The SSC hopes that maternity insurance and unemployment insurance, which will come into effect by next September, will help to empower women to increase their level of participation in the labor market within the private sector, and provide protection to laborers during the time they are temporarily unemployed and keep them under the protection of social security, respectively.
SSC spokesperson and Head of the Information Center Mr. Musa al-Subaihi said that the SSC will have maternity and unemployment insurance in effect starting from the 1st of September, 2011. These two insurances have been included in the temporary Social Security Law No. (7) for the year of 2010 to translate the approach of the SSC to extend its coverage and benefits to the insured.
During the press conference Mr. al-Subaihi stated that maternity insurance will contribute to providing protection to insured female workers, especially within the private sector. This shall encourage employers to maintain the hire of women and not dismiss their services in the event of marriage or approaching maternity leave given the importance of women's participation in the labor market.
This is while seeking to provide the appropriate protection for both, the woman and the employer to build a business relationship that upholds the rights and duties each party reserves towards the other. He also pointed out that this insurance will have a great impact in the coming years in raising the proportion of women's participation in the private sector and will encourage women to take up available work opportunities in this sector.
He also made a point of the low percentage of women's participation reflected in the labor market, namely in the private sector, as women constitute 14% of the labor force there. They however, constitute 37% of the public sector, which is an issue that requires all national institutions to endeavor to find a solution to in order to increase women's participation in this sector and to support their role in the growth of the national economy. In addition it should not be ignored that this is occurring despite the high degree of education that Jordanian women have achieved and also despite the recent surge in aptitude and technological advancement they enjoy.
He also stated that from a total of (132,000) retirement salaries that the SSC allocates (17,000) were for women. This is while noting that women make up 24% of the total number of subscribers. The low rate of female retirement recipients can be attributed to many of them opting for lump sum compensations and because of the low numbers of working women in the private sector.
Mr. al-Subaihi also affirmed that the coverage expansion project - which aims to include workers in small enterprises that employ less than five people - promotes and enhances the social and economic protection of working women. Particularly women employed in such establishments as tailor shops, beauty parlors, retail clothing shops, pharmacies, and basic administrative work such as secretaries at medical clinics, law offices, engineering firms and others. Including them under the social security umbrella, will contribute to enhancing protection for women working in these sectors.
In relation to that, he mentioned that monthly fees for this insurance were set at (0.75%) of all employee salaries and is to be paid solely by the employer. Also, enterprises and establishments will be exempted from paying occurred interests, penalties and additional payments resulting, as per Social Security Law, during the first six months from the date on which this regulation is in effect. He added that insured women shall be entitled to maternity leave for a maximum of (4) pregnancies starting from the beginning of subscription to maternity insurance. Stipulated that she continues to remain under coverage for 9 months prior to the time of her maternity leave. The insured is also required to provide an official birth certificate issued from the Civil Status and Passports Department procedurally. The insured would then be compensated with the equivalent of their wages for (10) weeks. That said, maternity insurance is only applicable to all insured women except those who are registered as voluntary subscribers and those who are employed by public, official and governmental institutions.
He went on to say that enterprises are required to inform SSC of their insured employee’s giving birth by completing the required official forms issued by the Council of Insurances provided that these forms are submitted within the first (70) days from the date of birth. Then, maternity leave compensation will be remunerated starting from the date of birth, as shown on the birth certificate. The insured may also take maternity leave (4) weeks prior to birth maximum and this period will be calculated as part of the maternity leave.
He indicated that maternity leave given to the insured is actually considered as a service period so it will be covered by Social Security Law under the stipulation that the subscription of old-age, disability and death insurances be deduced from the remunerated compensation during the maternity leave with a percentage of (5.5%). The period of maternity leave is counted as part of the required period to calculate any of the insured’s due insurance rights.
Mr. al-Subaihi affirmed that the insured female cannot receive her maternity leave remuneration as well as her salary and/or income from her profession at the same time. Similarly, if the insured receives her maternity leave compensation she is not allowed to request to receive her due lump sum compensation except if she continues to subscribe for a period of 12 subscriptions after the end of her maternity leave. That said, it should be noted that the female insured is entitled to receive her maternity leave compensation and at the same time still receive her permanent partial and/or full disability compensation. Furthermore, the female insured cannot combine receiving her maternity leave compensation and unemployment compensation at the same time. If both occur at the same time then the insured will be remunerated for her maternity leave. Nonetheless, maternity leave compensation will cease if the insured returns to her original work or if she participates in other work from which she earns an income during her maternity leave or if she passes away during her maternity leave.
