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    05-Sep-2019

Petition calls for scrapping of SSC amendments

 

The Jordan Times

 

 
 
AMMAN — Executive Director of Tamkeen Centre, a civil society institution, Linda Alkalash, on Monday initiated a petition to be signed by anyone who wants certain amendments to the Social Security Corporation (SSC) by-law for 2019 to be scrapped. 
 
The petition came in light of the joint parliamentary session that will take place on Thursday to settle dispute over one amendment about including MPs and Senators in the SSC old-age, disability and death insurances, which the Lower House approved but the Upper House rejected in their separate sessions. 
 
"The petition focuses on the amendment that prevents those under the age of 28 in enterprises registered after the ratification of the amendments and with less than 25 employees, for five years, from joining the old-age or retirement insurance," Alkalash told The Jordan Times over the phone on Wednesday.
 
"This is unfair to them and some companies might close up after five years and open again under a different name to keep avoiding payment of this insurance for employees under the age of 28," she continued.
 
Under the amendments, the establishments will still commit to paying the contributions to disability and death insurances at a rate of 1 per cent of the insured's wages, subject to deductions, the workers would remain covered by remaining insurances applicable under the law and the provisions would all be automatically cancelled after the employees turn 28.
 
The petition said that this segment will be deprived of an important and basic part of social protection standards, which will also negatively affect their pensions.
 
It also highlighted how some companies might find loopholes to benefit from the amendment at the expense of their workers. 
 
The amendment that calls for including parliamentarians in the SSC insurance is referred to in the petition, saying: "The amendment constitutes a violation to Jordan’s legislations and to the Social Security Law itself as it specifically defines the categories that are included in it and the list does not include Members of Parliament."
 
Alkalash said that MPs and Senators are not considered employees and thus "do not receive salaries from the Civil Service Bureau", which means Parliament should not cover the expense of their SSC subscription.
 
"It should be noted in this regard that the current Social Security Law allows Members of Parliament to register under the umbrella of social security by paying 17.5 per cent of their salaries as their own contribution," the petition said.
 
The petition invites everyone to join in demanding that Parliament renounce these amendments, which they describe as a setback in promoting social protection.
 
Director of the Phonix Centre Ahmad Awad also told The Jordan Times on Wednesday that the centre signed the petition, adding that they "worked hard" together with partner civil institutions to prevent some of the amendments from taking place, because they “distort” the law and negatively impact social protection. 
 
Awad said that the government also wanted to cancel early retirement but they ended up making the early retirement age for men 55 instead of 50, and 52 instead of 45 for women, which the centre believes is not right.
 
Awad said that many early retirees choose that path because their salary is low and they wish to work somewhere else to start having the pension and another salary.
 
The centre called for increasing salaries and reviewing wage policies to encourage people to stay at work instead of choosing early retirement. 
 
Referring to the amendments allowing using some of the SSC money to open nurseries in the private sector, the director said it is "utilising the SSC money in an improper place, because the Labour Law, Article 72, stipulates that any company with employees who have over 15 children, the owners, should facilitate a nursery".
 
He added: "They could not impose this, so they are going to make the SSC spend money on nurseries, and that would be money paid for a purpose not aligned with the SSC's goals."
 
On Thursday, the joint parliamentary session is scheduled to focus mainly on the issue of including the MPs and Senators in SSC insurance, which the petition and the civil society institutions reject. 
 
 

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