Members of Parliament, Government officials and ILO intensify efforts to strengthen social protection and labour rights in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

With the support of the European Union, officials held a consultation on the draft Labour Law and the draft Social Security Law, followed by a training on social security governance aimed at strengthening capacities of relevant authorities in the field of social security.

Press release | 14 September 2022
Dohuk, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (ILO News) The ILO held a series of activities this week in Dohuk with senior Members of Parliament and government representatives as part of on-going efforts to strengthen social protection and labour rights for workers in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

A two-day consultative workshop took place to discuss the draft Labour Law and Social Security Law of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the importance of their enactment in promoting a decent work environment in the region.

The event was attended by senior representatives, including the Speaker of the Kurdistan Region Parliament Dr. Rewaz Faeq, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Ms. Zakia Sayed Salih, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Ms. Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano and ILO Country Coordinator for Iraq Dr. Maha Kattaa.

“The Labour Law is extremely significant as it covers a large segment of society, and regulates workers’ rights and that of their employers,” said Deputy Minister Ms. Salih. “The ILO is conducting this workshop between the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and Members of Parliament to discuss this law ahead of the first discussion in Parliament.”

Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano stressed the importance of endorsing the Labour and Social Security Laws, saying “they are the backbone of the social structure that will help improve labour rights for more and better decent work.”

With the support of the European Union, the ILO has been working with its tripartite constituents - government, employer, and worker representatives – as well as parliamentarians, to review the draft retirement and social security law, currently in parliament. Key improvements under the draft law include extending coverage to workers in the informal sector, self-employed, and business owners. It also introduces new benefits to all workers in the private sector, both formal and informal, such as those related to maternity and unemployment.

The Labour Law regulates the employment relationships, contracts, working conditions and entitlements of workers in the private sector. The ILO is providing technical support in the review of the Labour Law to ensure the law meets international standards and best practices.

“Strengthening social protection and labour governance are key priorities of the Decent Work Country Programme which was signed by ILO and its constituents and which is the ILO’s main vehicle in implementing its decent work agenda,” said ILO Country Coordinator Dr. Kattaa. “This week’s workshops have been paramount in moving forward with efforts to extend legal protection and guarantees for workers and to improve the business environment in KRI”.

In parallel to legislative reform, the ILO is working with partners to build the capacities of relevant authorities in the implementation of these laws and allow for a more efficient delivery of employment-related services, namely those related to social security.

The two-day consultative workshop was followed by a technical training for KRI Members of Parliament and government representatives on social security governance.

“The sessions on social security governance are timely as they will help us identify some of the administrative issues related to the implementation of the new Social Security Law,” said Mr. Bijar Khalid, the Legal Committee Chairman of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament. “We welcome this very timely initiative by the ILO during this important stage.”

Conducted in collaboration with ILO’s International Training Centre (ITC-ILO), the two-day training covered a range of topics. These included concepts and principles related to social protection; financing of social protection; governance of social protection institutions; actuarial valuation; strategic planning, risk management and service standards; and technology and human capital.