BackgroundThe Government of Jordan has made significant efforts to extend social security as part of its medium-term development agenda. The pandemic has also created an opportunity to extend coverage to groups previously outside of social protection systems.
Despite this progress, the number of unregistered workers remains large, as the extension of social security coverage requires adaptation and innovation, given the persistency of informality as a structural feature of labour markets in Jordan.
Around half of all workers in Jordan were not registered with the SSC at the onset of the pandemic. Only a quarter of Jordanian female workers (and even fewer non-Jordanian female workers) are registered in social security, compared to three-quarters of all working Jordanian men. Lack of access to social protection is particularly concerning for non-Jordanian workers.
SummaryEstidama++ Fund was designed in alignment with international labour and social security standards and national strategies and frameworks for social protection to strengthen the resilience of informal workers and ensuring protection against lifecycle risks.
The project will support the development of systems, capacities, and the identification of approaches for the medium-term inclusion of vulnerable informal workers in social security.
In the long-term, the intervention will strengthen the over-arching policy, legal and regulatory frameworks to support the extension of coverage for inclusion of vulnerable workers in the social security system as well as broader reforms of the social security system to ensure comprehensiveness, adequacy, affordability, and sustainability for all workers.
The project will facilitate social security coverage by providing contribution subsidies and coverage reward to Jordanian and non-Jordanian, male and female, vulnerable informal workers, including refugees.
The Estidama++ fund is administered by Jordan’s Social Security Corporation (SSC) and is expected to reach 32,000 Jordanian and non-Jordanian workers, with a focus on women and refugees.
In addition, the project will develop targeted communication and outreach to ensure workers and employers understand the system and benefits they can access at different moments. This will increase the knowledge level of vulnerable workers and is expected to increase trust in social security, which is crucial as vulnerable workers are investing scarce current income in an institution that will provide support at a future time of critical need. Similarly, building knowledge and trust for employers is essential to address financial concerns associated with participation.
Research and Learning AgendaEstidama++’s contribution subsidy mechanism is an innovative model designed to address affordability constraints for workers with limited contributory capacity. A robust monitoring framework will ensure a feedback loop to inform programme development, enabling the Estidama++ approach to be trialled, evaluated, and adjusted continually. This learning is also complemented by research that seeks to improve the overall enabling environment for the Extension of Coverage agenda.
Estidama++’s Extension of Coverage research agenda encompasses four over-arching pillars:
(1) Increasing coverage: building upon ILO’s diagnostic work to map the prevalence of informality and understand upstream barriers in the legal/policy framework, this learning pillar will examine the relative impact of different downstream programmatic interventions to increase participation and review the global literature on contribution subsidies.
(2) Benefit attractiveness: as countries develop their social protection systems, they will progressively increase levels of protection provided (adequacy) and the life contingencies that are protected against (comprehensiveness). In the case of Jordan, unemployment, health and pensions continue to be focus areas where policy reform is necessary and can incentivize participation.
(3) Employer incentives: employers register their workers in social security to comply with mandatory legal requirements, but also considering benefits such as attracting and retaining skilled employees, improved employee well-being and productivity, and access to finance. This learning pillar will work on enhancing the comprehension of the benefits of social security participation for employers and explore the incentives that can be designed to increase participation.
(4) Sustainability: ILO undertakes a periodic actuarial valuation exercise to assess the sustainability of the social security system. This learning pillar will assess the fiscal space for the adoption of a national contribution subsidy program.
Inception Phase (December 2020 – May 2022)
During which the final design of Estidama++ is refined and validated by SSC and Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, in consultation with Ministry of Labour, social partners and other relevant stakeholders. A Technical Steering Committee and an Operational Committee will be formed and initiated functions as the main body of governance of the fund.
Implementation phases (June 2022- October 2025)
The project implementation phases adopt an iterative approach to design with distinct application windows and programme participation timeframes, incentivizing registration (through a coverage reward), as well as monthly contribution subsidies to informal workers. Each new phase will adopt learnings from the prior phases and the programme design will be adapted based on inputs from the monitoring and feedback mechanisms in place.
Project objectives:Overall objective:
Strengthen the situation of vulnerable workers in Jordan, through the extension of workers’ social protection rights, access to a coverage reward and contribution subsidies, and registration in the social security system.
Vulnerable male and female workers participate in a sustainable social security system, for the long-term.
• Output 1: Coverage reward and contribution subsidy mechanisms are in place and accessible to a larger number of vulnerable male and female workers, providing coverage incentive and enhancing resilience through the extension of social security coverage.
• Output 2: Regulatory framework, systems, and capacity for extension of SSC coverage as part of a broader formalization agenda strengthened, including development of a national model to subsidize contributions of vulnerable workers.
• Output 3: Vulnerable workers and their employers are engaged on labour and social protection rights, through establishment and increased use of outreach mechanisms and development of SSC outreach capacity.