ILO and Jordan renew agreement to join forces to promote Decent Work

Extension of the Decent Work Country Programme will govern ILO support to Jordan’s workers, employers and the Government until the end of 2017.

Press release | 27 January 2017
BEIRUT (ILO News) – The ILO Regional Office for Arab States and its tripartite partners in Jordan signed an extension of the Jordan Decent Work Country Programme to enable the continued delivery of ILO support to the country’s workers, employers and the Government until the end of 2017.

The extension of the Jordan Decent Work Country Programme 2012-2015 supports national initiatives to promote decent work and strengthen national capacity to mainstream decent work in social and economic policies.

Haitham Khasawneh, Deputy Secretary General for Technical Affairs at Ministry of Labour, signed the Programme extension on behalf of the Government at a ceremony on 26 January in the Jordanian capital Amman.

He said the extension would enable Jordan to implement a number of important intiatives.

“One of our priorities is now to review our Labour Code as developments have taken place over the past few years that require this law to be amended, mainly regarding the participation of women in the labour market,” Khasawneh said. “We will mostly focus on the flexibility of work to allow women to engage more fully in the labour market."

ILO Deputy Regional Director for Arab States Frank Hagemann said the signing ceremony was the culmination of many months of collaborative work.

"We have been working with our partners in Jordan to extend the Decent Work Programme, and have achieved a closer partnership with the government, workers and employers through this joint effort. This gives us an opportunity to jointly implement activities that push forward the Decent Work Agenda in the country," Hagemann said.

Adnan Abou Al Ragheb, President of the Jordan Chamber of Industry, signed on behalf of employers, and Haidar Rashid, General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions Secretary for External Affairs, signed on behalf of workers.

The ILO’s three priorities in Jordan under the Programme are: expanding decent work opportunities for young Jordanian women and men through the promotion of better working conditions, non-discrimination and equal rights at work; extending a minimum level of social security to the most vulnerable groups of society through the Social Protection Floor as part of a more comprehensive social security system in Jordan; and enhancing employment opportunities with a focus on youth employment.

The ILO is working with the Government of Jordan as well as workers' and employers' organizations to achieve these objectives by collaborating in areas including employment promotion, rights at work, social protection, social dialogue, pay equity, youth employment, labour inspection, child labour.

In recent years, the ILO has also responded to the Syria refugee crisis in Jordan, partly through strengthening the knowledge base on the impact of the crisis on Jordan’s labour market, enhancing institutional capacity and coordination to combat unacceptable forms of work, as well as improving access to employment opportunities and livelihoods among refugees and in host communities. The ILO is also working with the government and international agencies on ways of improving the identification, protection and referral of working Syrian refugee children.

Jordan has made significant progress in promoting decent work, boasting numerous success stories during the implementation of its last Decent Work Country Programme (2012–2015).

In the area of social dialogue, a sector-wide collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was extended to the garment sector, of which 80 per cent of all workers are migrant workers. The first CBA was signed in 2013 and renewed again in 2015.

In the area of social protection, Jordan introduced a new social security law in 2014. For the first time, this includes self-employed workers in the pension system and introduces unemployment insurance benefits and maternity insurance. Through this new law, Jordan has become the first country in the Middle East to boast a maternity insurance scheme that provides cash benefits. Jordan also ratified the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102), in 2014, also becoming the first country in the Middle East to have ratified this Convention.

In the area of child labour, the Government has extended the National Framework to Combat Child Labour (NFCL) 2011–2016 to all 12 governorates and passed a new Juvenile Law in 2014. For the first time, this new law legally identifies child labourers as children who need special protection. Jordan also ratified the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, becoming the first Arab country to do so.

The ILO launched its first Decent Work Country Programme in the Arab region in Jordan in 2006. Jordan was also selected as one of nine countries globally, and the only country in the Arab region, to pilot the Global Jobs Pact that was adopted by the International Labour Conference in June 2009. The Global Jobs Pact contains a portfolio of policies to promote jobs and protect people, based on the Decent Work agenda.

Since joining the ILO in 1956, Jordan has ratified 24 Conventions including seven out of eight fundamental Conventions.