Experts call for more oversight of gender-based labor violations

The Social Protection Observatory by Tamkeen Association for Legal Aid and Human Rights recently launched a campaign to tackle discrimination against women in the workplace. (Photo: Freepik)
AMMAN — Globally, women earn less than men, and the gender pay gap is estimated at 23 percent globally, according to the UN. اضافة اعلان

As a result, Jordanian legal experts are urging entities such as the Ministry of Labor to provide more supervision to help diminish the gap in the Kingdom.

Gender equality and women empowerment have been continuously declining due to persistent unequal historical and structural issues such as poverty, inequality, and deprivation of access to resources and opportunities, limiting women and girls’ access to opportunity. 

While equal pay for men and women has been widely championed, its implementation in practice has been complex, causing slow progress in narrowing this gap.

Local legal experts and specialists in fields that relate to women empowerment are urging various entities to intensify supervision and inspection of the Jordanian labor market to control violations of labor rights that occur, especially those related to gender discrimination and wages. 

The Social Protection Observatory by Tamkeen Association for Legal Aid and Human Rights launched a campaign for the International Day of Decent Work, which focuses on the discrimination faced by working women in Jordan compared to men. 

One of the points of concern the campaign cites is the low number of women participating in social security, which sits at around 27.7 percent, compared to men, whose participation sits at 72.3 percent.

Another concern they focus on is violations, such as withholding teachers’ wages, deductions from their salaries despite proof of working regularly and a full number of hours (eight working hours), long working hours, and assigning female teachers to work that violates what is stipulated in the work contract, such as secretarial and accounting work.

Mazen Maaytah, president of the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions, told Jordan News that “we have no specific figures of those organizations that have breaches regarding wages, but generally such breaches occur in sectors like public service and private education, in particular.” 

“Unregulated sectors are usually unfair regarding their employees’ wages, where men get a higher salary than women even though they both work hard. Women may even work harder,” he said. 

Maaytah added that “a working woman has the right to receive equal wages to men for jobs, especially when the value of the work and the effort expended is equal.”

In terms of supervision, Maaytah stated: “The Ministry of Labor is responsible for intensifying supervision over these organizations, and that means that some organizations may keep on doing that if not being supervised by governmental entities.”

He added: “That is why we always call on them to intensify supervision over them because what they are doing is absolutely wrong and illegal.” 
A source from the Social Security Corporation (SSC), who declined to be named, told Jordan News that “our programs are for everyone — women and men — across all segments of society. We encourage them to participate, but some of them do not want to.”

“We do not have any kind of discrimination, and we aim to help everyone and provide them with social security, but in the end, we cannot force them to participate,” the source said.

The source contended that people should enroll in social security, stressing that it is important when people get older and retire. 

Lamees Sulaiman, a public defender, told Jordan News that “all employees have the right to be enrolled under the social security umbrella, regardless if they are women or men.”

“If a woman is not allowed to participate in social security by her employer, she has the right to complain. It is a basic right for everyone,” Sulaiman underlined. 

When it comes to labor violations against women, Maaytah emphasized that according to the law, such organizations may be fined JD500 if found doing so. The fine is doubled for repeat offenders. “It is not a joke; it is a violation that the law criminalizes.”

He added, in reference to the widening wage gap between men and women, that trade union federation works with concerned parties to “promote gender equality in labor rights, the most important of which is the issue of wages, in addition to addressing the causes that increase the gender gap and finding appropriate solutions to it.” 

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