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Coalition formed to lobby for daycare centres at workplaces

By Rana Husseini - Feb 12,2018 - Last updated at Feb 12,2018

AMMAN — The civil society in Jordan has formed Article 72 Coalition to lobby the deputies for amendments in the Labour Law that guarantees the establishment of daycare centres for their employees and their families in various entities in Jordan.

The Labour Law is set to be discussed this week by the Lower House Labour Committee.

The idea behind the coalition is to ensure “equality and justice in the labour market by ensuring daycare centres for families regardless of the size of the company,” said coalition member Reem Aslan.

“In the past, our demands were for female workers, but we decided to expand it to the entire family with children so that business owners will not be discouraged to hire women,” Aslan explained. 

Previous demands by SADAQA Organisation and other local civil society entities included requiring companies with over 20 female employees to provide daycare for their children. 

SADAQA NGO along with Jordan’s National Committee on Pay Equity and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched the coalition along with other organisations to push for changes in the Labour Law in favour of increasing the number of crèches at companies, said SADAQA Core Team Member Sahar Aloul.

“We met with the deputies at the Labour Committee and they promised to look into our demands,” Aloul told The Jordan Times.

Aloul said the new suggestion by the coalition is to ensure that business owners prepare a proper place for employees who collectively have a minimum of 15 children aged four years and eight months.

The new amendments will also open the door for more than one entity to collaborate together to open a joint daycare as long as it is within a certain geographical area, according to Aloul.

“The idea is to encourage small- and medium-sized enterprises to establish daycares for their employees,” Aloul said.

Meanwhile, Aloul said if the new amendments are approved by the Lower House’s Labour Committee and adopted by the Parliament “it will help increase the number of women in the labour market and ensure job stability for these women”.

Jordan was ranked 142 out of 144 countries in women’s labour force participation at the Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum 2017, alerting that most women in the Kingdom do not enter the job market or pull out for a brief period due to the barriers posed by the lack of daycares, access to transportation and pay inequity. 

 In September last year, SADAQA released a study in which it described the unemployment rates among Jordanian women as “horrifying”, stating that around 45 per cent of women who leave the labour market in Jordan do so due to a lack of childcare while at work.

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

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