Norway increases funds for boosting social security for vulnerable workers in Jordan

The new funding for the Estidama++ Fund in Jordan enhances the social security rights of vulnerable workers in the country by extending social security coverage.

Press release | 12 January 2023

ILO news- The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the International Labour Organization signed an additional grant agreement of NOK 40 million (approximately USD 4 million) to support the Estidama++ Fund for Extension of Coverage and Formalization for 2023. The new funding represents an increase in Norway's support to a total of NOK 85 million (approximately USD 8.9 million).

“Norway is pleased to provide renewed support to Estidama ++. The Covid-19 pandemic had a particularly strong impact on vulnerable groups in society. The emphasis on strengthening the situation of vulnerable workers through Estidama ++ is therefore particularly important.” said Norway’s Ambassador to Jordan Espen Lindbæck.

ILO Jordan Country Coordinator Frida Khan expressed her appreciation for the partnership between the ILO, Jordan’s Social Security Corporation (SSC) and the Government of Norway in piloting this unique model of expanding social security coverage to workers and sectors that remain uncovered.

"The expansion of social protection is an integral part of the ILO’s Decent Work Country Programme and the National Social Protection Strategy (2019-2025). Estidama ++ provides a model of extension of coverage, in line with international labour standards on social protection, that focuses on inclusion of vulnerable workers, including women, migrants and refugees.” Khan said.

Estidama++ is a multi-donor fund with contributions from the governments of Norway, the Netherlands and the U.K. It is managed by the SSC with technical support from the ILO under the framework of the agreement signed by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the ILO, and the SSC. The project aims to strengthen the situation of vulnerable workers in Jordan through extended social protection rights for workers, access to coverage rewards and contribution subsidies, and registration in the social security system.

"SSC is committed to partnering with the ILO and the international community in extending access to social security amongst the most vulnerable workers in Jordan. COVID-19 has brought to the floor the importance of covering the social protection gap in the informal economy. The Estidama++ fund is an innovative and unique intervention and places SSC at the forefront of this important agenda,” said SSC Director-General Mohammad Tarawaneh.

He stated that “In the coming years, SSC will seek avenues to enhance the sustainability and reach of interventions that can ensure access to social security to all workers, in all forms of employment."

Estidama++ was officially launched in June 2022, targeting unregistered informal workers, including women, who fall through social protection gaps. The fund promotes the registration of workers in two areas: wage workers in micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and self-employed workers in key sectors, including agriculture.

The Fund will support 13,000 workers, with a specific focus on women and Syrian refugees working in key sectors, to register in social security by offering short-term income support and contribution subsidies. The project fosters labour market integration and strengthens workers' access to social insurance benefits such as unemployment, maternity, and other core social security benefits.