Labour Inspection Structure and Organization

Name of institution that manages work issues

The Ministry of Labour (MOL) is responsible for administering employment and vocational training matters, labour migration, women affairs and labour affairs.

Department(s) responsible for Labour Inspection

The Directorate of Labour Affairs and Inspection within the Ministry of Labour has responsibility over labour inspection. There is another distinct labour inspection system operating in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone.

In the field of social security, enforcement is undertaken by the staff of the Social Security Corporation, which is a statutory body with a legal personality that enjoys financial and administrative independence. It is administered by a Board that is chaired by the Minister of Labour.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) also plays an enforcement role in relation to occupational health through its Directorate of Occupational Health, and regional health directorates, which have a large number of inspectors spread all over the country who perform OSH inspections as part of their public health responsibilities. The legislation of the MOH regulates living standards in workers’ dormitories, which the labour law does not.

Law that covers organization and functional composition

  • Act No. 8 of 1996 to promulgate the Labour Code, as amended up to 2010
  • Statute No. 30 of 2007, “Civil Service Statute”: Statute No. 30 of 2007
  • Regulation No. 56 of 1996, “The Regulation of Labour Inspectors”

Scope of labour inspection

Labour inspectors enforce labour laws, including laws on labour conditions, occupational safety and health, child labour and labour relations. They provide technical information, encourage cooperation between employers and workers and their respective representative organizations and collect information in relation to the labour market. In addition, labour inspectors verify that foreign workers hold work permits and they also monitor private employment agencies. Labour inspectors check living conditions of migrant workers and the accommodations of migrant workers in Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs).

The MOL conducts regular inspection campaigns, jointly with the Administration of Residence and Borders, which is part of the Public Security Directorate (police force), to detect illegally employed migrant workers, and impose sanctions on their employers.

Local divisions

There are 23 regional labour offices throughout the country, with labour inspectors operating in each of them.

Programming and communication

National annual labour inspection plans are prepared by the central Directorate of Labour Inspection, at the Headquarters, on the basis of national needs, periodic reports and feedback from the regional offices. These plans are sent to the regional inspectorates in the field for implementation, where they prepare regional plans accordingly and report to the Directorate of Labour Inspection on progress in implementation and activities achieved on a monthly basis. The data and information collected from the regional labour inspectorates within the governorates is included in a monthly labour inspection report submitted to the Secretary General of the Ministry of Labour. This report contains the central labour inspection activities and a summary of the monthly labour inspection reports received from the regional inspectorates. The Directorate of Labour Inspection plays an important role in providing technical guidance to the regional labour offices and there is regular collaboration between the HQ and the regional labour offices.

There is a set of Labour Inspection Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to help inspectors perform their work and standardize their activities. It includes mapping of all current and expected activities of the Labour Inspectorate and specifies the objective, timing, scope, procedures, responsible and authorized staff, assumptions and restrictions, tools and problem solving.

Collaboration between the MOH and the MOL on labour inspection and OSH issues is limited to the activities of the Quadruplet Technical Committee and the OSH Week.

Current reforms

The Labour Inspection Reform Project is contributing to enhance labour inspection effectiveness in Jordan. It was launched in 2006 as part of the MOL’s plan for improving labour standards in the country and is still operational. The main objective of the project is to promote LI services at the national level, in order to improving working and employment conditions and make them more favourable and attractive for the national job seekers, so that employment of Jordanians can be enhanced and unemployment among them can be reduced.

Human Resources and career development

Permanency of inspectors

Labour inspectors are public servants and enjoy stability in employment. They are initially appointed for a one-year probation period. As civil servants they are subject to annual performance reviews. If their performance is inadequate for two consecutive years, their employment can be terminated.

There is a set of labour inspectors recruited under the Labour Inspection Reform Project who are hired with fixed term contracts. They do not have guaranteed employment and the duration of their contracts can depend on, for example, whether or not a project under which they were hired is continued.

Selection process

Procedures for the recruitment of civil servants, in general, apply to labour inspectors. They are selected from the large pool of applicants applying to work in the civil service. They all undergo interviews by the selection committee, which includes members of the Ministry of Labour and the Civil Service Bureau. In some cases, they must write a test and are selected based on the results.

