Monday, 15 March 2021, 17:14
Last update: about 14 hours ago
15% of Customs officials have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, the Customs Department told The Malta Independent.
An anonymous complaint was sent to this newsroom highlighting that Customs Department management failed to secure vaccinations for its officials and as a result no customs officials have received a vaccine through the department. “The department only started collecting details of people willing to vaccinate two weeks ago. The only people already vaccinated are those working at Maltapost, through Maltapost and older officials through general population vaccination.”
The complaint read that these officials are on the frontline, screening passengers coming from the airport for example, conducting searches on ships etc. It also read that if officials have to go into quarantine, their pay is being docked, “since we are not entitled to a full pay of our allowances since our job can’t be done via teleworking.”
This newsroom sent questions to the Customs Department asking why Customs officials, including those at the MIA, at the port and those who conduct searches, haven’t started being vaccinated yet, when officials will begin getting vaccinated.
“Customs Officials are being vaccinated as per arrangement with the Health Authorities. The total amount of Customs employees stands just under 400, out of which 93% have accepted to be vaccinated. So far, 58 have received the first dose, which represents 15% of the workforce, some of which have also received the second dose, as well. Priority is being given to vulnerable persons. The rest will follow by age bracket. It is paramount to note that out of 26,478 positive cases in Malta, 24 were Customs employees (0.09%), of which one case only was transmitted at the place of work. This is an empirical evidence that the Customs Department is adhering to strict anti-Covid measures.”
This newsroom also asked the Customs Department whether it is true that if Customs officials need to quarantine their pay is docked. “Yes and no. If an employee is obliged to quarantine, according to the Health Authority’s instructions, and such employee may work remotely, no deductions are effected to his/her allowance. However, if an employee’s work does not permit to be conducted remotely, a pro-rata deduction is effected to the flexibility allowance, in terms of the Sectoral Agreement. No deductions are made to the basic salary, in any case.”