Opportunities for extending social security coverage in Jordan

New ILO report identifies challenges and opportunities in expanding social security coverage for workers in Jordan.

News | 11 February 2021
Amman, Jordan (ILO News) A new report issued by the International Labour Organization’s Office for Arab States, in collaboration with the Social Security Corporation (SSC) in Jordan, identifies key constraints to social security coverage in Jordan and outlines a range of policy approaches to support efforts to expand social security coverage in the country to all workers, including those in the informal economy.

Based on the 2018 Labour Force Survey, the report found that more than half of all workers in Jordan are not covered by social security. Based on an analysis of the characteristics of these informal workers, the report highlights that while globally, lack of access to social security is primarily associated with self-employment and daily wage labour, in Jordan, there are also a considerable share of employees in long-term employment arrangements who lack coverage.

Non-compliance and poor enforcement of regulations are among the contributing factors for lack of registration. These include uncovered workers in services, construction and manufacturing – sectors for which social security coverage is required by law.

Coverage gaps are highest among groups of non-Jordanian workers, but gaps in coverage are still considerable amongst Jordanian workers.

The report looks at the situation of agriculture workers as a case study for the expansion of coverage, where a combination of legislative, non-compliance and enforcement challenges exist. The sector is not well covered by the labour law, and as a result, has the highest number of uncovered workers at 97 per cent.

“The pandemic has been a clear awakening call in the region regarding the need to put in place comprehensive and inclusive social protection systems for all workers and their families. It has given visibility to social protection deficits of workers in the informal economy and in non-standard forms of employment, such as self-employed workers, part-time workers, contractors and platform workers. Providing these workers and their families access to adequate and more comprehensive social protection is both a social and economic imperative,” said Luca Pellerano, ILO Senior Social Protection Specialist. 

“The Social Security Corporation has been working to expand social security coverage of its workforce in the kingdom in line with the government’s agenda to formalize the informal economy. It has operationalized several social protection programs to support the immediate needs of its members and expand coverage to new members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also fast tracked the digitization of procedures within the corporation, including on registration, payment and other excellent electronic services that aim to providing excellent services to both members and firms,” said Dr. Hazim Rahahleh, SSC Director General.

The report generates evidence and policy options that the government can take to achieve its goal of expanding coverage. It outlines eleven policy approaches that can orient further necessary action to extend social security to uncovered workers. These include approaches to address legislative gaps; compliance and enforcement; and that introduce new methods for expanded coverage.

The report was developed under the framework of the Partnership for improving prospects for forcibly displaced persons and host communities (PROSPECTS) in Jordan, which is funded by the Government of the Netherlands. PROSPECTS is a global partnership that brings together the ILO, UNHCR, UNICEF, World Bank and IFC to support host communities and displaced populations in eight across East and North Africa and the Arab States. In Jordan, PROSPECTS aims to provide better conditions for refugees and host communities to access education and vocational training; secure and retain decent employment; and benefit from a strengthened protection framework.