Al-Subeihi assured that Social Security Law also protects the subscriber against dismissal or the ending of their services in the labor market through unemployment insurance which ensures the provision of a convenient income for the insured during his/her unemployment period till he/she finds a substitute job opportunity, this insurance is also considered as an investment and saving fund for the insured, since he/she shall be refunded all of his/her savings in this fund along with their investment revenues upon retirement.
He went on to say that the purpose of this insurance is to provide the insured with a source of income to cover basic living expenses, bring flexibility into the work market, and enable the unemployed to find suitable work opportunities. Additionally unemployment income shall positively reflect on national economic activity due to the continuity of income to the unemployed thus generating money into the market through the continuation of consumption and expenditure. This shall surely dampen the effects of economic changes.
He also stated that in order for the insured to be entitled to unemployment remuneration he/she should have a minimum of 36 actual subscriptions, other than voluntary subscriptions, prior to the due date of unemployment compensation entitlement, be of an age no less than (59) years, if the insured is a male, and age of (54), if the insured is a female. Also, he/she should be unemployed at the time unemployment compensation is remunerated, keen to work and search for it, and if the insured is an unemployed non-Jordanian national he/she should be a legal resident within the Kingdom of Jordan. Furthermore, monthly subscription of unemployment insurance will be (1.5%) of the worker's salary eligible for deduction and so the subscribed insured is responsible to pay (1%) of the salary while the employer is required to pay (0.5%) of that salary. This is applicable to all insured women except those who are registered as voluntary subscribers and those who are employed by public, official and governmental institutions and all enterprises and establishments will be exempted from paying occurred interests, penalties and additional payments resulting, as per the social security law, during the first six months from the date on which this regulation is in effect.
He explained that SSC will reimburse the unemployed insured, whose unemployment insurance contributions are less than (180) subscriptions, for three months, and six months if number of subscriptions are (180) or more. Unemployment compensation is calculated according to the latest salary subject to deduction at a rate of (75%) for the first month, and (65%) for the second month, and (55%) for the third month, and (45%) of each of the fourth, fifth, and sixth months. This is provided that net unemployment allowance does not exceed the limit of (500) Jordanian dinars per month. Nevertheless, this limit can be increased should there be an approval from the Council of Ministers and a recommendation of the SSC’s Board of Directors.
He indicated that periods of time for which the insured was remunerated for on the basis of unemployment shall be considered as an actual work - service period so he/she shall be covered by Social Security Law under the stipulation that the subscription of old-age, disability and death insurances be deduced from the salary, upon which remunerated compensation will be calculated for unemployment periods, with rate of (14.5%).
Al-Subaihi explicated that unemployment compensation is remunerated at the beginning of the month following the month during which the insured submitted his unemployment compensation application. This is while noting that the insured will not be remunerated for the month during which his employment was terminated. In addition, the insured will be entitled to unemployment remuneration for a maximum of three times during the period of which he/she is covered by the law provided that the number of his/her contributions, which he/she contributed, excluding contributions made during voluntary subscriptions, prior to his/her request for unemployment compensation, is not less than (36) actual subscriptions.
He added that all revenue generated from unemployment insurance is considered as a saving account for the insured whose rights will be reconciled from this fund when his/her old-age retirement pension, obligatory old-age retirement pension, or early retirement pension (which a person is entitled to upon reaching the age of 60, if a man, and the age of 55, if a woman), or full permanent natural disability pension, or natural death pension, or death due to work injury pension, or lump sum pension, are due. This process returns to the insured his/her balance accumulated in his/her savings account which consist of discontinuous contributions deduced from his/her salary, contributions made by his/her enterprise while adding to that savings account profits generated after investing them, then deducting from that the due occurring unemployment remunerations made to the insured as well as all expenditures occurring due to the management of this account.
