BEIRUT (ILO News) – An ILO tripartite workshop brought together high-level Iraqi officials to review the 126 articles of the country’s draft social insurance law, to reach agreement on policy recommendations and on the legal drafting of the different provisions, in preparation for the draft law’s submission to the Iraqi parliament for adoption.
The event was the final in a series of the workshops and meetings organized by the ILO to support the Government of Iraq in reforming its social security system, based on an ILO actuarial valuation, the legal assessment of the draft social security law, and international social security standards.
The event, held in the Lebanese capital Beirut from 6-9 December, brought together 26 high-level Iraqi officials, including the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Abdel Karim al-Janabi, legal experts from the public and private social security funds, representatives from Trade Union Federations, and employer and civil society representatives.
It built stakeholders’ capacities on social security policies, worldwide best practices, and international social security standards – in particular ILO Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102).
The new social insurance law, once adopted, will be of historic importance for Iraq, said Frank Hagemann, the ILO’s Deputy Regional Director for Arab States.
“It will be the first law to cover all workers in Iraq through merging the public and the private sector social security schemes into one unified national system,” Hagemann said at the close of the four-day workshop.
“The presence of government, social partner and civil society representatives in this activity confirms the political commitment of the government to building this system, and fosters the principle of national dialogue among constituents. It is also testimony to the long-standing close relations between the ILO and the government and social partners of Iraq,” Hagemann continued.
Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Abdul Karim al-Janabi said that the new law will bring about important changes in Iraq, once adopted.
"The new law will ensure equality between public and private sector workers regarding maternity leave and maternity benefits, and will reduce differences between the pensions of private and public sector workers,” He said in an interview with the International Labour Organization. “Besides pensions and maternity benefits, it will cover employment injury benefits as well as a number of social and cultural services, thereby contributing to the support of the private sector and the support of workers' rights."
Al-Janabi also thanked the ILO for the important role it plays in supporting Iraq and its government in the reform of the existing social security system, especially in the fields of actuarial techniques, drafting of social security legislation and the application of international labour standards.
ILO Senior Regional Social Security Specialist Ursula Kulke said developing the new social security law was of vital importance for Iraq.
“Social protection is crucial in reducing poverty and inequality, in improving human capital and productivity, and in supporting economic growth and jobs in line with international labour standards and best global practices,” Kulke said. “Indeed, social security responds to many of the challenges Iraq is currently facing – especially the increase in poverty among youth,” she continued.
Participants discussed and reviewed the Iraqi draft social insurance law and its 126 articles from their different perspectives, and formulated policy recommendations for the articles based on the consultations and discussions between the ILO and the stakeholders.
The workshop further served as a valuable platform for Iraqi government officials, social partners and other stakeholders to agree on the policy framework of the suggested new social security system and on the different provisions of the draft law. As such, it enhanced social dialogue among the different stakeholders.
The series of events was held as part of the ILO project “Extending social security coverage through the progressive establishment of a social protection floor in Iraq.”
For further information, please contact ILO Senior Regional Social Security Specialist Ursula Kulke at firstname.lastname@example.org, or ILO Programme Desk Officer for Iraq Rabia Jalloul at email@example.com.