December 10 2022 1:01 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Tamkeen demand review of proposed amendments to Social Security Law

Tamkeen for Legal Aid and Human Rights on Monday demanded to review proposed amendments to the Social Security Law drawn up by the Social Security Corporation (SSC). (Photo: SSC)
AMMAN — Following the Social Security Corporation’s (SSC) announcement of a set of amendments to its laws, Tamkeen for Legal Aid and Human Rights launched a campaign Monday to demand to review them, as well as the reasons behind them, and called on the SSC to open a dialogue on the amendments.اضافة اعلان

A couple of months ago, Hazem Al-Rahhaleh, director general of the SSC, announced amendments to the Social Security Law. 

These amendments include raising the early retirement age. The early retirement age is 50 for subscribers who have paid JD252 in monthly contributions to the SSC. Also proposed in the amendments is increasing the period that SSC subscribers over 45 or 50 years of age can benefit from unemployment insurance from three months to a year.

Also in the proposed amendments is reducing social security contributions for new entrants to the labor market, and those under 30 years of age, and who have worked for a period of 10 years. SSC contribution rates would be reduced to 13.5 percent instead of 21.75 percent, with 9.25 percent paid by the employer, and 4.25 percent paid by the subscriber.

Sherine Mazen, from the Social Protection Observatory, told Jordan News that they carried out this campaign shortly after hearing about the draft amendments. “We had some comments on these amendments. This campaign will work throughout the coming period through video, real stories, and the observations of experts in the field, who will talk about the amendments, their justification, and how all this will affect workers,” Mazen said.

She added that from Tamkeen’s point of view, there are three observations. The first observation is about the early retirement age. The second observation concerns the health insurance system, which is independent of the Social Security Law, but falls within the framework of the law’s amendments. 

The final observation concerns the reduction of social security subscription rates for those under 30 years of age or new entrants to the labor market.
According to a paper issued by Tamkeen, it called for the abolition of early retirement from the insurance law, and to make radical reforms to the legislation in order to ensure job opportunities for older individuals, especially since the unemployment rates in Jordan are high and job opportunities are few. 

It said the absence of protection for workers will lead to the termination of many workers’ contracts before they reach the mandatory retirement age. Tamkeen said that reducing social security contributions for a certain group may push some employers to terminate the services of workers on whom the decision does not apply. It feared this would result in high unemployment rates for those over 30.

Regarding the approval of the health insurance system in exchange for raising SSC contributions paid by subscribers from 21.75 percent to 24.25 percent for those without health insurance, and to 22.75 percent for those with health insurance, Tamkeen said that funding for this from the government may be at the expense of budgetary healthcare allocations, which may harm public healthcare services in the country. 

Tamkeen said the decision also raises the potential for SSC contributions to become too high for subscribers to afford, which would reduce their income and purchasing power, and may also push them towards evading SSC subscriptions.

“Ten days ago we had a dialogue session with the SSC with the aim of exchanging views on this matter. There will be another dialogue session that we have not set yet, and of course there will be a number of meetings with them,” Mazen said.

In response to Tamkeen’s concerns, Mohammad Odeh, assistant director general of the SSC told Jordan News: “All the reasons for the amendments have been made public, and we presented them in all our meetings and in front of all the local communities. We have already provided four justifications: sustainability, strengthening the financial sustainability of institutions, motivating and enhancing social protection, and addressing some imbalances,” 

As for the possibility of negotiating and changing these amendments, Odeh said: “We are certainly conducting a series of dialogue sessions with various parties. We have held these sessions so far in Amman, Karak, Aqaba, Maan, Irbid, Zarqa, and other governorates, as well as at several universities.
“We listened to all points of view and studied them. If we find what requires amendment, we will take it directly into consideration and strive to implement it.”

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