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Phenix Center: Labor and social security laws apply to smart apps workers

The Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies confirmed that Jordanian labor legislation, especially the labor and social security laws, apply to workers in smart applications, as they work according to certain tasks and conditions imposed by the employing companies.

This came at a session held by the center on Wednesday in Amman to discuss the results of a study it prepared as part of a project managed by the American University in Cairo entitled “New Work, Data and Integration in the Digital Economy: A Middle East and North Africa Perspective, Jordan Case Study.”

During the session, experts in the field of labor demanded that all provisions of Jordanian labor legislation should be applied to these workers, even if they have some degree of autonomy during their work.

They pointed out that Jordanian labor legislation does not apply to self-employed workers, and considers them employers rather than workers, and therefore they work in an unregulated manner and are deprived of their labor and human rights.

The study, which was prepared by the center, aimed to shed light on the challenges facing workers on smart applications, whether they work in passenger and food transportation applications or in remote work applications, which are often from home.

Ahmad Awad, director of the Phenix Center, said that most workers in this sector are treated as employers rather than workers, even though they work according to specific tasks set by the companies that operate these applications.

Awad explained that this sector has provided and continues to provide thousands of job opportunities, especially among young men and women, but the working conditions are indecent and lack the rights stipulated in the labor a During the session, the Phenix Center presented the most important findings of the study, which showed that workers on these applications face many challenges in terms of difficulty in obtaining their dues and lack of social protection such as social security and health insurance, in addition to the absence of trade union umbrellas that represent them and defend their rights.

For his part, Hamada Abu Najma, director of the Workers’ House Center and legal expert, said that there is some independence enjoyed by these workers during their work, but at the same time they are obliged to perform certain tasks determined by the operating companies, which means that the status of a worker is available to them, and therefore they must enjoy all the rights stipulated in the labor law.

Abu Najma explained that international labor standards guarantee the rights of all self-employed workers, making it incumbent on the government to apply the provisions of the labor law to them.

Social insurance expert Moussa al-Subaihi said that the official bodies involved in these businesses assume that they are not responsible for providing a decent working environment for their workers, not to mention that there is no partnership between them to regulate this sector and social security laws.

Al-Subaihi explained that the Social Security Institute has not yet succeeded in covering self-employed workers under its umbrella, despite the obligation to cover them, noting that the percentage of workers in these businesses covered by social security does not exceed 3%.

Ali al-Sinjalawi, director of the Mafraq branch of the Social Security Department, said the issue lies in the lack of a comprehensive regulatory framework for this type of work that includes definitions for all parties (workers and employers).

Dana Shehadeh of the Ministry of Labor said that the Labor Law does not include a special definition of self-employed workers, so its provisions do not apply to them.

Shehadeh said there is a need to develop a joint plan between all parties involved in this sector in order to ensure that workers enjoy all the rights stipulated in Jordanian labor legislation.

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