ILO and UK sign MOU to support social protection in Jordan

The new partnership supports the ILO technical assistance to the implementation of Estidama++ fund aiming at extending social security coverage to vulnerable workers

Press release | 27 February 2023
ILO News - The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Government of the United Kingdom signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support social protection by extending social security coverage to Jordanian and non-Jordanian vulnerable workers. The partnership supports the ILO technical assistance to implement Estidama++ Fund-Extension of Coverage and Formalization, which is managed by Jordan’s Social Security Corporation (SSC).

“The UK is proud to partner with the ILO in Jordan and sign an MoU of £300K for 2023 to provide technical assistance to the Social Security Corporation (SSC) Estidama++ fund, alongside the Governments of Netherlands and Norway. This technical assistance will provide oversight, monitoring and capacity building to the SSC to extend social security coverage to vulnerable informal workers in Jordan,” said Angela Spilsbury, development director at the British Embassy in Amman.

“This technical assistance is part of the UK’s five year £65million flagship social protection programme, Strengthening Societal and Economic Resilience in Jordan (SSERJ). SSERJ will support the Government of Jordan to build inclusive and sustainable safety net systems and implement the National Social Protection Strategy that protects the most vulnerable people in society, leading to enhanced resilience,” she added.

The Estidama++ fund is a multi-donor fund with contributions from the governments of the Netherlands, Norway and the UK to support the Government of Jordan’s efforts in the area of social protection, including the COVID-19 response led by SSC programmes and initiatives which encouraged a significate number of workers and enterprises to join the social security system.

“The COVID-19 crisis revealed the significant social protection coverage gaps for many workers, especially those in the informal economy, placing social protection on top of national efforts,” said Luca Pellerano, ILO senior social protection specialist. “We appreciate the partnership with the UK alongside the governments of the Netherlands and Norway to foster greater resilience and advance social justice and inclusion.”

The project promotes formalization in the most vulnerable sectors in the Jordanian economy by providing coverage rewards and subsidizing social security contributions of Jordanian and non-Jordanian workers, including refugees, to promote their registration and participation in SSC.

The Social Security Corporation (SSC) manages Estidama++ fund 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 UK government pledged direct financial support to SSC of £7 million for 2022 and 2023, under the framework of an agreement signed between the Governments of Jordan and the UK to strengthen the social protection in Jordan.

“We would like to welcome the partnership with the UK government, which expands the pool of funds together with the Netherlands and Norway to support a more inclusive social security coverage. Through our longstanding partnership with ILO, the Estidama++ Fund will promote the registration of the most vulnerable uncovered workers, eventually ensuring their inclusion into long-term social security schemes under the SSC,” said SSC Director-General Mohammad Tarawaneh.

Estidama++ was officially launched in June 2022, targeting unregistered informal workers, 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 vulnerable workers, with a specific focus on women and Syrian refugees working in key sectors, to register in social security by offering phased contribution subsidies and contribution rewards.

The project fosters labour market integration and strengthens workers' access to social insurance benefits such as unemployment, maternity, and other core social security benefits.