Background required

Labour inspectors must be university graduates, holding a Bachelor Degree at a minimum. University degrees from different backgrounds, such as law, economics, psychology, sociology, medicine and engineering, are accepted. Labour inspectors need to have participated in at least one training course and need to undergo six months of field training, following their recruitment, in order to obtain full authority of a labour inspector.

A National Training Center for Labour Inspectors was set up with the help of the ILO where extensive training is delivered. Training is provided on occupational safety and health, international labour standards, human rights, and on principles of inspection.

Visits and functions

Types of visits

Labour inspectors carry out three types of visits: routine visits to ensure that employers and workers abide by provisions of the labour law on working conditions and OSH; follow-up visits to ensure that employers have responded to the inspectors’ instruction and have corrected the situation within the deadlines specified by them; and special visits that come in response to complaints or occupational accidents, to investigate them, or to check their eligibility for inclusion on the Golden List (see below).

Labour inspection visits may be carried out individually, by a group of inspectors, in committees, with other institutions, or in the form of campaigns.

Role of preventive measures

The MOL celebrates National OSH Week every year during the first week of July. These activities include OSH awareness campaigns and programs throughout the country, including media programs, workshops, brochures and posters.

A toll free hotline service is available to provide advice to workers on their employment issues and on legal matters as well as other information needed to enable them to submit complaints and report labour law violations to the MOL.

In 2006, the government launched the “Golden List” project with a view to improving labour law compliance in the apparel sector due to its high rate of labour law violations. The “Golden List” is a code of conduct for employers, which sets out specific compliance criteria, of which the fulfillment grants the employer certain prerogatives, such as an exemption from bank guarantees normally needed by employers for the recruitment of foreign workers. When an employer applies for this designation, a labour inspection visit is carried out to check compliance with the criteria on the “Golden List”. The inspection report is submitted to the Golden List Committee, which reviews the report, checks the relevant documents, and decides whether or not to grant “Golden List” status to the applicant enterprise.

Planning of labour inspection visits

Labour inspection activities are mostly concentrated in the Qualifying Industrial Zones, where visits are frequent in comparison to other sectors, such as construction and domestic work. Apart from the QIZs, most of labour inspection resources and activities, especially in the joint campaigns, are devoted to the detection of undocumented migrant workers in order to deport them and/or impose sanctions on their employers. Labour inspection campaigns may target specific sectors, such as construction, services…etc, or geographical areas. Sometimes campaigns are organized to enhance the enforcement of specific provisions of the labour law, such as those related to wages, OSH, or working time, for example.

Enterprises that have applied to appear on the “Golden List” as well as enterprises that figure on the “Intensive Inspection Surveillance List” are subject to compulsory inspections.

Registries and reporting of accidents/diseases at work

Employers who have 20 or more employees must notify the MOL about work injuries and occupational diseases on a quarterly basis. All employers must report fatal and serious injuries within 48 hours of their occurrence. In reality, work-related injuries are under reported and occupational diseases are seldom reported to the MOL.

There is no database, neither for the enterprises under the purview of the MOL, nor for the enterprises that have been inspected in the past. The MOL started in 2011, with the technical support of the ILO, an automation process of labour inspection activities, the system of which has been completed and the relevant software developed. The use of the new system will lead to the establishment of a comprehensive labour inspection database for the inspected enterprises.

Sanction and administrative processes

Labour inspectors have judicial authority, which enables them to take legal actions such as initiating court proceedings. It is left to their discretion to warn employers in cases of violations, ordering the employers to remedy the situation within seven days upon receipt of a written notification. Inspectors may also impose fines, and the Minister may close down an establishment until an infraction has been remedied, or if a court decision is taken in this respect. In cases where an infraction poses a danger to the health of workers, the Minister may close down the place of work, totally or partially, or suspend the operation of any machinery, if the employer does not remedy the violation in the time required. Labour inspectors cannot issue such a decision themselves, but the Minister may act upon the labour inspector´s report and recommendations. The labour law also includes criminal sanctions up to a maximum prison sentence of 3 months, and administrative sanctions such as blacklisting, removal from the Golden List, or turning down requests for the use of migrant workers.

Social dialogue and labour inspection

The social partners are not involved in the process of design and formulation of the national labour inspection policy or in its implementation. There is a National Labour Committee which is a consultative council for labour issues, but labour inspection issues are not discussed in this forum.

ILO Conventions ratified

Jordan ratified ILO Conventions No. 81 in 1969 and has not ratified Convention No. 129.