The Online MEA HR HANDBOOK

The MEA HR Handbook consists of an online platform made up of 28 chapters on employment related topics. Its there to assist employers and HR managers to deal with HR issues on a day-to-day basis. Innovative in its format, the Handbook is a source of informationthat helps entrepreneurs to offer proper guidance and enhance their relationship between management and employees.

Chapters are constantly updated to reflect changes in legislation. This task is very time consuming, however an exercise that is necessary to keep abreast with the lastest changes at national and EU level. To facilitate this task, MEA keep close communication with government entities such as DIER, OHSA, IDPC and Identity Malta, to keep up-to-date with developments.

The Handbook is a creative solution as it offers the possibility for employers to improve their entrepreneurial and managerial skills in leading a workforce. It provides knowledge on legislative matters and assists with giving practical examples of how managers can deal with HR issues that can arise on the workplace. It therefore offers a one-stop shop where SMEs can go and find answers to their questions.

With the outbreak of the pandemic, and in response to the high demand of queries in relation to changes in conditions of employment, MEA has added a separate section on how management can deal with issues raised during COVID-19. This section includes information on mitigation measures, COVID-19 schemes, amendments in Legal Notices, as well as a set of FAQs on various topics such as Health and Safety. This addition is to be seen as a continuous development of the HR Handbook, in line with MEA’s policy of enhancing the employers’ corporate social responsibility. Having the HR Handbook online, rather than in printed format, makes it more inclusive and accessible by both local and foreign SMEs. Being seen as a best practice of how business support organisations like MEA can assist SMEs in dealing with COVID-19, the Handbook has been advertised amongst international partners like IOE and BUSINESSMED, and MEA has been praised on how innovative it is offering its assistance.

As future implementation plan, MEA already started the rebranding process and upscaling of this initiative in order to be more user-friendly and increase its visibility with the SME community. The Handbook will now include an integrated CRM system to monitor online traffic, and a search engine to facility access for information. The number of chapters will increase and will be more engaging to the reader. Additionally, MEA is also working on publishing a shorter-version of the HR handbook in hardcopy format, entitledEmployers’ Information Handbook, to be distributed to SMEs that has limited access to PCs.

MEA believes that this is an initiative which truly inspires potential entrepreneurs to keep on learning, and finding the right attitudes in improving their working relationship at the workplace. The more efficient, correct and balanced understanding atmosphere at the workplace, the more business owners will be in a position to better manage the commercial activity, safeguarding job-retention and engaging new employees with an entrepreneurial mindset.

The MEA HR Handbook, saw its inception 14 years ago, and it is an ongoing project. It has evolved from being just an online platform, to an initiative which can now reach a wider audience of people, particularly SMEs and to enhance their technical skills. In 2010, MEA issued the first hardcopy of the information booklet to accompany the online platform. In 2015, this booklet was updated and was further accompanied by a USB, to raise further awareness amongst entrepreneurs.

The HR Handbook includes nothing less than 28 chapters, amongst which one can find information about: Adoption Leave, Contracts of Employment, Disciplinary Action, Employing Disabled Persons, Employing Foreign Workers, Fixed Term Contracts, GDPR, Injury Leave, Maternity Leave, Organisation of Working Time, Overtime, Part Time Employment, Payment of Wages, Probation, Resignation and notice periods, Sick Leave, Substance Abuse at the Workplace, Telework, and Transfer of Business. Within these 28 chapters, one can find 383 FAQs related to different topics. Each chapter includes guidelines on how an enterprise should adopt the right policies which safeguard the retention of employment, and govern their business through optimal industrial relations.

In the near future, MEA intends to continue increasing the number of chapters by another 13to keep abreast with new developments at national and EU level, including: Employing persons beyond pensionable age, employing underage persons, Right to Disconnect, The Work Balance Directive, Employment and Mental Health, Equal Pay for work of equal value Legislation, Harassment and Applying for EU funds.

From statistics gathered from google analytics, it is estimated that in the last 5 years, 7827 visitors accessed this online tool. However, being that the tool is targeted for HR managers, managerial personnel and entrepreneurs, it could be considered that it is in fact reaching more people through a multiplier effect. This is assisting SMEs in enhancing the technical skills of their personnel and thus making them more knowledgable and competitive in the labour market.

Along the years, with particular emphasis on 2020-2021, MEA have seen an impressive increase in online traffic directed to this innovative online tool. With the outburst of the pandemic, businesses had more questions on conditions of work, health and safety issues, GDPR, etc. The traffic on this tool increased drastically. Nowadays, almost 85% of MEA’s members, the majority of them being SMEs, make use of this platform.

The MEA HR Handbook is the only local digital reliable source, from which an employer can retrieve the correct guidelines on how to manage HR. Through continuous and meticulous updates, headed by MEA’s Executive in EU & Legal Affairs, entrepreneurs are being kept at pace with employment related legislation developments and hence remain competitive and well-knowledgeable how to act, in each and every circumstance.

One can access this online handbook through: http://maltaemployers.com/hr-handbook/

A specific password is needed to have full access. This password will be given by MEA on request.