Covid19 – Can employees be forced to go back to the office?


COVID19 – Can employees be forced to go back to the office?

Most of the Covid restrictions have now been lifted.  And with that, many employers have started to request that employees return back to the workplace.


Whilst this was welcomed by many employees, there are some who may not yet feel comfortable to return back to the office.


What is the position at law?


Well, there is no legal provision which expressly regulates such matters in Malta.

Would an employee who is recalled to the office be able to resign and claim that he was constructively dismissed since this was done against his will?


This is quite a sensitive and unprecedented area.  Whilst we are not aware that this matter has yet been considered by the Industrial Tribunal, we believe that it is a question of time since we are regularly asked about such matters.


In weighing up the circumstances of each case, the following are all likely to be relevant:


  • Remote work and recall rights may be expressly regulated in employment contracts, although it is likely that those employment contracts that pre-dated Covid are silent on such issues.
  • Employers have a general duty of care to ensure the employees’ health and safety at all times.  This requires taking all reasonable steps to comply with all safety measures and to prove that any risks identified have been adequately mitigated.
  • Assessing whether the employee has any medical reason for not returning to work.


Employers should identify potential employee concerns and reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Ultimately, this will reduce the risk of conflicts and negative workplace culture.


For further information on Covid related matters, please get in touch with us.

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Dr. Mariella Baldacchino - Founder

Mariella graduated from the University of Malta with a doctorate in law in 2005. She completed a master’s degree in ‘European Private Law’ from the La Sapienza, University of Rome, and was admitted to the bar in Malta in 2006.

Mariella is a people person – and it is this attribute which has really characterised and shaped her career.

Over the years, she headed the legal departments of several corporate services firms. Due to her skillset, she was also entrusted with managing and overseeing operations and human resources, where she gained technical and practical experience in various corporate, commercial and employment matters.

Her practical hands-on experience and insight perfectly complement Mariella’s technical knowledge of employment law, thus placing her in an ideal position to understand and advise employers and employees alike on various matters that may arise at the workplace.
Mariella is passionate about employment law matters and provides her clients with the highest-quality legal service to achieve the best possible outcome and resolve any employment law related issues and concerns.

Dr. Bradley Gatt - Of Counsel

Bradley graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006. He advises clients on various corporate, commercial, employment and regulatory matters, with particular focus on company and financial services law.

He has assisted clients in various corporate and commercial matters by providing company law advice and assisting in the implementation of corporate finance, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and similar transactions.

Bradley has also advised and assisted investment funds, fund managers and other investment services providers, banks and financial institutions, on various legal and regulatory matters relating to the setting up, authorisation and ongoing conduct of their activities in Malta.

His practice also covers general employment law matters. Bradley’s experience in company and financial services law enables him to focus on various corporate and regulatory aspects of employment relationships. In particular, he advises organisations on the implementation of employee share option and participation schemes, the implications of business transfers on employment relationships, as well as relations with senior employees.

Dr. Karl Sammut - Of Counsel

Karl graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006.

Karl has gained considerable expertise in technology law and regularly assists clients in relation to intellectual property issues, commercial contracts and ways to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and privacy laws. Whilst such matters used to be only given incidental importance when dealing with employment matters, they are now widely acknowledged to be vital in all employment relationships. 

He is also regularly engaged by C-level executives to assist in negotiating employment contracts and settlement agreements.   

Karl advises across a multitude of industries including technology; marketing; adtech; financial services; gaming; esports; consumer products; and media and telecommunications.