Jordan Decent Work Country Programme 2012-2015

 Full Report - PDF File  النسخة العربية

Executive Summary

·   Jordan was the first country in the Arab region to sign a Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) in 2006, and it has been active with the International Labor Organization (ILO) since

·   The tripartite stakeholders for the DWCP include the Government, organizations representing workers and employers, and the ILO

·   The DWCP includes three priorities:

o   To expand decent work opportunities for young Jordanians by improving working conditions and enforcing non-discrimination and equal rights at the workplace

o   To extend a minimum level of social security to the most vulnerable groups in society through the social protection floor

o   To enhance employment opportunities, especially those for youth

·   Cross-cutting issues that will be addressed through the priorities include social dialogue, international labor standards, and gender equality

Key Findings

Country Context

·   Economic growth in Jordan has historically failed to create a sufficient number of quality jobs. When jobs are created, 63% of all new jobs are taken by migrant workers as they are low-status and low-skilled jobs, while 180,000 Jordanians remain unemployed. Most migrant workers come from Egypt, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines

·   Labor force participation in Jordan is low, with only 40% of the working age population in the work force and only 14% of working age women in the workforce. Unemployment for youth is also exceptionally high (27%), which is double the overall employment rate in the country

·   Every year, there are 60,000 new entrants to the labor market. Jordanians prefer public sector employment, but the government can only create approximately 10,000 jobs per year

·   After adjusting monthly wages for differences in hours worked, men earn an average of 7% more than women

·   Jordan has bound itself by 23 international labor conventions, and it has created tripartite social dialogue platforms (such as the establishment of the Economic and Social Council and the official endorsement of the National Tripartite Labor Committee), which often remain weak and inactive

·   Freedom of association, employment, and decent work opportunities have played a large role in unrest in Jordan with more than 500 labor-related protests since 2011

o   Common labor-related demands include higher salaries, freedom of association, and the creation of more jobs. As a result of popular protests in 2011, the minimum wage was increased from JOD 110 to JOD 190 per month. However, the minimum wage increase does not apply to migrant workers or laborers in Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs)

o   There are real restrictions on freedom of association and social dialogue in Jordan, such as the prohibition on organization of public sector workers and on non-Jordanians establishing trade unions. Permissible trade unions have to be registered with the government. As a result of these regulations, most labor agreements are conducted at the enterprise level, and less than 1% of collective agreements are conducted at the sector level

Lessons Learned

·   DWCP efforts are most effective when the ILO coordinates efforts by calling on other UN agencies to lead to an integrated Program outcome

·   Efforts under the Program should benefit from knowledge-sharing and coherence. Quality assurance on new project proposals for Jordan is a key example of such coherence

·   Program tasks should be more thoroughly supervised and monitored to identify and manage risks

·   Capacity building should focus on institutions in order to achieve multiplier effects on efforts

Recommended Actions and Initiatives

The recommendations below provide only a summary of the comprehensive recommendations provided by the report. Specifically, the report contains detailed further actions for the objectives under each priority and identifies the appropriate performance indicators, outputs, and stakeholders.


Priority 1: Create and improve work opportunities for youth

·   Create an enabling environment for the elimination of residual child labor by creating policy interventions and implementing the National Framework on Child Labor (NFCL)

·   Strengthen compliance with international labor standards with regard to fundamental rights for migrant workers and vulnerable groups. To this end, working conditions in the QIZs should be improved and labor inspections should be strengthened by modernization efforts and sector-specific guidelines

·   Increase institutional capacity and mechanisms for social dialogue, collective bargaining, and policy making

·   Apply Conventions, Principles, and Rights on Non-Discrimination, especially for women and people living with HIV/AIDS

Priority 2: Extend social security protection

·   Strengthen and enhance social security offerings to provide maternity and unemployment cash benefits

·   Establish a social protection floor (SPF) by educating policymakers on the feasibility of establishing a SPF in Jordan and the associated costs and benefits

Priority 3: Enhance employment opportunities

·   Enact employment promotion strategies for young men and women that impart entrepreneurial skills and that correct the mismatch between education supply and labor market demand. These efforts can be informed by conducting a work-to-school transition survey

·   Strengthen coherence among employment policies by building the Ministry of Labor’s capacity to implement, monitor, and evaluate different labor initiatives


Report Name



Jordan Decent Work Country Programme 2012-2015

March 2012



Supporting Donor

International Labor Organization

International Labor Organization


Lead Ministry


Ministry of Labor

Key Topics

Female employment – Freedom of association – Gender equality – International labor conventions – Labor market demand – Public and Private sector employment – Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZs) – Migrant workers – Non-discrimination – Social Protection – Trade unions – Unemployment – Youth employment


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