Minister of Labour and ILO officials discuss designing a pension system for Lebanon and reforming the labour law

Minister Camille Abousleiman meets with ILO delegation to explore means of reforming social protection and reforming the labour law in Lebanon.

Press release | 06 March 2019
BEIRUT (ILO News) – Minister of Labour Camille Abousleiman met with an ILO delegation headed by Deputy Regional Director for Arab States Frank Hagemann on 6 March to further discuss reforming the existing end-of-service indemnity into a pension system.

The ILO also offered technical support in modernizing Lebanon’s labour law by insuring it is in line with labour market needs and with international labour standards.

Following the meeting, Minister Abousleiman said he regretted that Lebanon is the only country in the region, and one of the 16 countries out of 179 countries worldwide, which has not yet established a pension scheme that would provide periodic benefits for workers in the private sector in case of old-age, disability and death.

He also thanked the ILO for its work in Lebanon, and stressed that the cooperation between the Ministry of Labour and the ILO is in the interests of Lebanon and the Lebanese and the promotion of rights in the country. The Minister of Labour also said that developing a pension system in Lebanon and reforming the labour law are high on the list of the new government’s priorities.

The meeting follows on from roundtable discussions held last month at which the Minister was present. Officials and representatives from Ministry of Labour, the National Social Security Fund, and General Confederation of Lebanese Workers, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists and the ILO met from 19-21 February to present and discuss the results of the ILO’s draft actuarial valuation of Lebanon’s private sector pension scheme reforms, and its draft legal assessment of the proposed social security law.

The subject of developing a pension scheme was also discussed by the Minister Abousleiman and ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat during a meeting held on 15 February, and in a meeting between the ILO and the Parliamentary Committee for Public Health, Labour and Social Affairs on 21st of February.

The Lebanese Social Security Law of 1963 provisionally established an end-of-service indemnity (EOI) scheme which is still in force today. This scheme provides a lump sum benefit at retirement.

A robust pension system in the country would provide economic security for Lebanon’s population during old age, and in cases of disability and the death of the breadwinner, and protect Lebanese citizens from falling into poverty and destitution in old age and at times of hardship.

“Following requests from the Ministry of Labour, the National Social Security Fund, and General Confederation of Lebanese Workers, we are here today to further our joint work to develop a pension scheme that ensures long-term income security of Lebanese workers,” said ILO Deputy Regional Director for Arab States Frank Hagemann.

“The ILO remains committed to supporting national efforts to reform the social security system so it can provide adequate protection to all Lebanese working men and women in old age and at times of need, and to ultimately move towards a comprehensive social protection system in Lebanon,” Hagemann said.

The roundtable discussions in February provided an opportunity for the ILO and national partners to discuss the findings of the draft valuation and legal assessment and collect the feedback of the participants in order to finalize the draft report. The final report will be launched with government, worker and employer partners.

Both workers and employers have stressed the importance of ensuring pension reforms in Lebanon are aligned with internationally agreed social protection standards enshrined in the ILO Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention (No. 102).