The Malta Budget 2024 included a number of Social Measures.
COLA and Minimum Wage
- The COLA increase for 2024 will amount to €12.81 per week. An additional COLA supplement introduced last year will be extended and will vary between €100 to €1,500 annually depending on household income.
- As from the coming year, the minimum wage shall increase by €12 to reach a minimum of €18 per week by 2027. This excludes the statutory COLA increase.
- Pensioners will receive an increase in their pensions of €15 per week, which increment also includes the COLA. Moreover, the Minister explained that a mechanism shall be introduced in the method of pension calculation for pensioners who were born before 1962. This mechanism should ensure that such a category of pensioners will earn an additional pension if their current salary had they been still working, would exceed the maximum pension possible.
- Pensions earned by pensioners over the age of 61 and pensions earned by widows who have reached 61 years of age will not be taxable.
- The Minister noted that persons who reached the age of 61 and opt to keep on working will be entitled to increases in their eventual pension which would depend on the year they retire. These increase range between 6.5% should they retire after 1 year to 29% should they retire at the age of 65.
- A bonus of €1 per week to pensioners who retired from work in 2009 or after, as well as the payment of a special bonus to certain categories of pensioners, who retired prior to reaching pensionable age was announced.
- Bonuses payable to persons who had not paid enough social security contributions to earn a pension shall be increased from €450 to €500 for individuals who would have paid between 1 year to 4 years in social security contributions. For those who would have paid 5 years to 9 years in social security contributions, the increase will go up from €550 to €600.
Other Social Measures
- Unemployment benefits shall be reformed so that beneficiaries will receive 60% of their previous salary for the first six weeks, then 55% for 10 weeks and 50% for the final 10 weeks. The unemployment benefit will be capped at 175% of the minimum wage.
- An increase in the children’s allowance of €250 per child per year was also announced as well as a special allowance of €500 per child given to parents whose children are attending post-secondary education on a full-time basis and continue to reside with their parents.
- It was also mentioned that the Carer at Home scheme shall be extended to €8,000 per annum. Moreover, the tax credit to parents having children with disabilities and who need to incur qualifying therapy costs shall be extended to €500 from the current €200.
- The Minister also announced that tax refunds ranging between €60 to €140 shall be again issued.
- The In-Work Benefit Measure shall be extended. Individuals working in the catering and accommodation sectors shall be receiving in-work benefit of €150 per year.