ILO: Jordan’s maternity protection regulation key step forward

Newly-endorsed regulation seeks to empower and retain working mothers in labour force

Press release | 23 October 2020
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has welcomed the Jordanian government’s endorsement of Regulation No. (93) of 2020 on Social Protection for Maternity, which aims to empower and retain working mothers in the labour force.

The new regulation, issued under the Social Security Law No. (1) of 2014, provides working mothers with cash benefits, to enable them to return to work while securing childcare for their children either at a childcare facility or at home. It also allows for registered childcare centres to receive direct cash benefits to cover operational costs.

The regulation is a significant step forward in protecting women’s rights in Jordan, and falls in line with international labour standard instruments, particularly Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention, 1981 (No. 156), Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183), and Maternity Protection Recommendation, 2000 (No. 191).

“The ILO commends Jordan for having one of the best maternity protection systems in the region in 2020,” said the ILO’s Deputy Regional Director for Arab States Frank Hagemann.

With the support of the ILO, Jordan’s Social Security Corporation (SSC) took a positive step in 2014 by introducing maternity insurance to provide paid maternity leave for working mothers.

“Jordan has taken another very important step in the right direction by endorsing maternity social protection legislation. The SSC will thus be able to support working mothers after childbirth by helping them pay for childcare services. This will enable more women to return to work after childbirth,” added Hagemann.

According to the latest SSC data, around 1.25 million active male and female workers – or nearly half of Jordan’s labour force - are registered with the SSC.

Of the approximately 390,000 SSC-registered women, 32 per cent work in the public sector and are therefore not eligible for maternity insurance benefits, while the remaining women are eligible to receive these benefits, an assessment report shows.

The report has called for a maternity protection system in Jordan, emphasising that such protection is essential for safeguarding the nutritional needs, health, and wellbeing of mothers and their children.

Maternity protection is also key to achieving gender equality at work by protecting working mothers’ jobs and wages, while at the same time alleviating poverty and advancing decent work.

Globally, women workers have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing the risk of losing much of the modest progress made on gender equality in recent decades, and exacerbating work-related gender inequalities.

During the ongoing pandemic, it is crucial that working mothers receive childcare support, particularly given that many of them are frontline workers in the healthcare and education sectors.