Recent study by Economic Policy Institute MAS highlights limitations in Social Protection for workers in the OPT

News | 09 May 2023
As part of the ongoing dialogue towards the reactivation of the social security law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), and in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and the Palestine Economic Policy and Research Center (MAS), the ILO and MAS held a workshop to discuss the findings and recommendations of the ILO-funded study “Evaluation of Social Protection in OPT: End-of-service Indemnity, Paid Sick Leave, Insurance Against Employment Injury, and Paid Maternity Leave” produced by MAS.

The study explored the efficacy and accessibility of current employer liability provisions, under the current labour law, including end-of-service indemnity; employment injury; paid maternity leave; and paid sick leave. The assessment covered the extent of existing legal protections; effectiveness of access to labour protections; extent of awareness among workers regarding provisions of social security; and reform and areas of improvement with respect to social security law.

“This study provides evidence on how employers and workers view the current employer-liability system and the extent of adherence to the Labor Law, which is one of the pillars of the social protection system.” Noted by Raja Al-Khaldi, the Director-General of MAS.

Findings of the study indicate that employers' compliance varies according to the type of insurance. For end of service benefits, poor compliance prevails. Among workers who were previously employed in OPT (38% of total workers), only little over one-third (36%) did receive end-of-service indemnity. One-thirds of the workers did not receive this benefit in accordance with provisions of the labour law. Notably, among those who did not receive this end of service indemnity, the majority (about 92%) did not take any measure against their employers. Compliance is higher with regard to provisions for work-related injuries, paid sick leave and maternity leave allowances.

The workshop was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Labour, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the private sector, Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), the Medical Doctors Syndicate, in addition to academics, journalists and local CSO.

"The study stresses on the importance to move from benefits which are solely financed by employers, towards a collectively financed social security system for the private sector. This approach would enhance solidarity, encourage compliance of employers and ensure workers access to different social security benefits in line with international social security standards.” Says Frida Khan, ILO Representative in OPT.

“The Ministry is undertaking extensive efforts to reform relevant laws and improve the level of social protection, as well as raise the level of compliance with the provisions of laws, including the Labour Law seeing that a social security system will help to address the current shortcomings under the employer-liability provisions.” Buthaina Salem, Director of Legal Department at the Ministry of Labour.

In 2022, efforts to reactivate dialogue among stakeholders to review and amend the Social Security Law continued. During the course of the past year, work advanced with the support of the ILO to tripartite partners to redraft the social security law taking into consideration the different concerns raised between 2016-2018 when the Decree-law was suspended by the President, and in line with international social security and labour standards.

The ILO provided its legal and actuary support to inform the development of the revised draft including from a perspective of enhancing the good governance and improving comprehensiveness and sustainability of the system. These efforts have led to the finalization of a revised social security draft law, with green light from the Council of Ministers to start the extensive consultations phase on the revised draft law through a national dialogue. 

The national dialogue is set to start this month with wide range of stakeholders in different regions to present the key reforms to the law, obtain further feedback, and inform the wider public of the utility of social security to help manage social risks and economic crises. For more information on the national dialogue see:

This study, which was funded by the ILO, is part of ILO engagement in support of social security reforms and social protection to workers in the OPT’s private sector, and can accessed in both English and Arabic on MAS electronic website.