New York Times Feed

Jordan, March 7, 2020
Labour Ministry study urges increase in Kingdom’s daycares

AMMAN — A government study has recommended increasing the number of daycare centres connected to private and public sector institutions and improving childcare workers’ salaries to ensure better services for children in the Kingdom.

The study, titled “The effects of supporting and expanding institutional nurseries in the private and public sectors” was conducted by the Labour Ministry in cooperation with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The study aimed to show the impact of opening more daycare centres on children, employers, parents and female workers.

It also called for allocating a budget set by the government to increase the number of nurseries, or establishing a Child Care National Fund that will work to support the establishment of daycare centres.

Another recommendation in the study was to impose a condition within the public sector requiring new entities to include a nursery in their construction plans.

It also recommended offering financial incentives for these entities to establish nurseries.

The study suggested allocating JD22,000 as support for the private sector to establish daycare centres, and to fund training for workers and follow-up on the work of institutions, as well as contributing to the salaries of the workers for the first operational year.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has “worked extensively” on this issue since 2010 with the Ministry of Labour, the Social Security Corporation and the National Committee for Pay Equity as well as with SADAQA, one of the leading civil society organisations working on daycare facilities, ILO Gender Specialist Reem Aslan told The Jordan Times.

According to a recent ILO survey of maternity and paternity in the workplace, 58 per cent of the 185 countries and territories surveyed provide cash maternity benefits through national social security schemes, while in a quarter of surveyed countries, employers funded the benefits alone. In 16 per cent of countries, employers and social security systems share the cost of cash maternity benefits.

In the Middle East, reliance on social security for maternity leave benefits is the “lowest globally”, with 92 per cent of the funding for maternity leave benefits borne directly by employers through employer liability systems, according to the survey.

“We have been working on the file since 2011,” SADAQA Core Team Member Sahar Aloul told The Jordan Times, noting that the organisation has succeeded in its efforts to amend the Labour Law to become gender-sensitive.

Jordan has amended Article 72 of the Labour Law to ensure that no child of a working parent is left behind, as all children now, regardless of the size of the enterprise and the working parent’s gender, should have access to a daycare facility, according to Aloul.

She also highlighted SADAQA’s efforts in developing a national framework for workplace daycares in 2016 with the aim of making workplace daycares a public service.

The framework was developed in partnership with the Ministry of Labour, which is responsible for implementing Article 72 governing the establishment of workplace daycares, and the ILO, according to Aloul.

The framework addresses all the points mentioned in the government study, she said, adding that “it goes beyond, to cover the need for government support through tax incentives for employers, daycare owners and working parents”.

The framework also addresses the different daycare models that can be adopted by employers, each according to their sector needs, Aloul stated.

According to a recent ILO study, increasing women’s economic participation in Jordan, which stood at 13.3 per cent in 2015, could boost GDP by $8 billion a year.

Meanwhile, recent statements by SADAQA pointed to research confirming that daycare centres increase the number of women in the workforce.

Aslan noted that we are glad to see the increased interest of the Government of Jordan’s increased interest in offering daycare facilities for all children regardless of their place of residence and parents’ workplace, and providing mothers with maternity protection.

“This can ensure that parents of all young children can have a healthy work-life balance and help reduce any type of career interruptions, especially for working women,” Aslan said.

jordantimes