Jordan Labor Watch again denounces the amendments of the Social Security Law, which will lead to the exclusion of certain categories of workers from Old Age Insurance. The new amendments will enable agriculture holdings to limit the insurance it provides its workers to merely Work Injury Insurance until 2024.
Jordan Labor Watch notes that human rights in Jordan must not be negatively impacted as a result of labor struggles between employers and laborers and that the Social Security Corporation’s role is to expand and strengthen social protections rather than weaken them.
The implementation of this law and the implementation of the amendments to the Social Security Law constitute an example of the social protection system guaranteed by international legislation and ratified by Jordan.
A position paper issued yesterday by the Jordan Labor Watch of the Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies examined this issue and reiterated its stance on the amendments to the Social Security Law, re-emphasizing that the amendments would mean a decline in social protections in Jordan.
The Social Security Corporation has introduced the new regulating bylaw, which allows for the exclusion of certain categories of workers from Old Age Insurance, in accordance with Article 4 of the Social Security Law in the latest amendment to the Social Security Law of 2019. Under this system, workers under the age of 28 working in the agricultural production sectors (for both plants and livestock) and the information technology sector are excluded from the coverage of Old Age Insurance, which is one of the most significant forms of social security guaranteed to workers by the Social Security Law. According to the Jordan Labor Watch, these regulations contradict the Jordanian government’s goal to increase young people’s integration into the labor market, with unemployment rates exceeding 50% for youth.
Jordan Labor Watch argues that the bylaw will make it lead young people under the age of 28 to informal employment, as they will lose at least five years’ worth of contributions to pensions against old age. We stress that this amendment will favor employers in certain economic sectors at the expense of providing workers with essential forms of social protection. This reflects the dangerous paradigm followed by the Jordanian Government, which abdicates its obligation and burdens workers in order to benefit the private sector.
Jordan Labor Watch calls on the Government to provide other forms of support to incentivize investors, such as the reduction of social security contributions in general and/or tax cuts on production inputs (special taxes, general sales tax, and income tax) as well as possibly reducing interest rates for loans granted for these investments.
Regarding the exclusion of agricultural workers from social insurance, Jordan Labor Watch warns that the amended Social Security Law, which allows holders of agricultural holdings to only cover their workers through insurance against work injuries until the beginning of 2024, will increase poverty and food insecurity, as it will expose workers and workers to risks. It will further threaten their economic and social conditions, as they will be unable to be insured against circumstances such as unemployment, sickness, disability and old age. While Jordan Labor Watch recognizes the urgent need to protect the agricultural sector, this must not be at the expense of the rights of agricultural workers. Labor rights violations against agricultural workers have been tolerated by successive governments despite the fact that agricultural workers play an essential role in achieving food security in Jordan.
Jordan Labor Watch calls for more sustainable and equitable social security benefit formulas for temporary workers in the agricultural sector in order to preserve the rights of both workers and employers. Various forms of support to the agricultural sector, workers, and employers must be granted, as agriculture is a strategically significant economic sector due to its close link to food security.
The position paper also recommends that the SSC take concrete measures to expand the coverage of social security to enable as many workers as possible who are not currently covered by social security to receive coverage. Approximately 48% of the total workforce in Jordan is excluded from social security protections.