Equal pay through digital payments in Jordan

Jordan pledges to promote pay equity between women and men through digital payment of salaries.

Article | 01 October 2018
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder and Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Mary Kawar. © ILO
NEW YORK (ILO) – Jordan reaffirmed its commitment to end pay inequity between women and men at the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) Pledging event held during the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 26 September.

Jordan was the only country from the Arab region to be represented at this global coalition of leaders in promoting pay equity. Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Mary Kawar joined global leaders from governments, private sector companies, trade unions and civil society, pledging to take concrete action towards closing the gender pay gap by 2030. She pledged to ensure the digital payment of salaries for employees in the health sector in Jordan, a sector where women’s employment is high and the gender pay gap stands at over 30 percent.

This pledge follows from the success the government of Jordan has seen in adopting digital payments in the private education sector. Digital payment mechanisms ensure transparency and openness in how women and men are remunerated. They prevent practices which were common such as under-payment of wages, forcing teachers - mostly women - to resign before the summer holidays and therefore avoiding payment of wages over the vacations. Such discrimination and interruptions impact women’s social security enrolment and their pension eligibility and amount upon retirement. The demand for and commitment to digital payments is encapsulated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the first of its kind, established between the sectoral employers’ organisation and trade union, along with other labour rights such as minimum wages and paid holidays.

This support to the government of Jordan was extended under the project Pay Equity and Childcare in Jordan, implemented with funding from the Government of Norway, as part of their commitment to promote gender equality in the workplace. The project received overall guidance from The National Committee for Pay Equity (NCPE) established on 25 July 2011. THE NCPE is co-chaired by the Secretary Generals of the Ministry of Labour and the Jordanian National Commission for Women and supported technically and financially by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Its membership includes representatives from governments, employer and worker organizations, civil society organizations, legislators, and the media.

The project, implemented in partnership with the Civil Society Organizations AHEL and SADAQA, has helped develop leadership amongst teachers, leading to the Stand-up With Teachers campaign which has helped raise awareness about gender discrimination in the education sector and established a complaints mechanism.

The project has also supported stakeholders who have reviewed labour laws and prepared a set of gender-responsive amendments covering paternity leave, childcare provision and pay equity. The amendments have been passed by the parliamentary labour committee responsible, and are now awaiting approval from the government.

It has also promoted a national framework for the provision of childcare and strengthened the capacity of childcare providers with trained personnel and quality assurance material. The project secured Jordan’s selection and membership in the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) as the first Arab country to join the coalition.

The government of Jordan is now interested in extending the good practices and experiences from the education sector to the health sector.