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Experts call for the development of appropriate insurance tools to cover digital platform workers with social security

Experts have called for the need to develop appropriate and effective insurance tools to cover workers working through digital platforms in social security and enjoy all insurance provided by the General Organization for Social Security (GOSS).

The experts said that unregulated employment in Jordan is constantly expanding in light of the inadequacy of the social protection system to include it in social security.

This came during a session held by the Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies with experts in the fields of labor markets and social protection to discuss how to include workers through digital platforms in the social security system.

Director of the Justice Center for Legal Aid, Hadeel Abdel Aziz, said that although digital platforms contribute to providing job opportunities for large sectors of unemployed young men and women looking for additional work, especially in light of high unemployment rates and low wages, some workers face many challenges, especially the lack of social protections (social security).

She explained that the digital platform sector is continuously expanding, which requires strengthening working conditions and ensuring its sustainability, as it has a positive impact on unemployment rates and the economy.

Ahmad Awad, director of Phenix Center, said that the number of workers in these platforms is very large, as nearly 25,000 workers work in food delivery platforms, while the number of workers in the seven licensed passenger transportation platforms reaches about 11,600 drivers, while the number of workers in home-based digital platforms such as translation, programming, design, and others is estimated at about 11,000 workers.

Awad believes that the lack of coverage of this large number of workers indicates a flaw in the social protection system, as about half of the labor force in Jordan is still not covered by social security, which requires the development of insurance tools that ensure their coverage in line with the nature of their work.

Awad pointed out that the Social Security Law does not allow self-employed workers to be covered by social security except through voluntary participation, which he said is expensive and none of them can afford.

Social insurance expert Musa al-Subaihi said that there is a need to issue a special system to include unorganized workers, including those working on digital platforms, under the social security umbrella, and that this system should take into account the nature of their work and the nature of their relations with the companies operating the platforms.

Al-Subaihi explained that the government’s regressive amendments to the Social Security Law over the past years, most recently last year, indicate that there are no signs of expanding social security coverage, despite the existing capabilities.

He also explained that the issue is not limited to the social security law but also the labor law, which does not recognize the rights of workers through digital platforms, considering them investors and not workers, which requires a comprehensive review of labor legislation towards protecting the rights of these workers and recognizing them.

Al-Subaihi called on the government to start holding dialogue and brainstorming sessions with the Social Security Institute, the Ministry of Labor, and experts, and to think about how to include all workers on digital platforms. Meanwhile, Hussam Al-Saadi, director of the Insurance Awareness Directorate at the General Organization for Social Security, said that the organization started two years ago to cover workers who have reference points, such as yellow taxi drivers and tourist guides, and that it will complete the coverage of the rest of the categories, including digital platform workers.

Al-Saadi explained that the Social Security Institute made amendments to Article 46 of the insurance coverage system, allowing self-employed workers in the sectors of agriculture, construction, transportation, tourism, public services, maintenance, technical fields, and media production to be covered by Social Security on a compulsory basis.

Al-Saadi pointed out that the Foundation always seeks, through its programs and meetings with the concerned authorities, to develop the social security system, with the aim of covering all workers in Jordan under the social Fidaa Al-Hamoud, former head of the Legislation and Opinion Bureau, said that social security coverage cannot be expanded through amendments to the Social Security Law alone. Rather, reforms must be made to the entire labor system, including both labor and social security laws, strengthening the role of trade unions in defending workers’ interests, and developing effective mechanisms to enforce legislation on the ground.

Participants in the session stressed the need to reduce the cost of social security contributions, especially the voluntary contribution, which constitutes a burden on unorganized workers, in addition to educating employers about their rights and the rights of their employees to be covered by the social security umbrella workers in national legislation and protecting them socially.

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