He then disclosed that the number of new enterprises included under social security during the months of April and May in the governorates of Amman and Zarqa, which forms part of the coverage expansion project, is (8634) enterprises; consisting of (7370) enterprises alone in the governorate of Amman and (1264) enterprises in the governorate of Zarqa.
He also assured that the umbrella of protection and coverage of social security for the entire workforce will be completed within the current year through the launch of the final phase of this pioneering project in Amman and Zarqa governorates. The coverage expansion project included these two governorates at the beginning of last April targeting enterprises employing less than five workers. In relation to that, he stated that the number of new insured workers who have been included within social security within the two governorates is estimated to be (20,000) laborers.
Mr. al-Subaihi also praised employers who contacted SSC in order register their enterprises and in turn provide protection for their employees and protect their rights from the entirety of various social risks. The number of employers who started this initiative is estimated to be (3223) employers.
The corporation launched the first stage of its coverage expansion project on the 1st of November 2008, and launched the second stage in Irbid governorate beginning at Qasabet, Irbid on the 1st of November 2009, Al Ramtha provinces, Bani Obeid, Al Mazar Al Shamali and the northern Jordan Valley on the 1st of February 2010, and the provinces of Bani Kananah, Al Wasatyah and Al Kourah on the 1st of June 2010. The third stage took place in Ma’an governorate on the 1st of March 2010, and the fourth stage was launched in Al Karak, and Al Tafilah governorates on the 1st of May 2010, while the fifth stage was launched in Madaba on the 1st of June 2010. The sixth stage of the coverage expansion project was launched in Al Balaqa’a and Al Mafraq governorates starting on the 1st of October 2010, which was followed by the seventh stage in Jerash and Ajloun governorates on the 1st of December 2010. The eighth stage was launched in Amman and Zarqa governorates on the 1st of May 2011.
He also clarified that at this stage of the reinforcement of social protection, the SSC is targeting the inclusion of small business employees such as those working at stores, groceries, restaurants, trades, car maintenance workshops, pharmacies and in the retail clothing sector, etc. This is due to the fact that these widely differing categories are the ones most in need of pension wages and of social security protection. Their coverage shall enhance the protection of the groups that remain excluded and shall contribute towards achieving SSC's vision of comprehensive social security for all within a sustainable and proper framework of protection. He added that they are working at full capacity towards realizing the vision and directions of His Royal Highness to include all citizens beneath the social security umbrella. That said, the coverage expansion project of social security will contribute to expanding the middle class base whilst also protecting and empowering the poorer class within society.
Furthermore, he affirmed that the coverage expansion project will actively contribute to the stability of the labor market and will increase productivity for employers. It also protects workers by consolidating positive relations between employers and employees and increases an employee's sense of loyalty and solidarity. Furthermore, it reduces the worker turnover rate i.e. reducing the number of employees changing employers over short time intervals. Furthermore, it shall also reflect directly and positively on the availability of new employment opportunities, especially for small businesses. It will help the reduction of unemployment rates by encouraging Jordanian job seekers to seek opportunities within small businesses.
He also indicated that the coverage expansion project is considered one of the key areas of national efforts battling the culture of shame in workplaces. Especially considering, that this culture has contributed in recent times, to increasing unemployment rates and that it prevented the national labor force from engaging in specific professions. But currently social security is involved in providing indiscriminate protection to all kinds of workforces. Therefore, he urged employers who have not yet taken the initiative to register their enterprises and laborers with social security, to visit SSC branches in the governorates of Amman and Zarqa to register their enterprises and employees with social security. This will have a positive impact upon employees and their workers, and their sense of national responsibility and in turn they will avoid paying any future legal or financial penalties.
At the same time, he encouraged all laborers employed in small sized enterprises to become acquainted with their rights and privileges provided by their contribution to social security. In order to become acquainted with the details of their contribution to social security and familiar with their rights people can contact the call center on the free hotline 080 022 025 (within Jordan) and 06-500 8080 (within Jordan, internationally & mobile). They are assured that from the minute the laborer is covered under the social security umbrella; he/she is covered by old-age, disability, death, work injuries and occupational injuries insurances. The laborer may then benefit from the various protective insurances, and the pensions provided by these insurances.