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Memo signed for implementation of workplace daycares

Labour Ministry, local NGO SADAQA aim to move towards better care for children of female employees

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Nov 18,2017 - Last updated at Nov 18,2017

AMMAN — The Ministry of Labour on Wednesday renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SADAQA, a non-profit organisation advocating for a better working environment for women in Jordan, with the aim of implementing the National Framework for Workplace Daycares. 

The national framework was developed by the NGO in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), building on Article 72 of the Jordanian Labour Law, which requires companies that employ 20 or more women to provide daycares for children of female employees.

SADAQA co-founder Randa Naffa told The Jordan Times that the framework “facilitates and expedites the licensing process of daycares through a one-stop-shop registration window, and it offers more than one model of workplace daycares, as well as incentives and support for employers who abide by the law”.

“It also includes skills development for caregivers and awareness raising for employers and working families on the importance of the value of daycares,” Naffa added. 

“The MoU is an important step forward in ensuring that workplace daycares become a public a good, both accessible and affordable to offer services to working families at large across Jordan,” the co-founder continued. 

In a statement released by SADAQA, Head of the Women’s Work Directorate at the Ministry of Labour Layla Shobaki noted that the organisation “is one of the leading civil society organisations in the field of women’s economic empowerment, and we are proud of renewing our cooperation with them through this memorandum which was first signed in 2014, to further enhance women’s economic participation in the labour market”. 

Earlier this year, experts and parliamentarians discussed the adoption of different models for workplace daycare centres during a session organised by SADAQA and the ILO under the title “The Proposed National Framework for Workplace Daycares”.

The event, which aimed to be an advocacy platform to encourage the government to adopt the national framework, was attended by local NGOs representatives, union members and representatives from the private sector. 

During the session, Senior Gender Specialist at ILO Emanuela Pozzan emphasised the importance of the care economy and its social and economic impact, quoting a UN study showing that, when countries invested 2 per cent of their GDP in the care economy, employment increased by 4 to 7 per cent. 

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.

Furthermore, the study showed that, in order to ease implementation of accessible and effective workplace daycare solutions, daycare services must become a public good, suggesting the creation of a public-private partnership whereby the government would offer incentives for the provision of daycare services to the private sector

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 to a brief period due to the barriers posed by the lack of daycare, access to transportation and pay inequity. 

SADAQA was launched as a campaign in 2011, and registered as a non-profit organisation a year later. It works to mobilise a wide range of activists to advocate for a work-friendly environment in compliance with Article 72 of the Labour Law, with the aim of increasing women’s economic participation in Jordan.

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