The dignity which work confers on the human being and the love of family which is the true motor of the economy were the main themes on which the Bishop of Gozo, Mario Grech dwelt on, on the occasion of St Joseph the Worker, patron saint of all workers. Celebrating mass at the Ministry for Gozo, Bishop Grech said that work and the family are intrinsically conjoined.
Bishop Grech said in the current economic situation, the discussion which had already started on the concepts of a ‘living wage’ or a ‘family wage’ might perhaps be continued and explored further. In raising this point, Bishop Grech noted that that the thought of providing for the family motivates workers and lubricates the economy, both in good times and in bad. When work is scarce, the family suffers but, he warned also of the dangers of excessive work.
In medio stat virtus
Bishop Grech praised the recent legislative steps taken to ensure an appropriate work-life balance warning that the treadmill of an economy driven life hits family life negatively. Second jobs, excessive overtime and such extra economic activity, while providing income will lead to burn out and second jobs, excessive overtime and such extra economic activity, while providing income will lead to burn out and are detrimental to family life. Moderation is key, said Bishop Grech, and in this moderation, the choices must be carefully weighed and made.
Need for quality time
Bishop Grech acknowledged that what is considered as a necessity, today, is more than that in previous generation. He said that in spite of all that is available there are still families who cannot afford to educate their children properly. He extended the concept of affordability not just to the financial aspect but also included the aspect of quality time. He raised the issue of the structuring of parental leave when children are born and said that conditions of work should ensure that there is sufficient time for the couple to invest in each other, in their children and in family life. “Work-life balance conditions many of the choices made by the family and on the familial relationships, societal relationships and its relationship with the Church” said the Bishop of Gozo. He observed that, not infrequently, personal prayer and spirituality are shunted aside for the benefit of work. This impoverishes the person and the family unit.
In his conclusion, Bishop Grech said that those who provide work deserve praise for, not only the creation of the work, but also for the the great responsibility the employers have to the families they support. “It is every worker’s responsibility not to abuse his place of work and to be fair with the employer. If not, the repercussions will hit all employees hard” said Bishop Grech. He praised Maltese society’s social conscience and expressed the hope that the winds of globalisation will not sweep this away.