Jordan and ILO sign agreement to support the extension of social security coverage and promote formalization

The project will help extend social protection to Jordanian and non-Jordanian workers, including refugees, by subsidizing contributions and providing income support to promote their participation in the national social security system.

Press release | 24 May 2022

Amman, Jordan (ILO News) 24 May 2022

The Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC), the Social Security Corporation (SSC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) signed on Tuesday, 24th of May, an agreement for the implementation of a new initiative titled Estidama++ Fund - Extension of Coverage and Formalization. The project will promote formalization in the most vulnerable sectors in the Jordanian economy by providing income support and subsidizing contributions of Jordanian and non-Jordanian workers, including refugees, so to promote their registration and participation in the SSC.

The agreement was signed by H.E. the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Mr. Nasser Shraideh, ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Arab States Dr. Ruba Jaradat, and SSC Director General Dr. Hazim Rahahleh, in the presence of H.E the Minister of Labour Mr. Nayef Stetieh, H.E. the ambassador of the Netherlands Mr Harry Verweij, ILO Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships Mr. Moussa Oumarou, and the Chargée d’Affairs at the Norwegian Embassy in Amman Ms. Rita Sandberg. Both the Netherlands and Norway fund this programme.

During the official ceremony, Minister of Planning Mr. Shraideh expressed sincere appreciation for the partnership with the ILO for implementing projects in priority sectors such as education, employment and training and agriculture.

“We would like to thank Norway and the Netherlands for supporting Jordan in addressing the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges facing the economy.” Mr. Shraideh added.

The Minister of Labor Mr. Stetiyeh, said that Estidama++ provides an opportunity to support workers in MSMEs (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises) and other key sectors such as agriculture and transportation. He added that such initiatives support the recovery of the national economy from the shocks of the pandemic, expressing his appreciation for the efforts of the ILO, the governments of the Netherlands and Norway for their support.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, SSC and ILO have been working to identify gaps in social protection programmes and develop solutions that address informal workers' short-term needs and longer-term vulnerabilities.” said Dr. Jaradat, ILO Regional Director for Arab States.

She added: “we are pleased that based on our strong partnership with the Government of Jordan and SSC, we will now be able to address some of the social protection gaps and guarantee a more comprehensive and inclusive social security coverage in Jordan.”

Estidama++ complements the Government’s existing Estidama programme and follows the successful initiatives of the SSC during the COVID-19 response that led a significant number of workers and enterprises to join the social security system.

"The project builds on SSC's ongoing strategic programmes to extend social security to all workers in the Kingdom, support the sustainability of the private sector, and strengthen the national economy. Estidama++ is an opportunity to support new sectors and informal workers such as agricultural workers, tour guides, taxi drivers, and self-employed workers," said Dr. Rahahleh, SSC Director General.
The fund will be managed by the Social Security Corporation (SSC), with technical support from the ILO. Financial support will be provided by the Kingdom of Norway and the Kingdom of The Netherlands, while other international partners are also considering their participation.
“Estidama++, which the Netherlands funds through the global PROSPECTS partnership, will provide income support to 13,000 vulnerable informal workers, both Jordanians and non-Jordanians, including refugees. The project supports the workers in joining social security schemes to help protect their income in times of need – ultimately strengthening Jordan’s economic resilience and social protection,” said H.E. Harry Verweij, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jordan.

“Support to economic recovery and retention of jobs is an important priority for Norway in Jordan. We are therefore very pleased to announce our support for Estidama ++ as the extension of social security coverage to vulnerable informal workers will support formalization of jobs, and a more sustainable social protection system.” said Ms. Rita Sandberg, the Chargée d’Affairs at the Norwegian Embassy in Amman.

Estidama ++ will provide short-term support to vulnerable workers to enrol in SSC while also supporting the development of systems, capacities, and medium-term approaches for sustainable extension of social security coverage. A partnership between UNHCR and ILO will be key to ensure outreach to refugees across the country.

The project will support the implementation of recently approved regulatory framework regarding mandatory coverage in social security of self-employed and agriculture sector workers. The first phase of implementation will have a duration of 18 months and it is estimated to benefit 13,000 workers in key sectors.