Employees not being paid sick leave in full by Steward Health Care – UĦM

Steward Health Care Malta

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Government employees working at any of the three state hospitals managed by Steward Health Care are not being paid their sick leave in full, UĦM – Voice of the Workers said in a statement on Friday, adding that this was in breach of employment law.

The union reported that whenever an employee is on sick for a stretch of fourt or more days, they are only being paid for first three days. This resulted in a situation where employees with a prolonged illness are suffering a deduction in salary.

The practice was only discovered after the union’s members found a deduction in their payslip. It also transpired that those who had been on sick leave for more than three days had a note saying that their sick leave benefit had been deducted.

The union pointed out that by law government workers receive their sick leave payment by their employer and are eligible for at least 30 days fully paid sick leave annually. It accused the American giant of breaching the provisions of the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, specifically the one on the protection of wages.

UĦM questioned the reasons behind this practice since Steward Health Care receives the full amount of the employees’ wages from the government.

It called on the health ministry to put an end to this illegal practice and to give the workers the money they are due by the end of the week.

Steward Health Care Malta denies any illegalities on sick leave payments

Steward Health Care Malta strongly denied any illegalities with reference to the claims made by UĦM – Voice of the Workers in a statement the union issued on Friday. Steward Malta clarified that the union’s statements include various inaccuracies and unfounded allegations.

Steward Malta said it cannot accept the claims and described them as unfounded and reserved its right to take legal action in relation to the allegations.

“The situation described by the union with regards to alleged “illegal deduction of sick leave payments for government employees working at the three hospitals managed by Steward Health Care” is incorrect, as the particular situation is relevant only to Karin Grech Hospital government employees and not to those working in other Steward-managed hospitals like the Gozo General Hospital,” said Steward Healthcare.

It also said that the matter pertinent to Karin Grech Hospital is the result of years of government legacy practices, and is not related to the taking over of the management by Steward Malta.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Steward healthcare said that the direction on how to pay for sick leave in Karin Grech Hospital was given by the Department of Social Security and this has been the case for many years. Steward Malta clarified that Karin Grech Hospital management is only responsible for the computation of salaries, with the funding being provided by the government, through its own account.

It was also said that Steward Healthcare submits monthly reports for scrutiny by the Ministry for Health and therefore there is no possibility for Steward to retain for itself money that the Government has transferred for the payroll of Government employees, said Steward.