2005 the Ministry for Education, Youth and Employment has published a report called “School Attendance Improvement” which was carried out by a taskforce made up of 5 persons.

According to this report, school absenteeism is a phenomenon with far reaching consequences impacting on a variety of social actors ranging from the children who are absenting, to their families, their schools and communities, the criminal justice system, social work agencies, social service organisations and the economy.

Non attendance is associated with low status occupations, less stable career patterns, and more unemployment in adulthood, criminal behaviour and substance abuse.

NCW
aware
that regular attendance is an important factor in school success.

aware
that students often leave education early and are more likely to become long term unemployed, homeless, caught in the poverty trap, dependent on welfare and involved in the justice system (House of representatives 1996:3).

aware
 that there are several factors that lead to school absenteeism.

aware
that according to numerous studies, family and personal difficulties can contribute to non-attendance and dropping out of schools.

aware
that unemployment, low income and dependency on welfare, affect the family’s ability to provide sufficient support to encourage a student to stay at school.

aware
that frequently reported causes of non-attendance are the result of parents asking their children to stay home.

aware
that many times Maltese parents present medical certificates to cover for any type of authorised absence from school and that unfortunately, some medical practitioners are unethical in their practice, since some medical certificates issued by them are not justified.

aware
of  The United Nations’ Convention of the Rights of Children that ‘sets out the rights that must be realized for children to develop their full potential, live free from hunger and want, neglect and abuse’.

recommends
To government that the fines ordered by the Court be linked with the Social Security Department, and be deducted from the Children’s Allowance.

also recommends
the setting up of a warden system to ensure that any enforcement is carried out by them,
allowing the social workers within the School Social Work Service to focus on supporting the families of absentee students in addressing those factors within the family that may be enabling absenteeism as recommended in the “School Attendance Improvement” report

also recommends
the setting up of a Board of practitioners who will investigate such cases which should be detected by the schools as early as possible.

Maria Camilleri                                         
Social Issues Committee
Coordinator



Proposals of Environment Committee, 2007 - NCW


The topic of Climate Change has dominated the news for the last number of months especially following the increase in whether changes, floods and other catastrophic events. The issue for a country’s carbon footprint has been a discussed issue even in Malta and several proposals have been forwarded to the authorities in order to start taking measures to minimize the damages caused by carbon dioxide emissions. Some of these measures are already being implemented albeit on a voluntary basis.

Recommendations

  • Extensive use of solar water heaters and rebates by the government to encourage their use
  • Mepa to ‘impose’ on issuing a building permit, that a percentage of the estimated energy consumption be generated by alternative energy
  • Rebates by the government on the purchase and installation of  solar panels, wind turbines and other alternative energy production projects
  • The removal of older more polluting cars, with the government offering the owner the exemption of the registration and import tax on  a new less polluting car, which would be approved by ADT
  • Street lighting to have solar panels
  • Education campaign through the media informing the people about the incentives being offered regarding the incentives and most importantly what each household would be saving in monetary terms



Mary Gaerty
Environment Committee
Coordinator

 
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