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Unpaid wages top list of complaints to Labour Ministry

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Oct 09,2023 - Last updated at Oct 09,2023

The Labour Ministry’s inspection teams visited 19,757 facilities between January and August 2023, according to its most recent inspection report (Petra file photo)

AMMAN — The Ministry of Labour received 3,449 complaints related to unpaid wages, during the first eight months of 2023, according to its most recent inspection report. 

The report, which covers the period between January and August 2023, showed that the ministry’s inspection teams visited 19,757 facilities. 

It also revealed that the overall number of complaints received through the Himaya (protection) platform during the same period, totalled 9,124. 

The report further stated that 3,309 of these complaints do not fall within the purview of the Ministry of Labour. Out of the remaining 5,815 complaints, 4,566 were settled with employers and violations were written up for 944 complaints, while 305 are still under processing. 

The most common complaints recorded in the report, aside from unpaid wages, include the termination of employment with an indefinite contract, a verbal contract or no contract (829), suspension (567), and objections to a legal measure taken by the institution (479).

There were also 453 complaints concerning employers refusing to give a certificate of expertise, 389 complaints related to the termination of employment with a fixed-term contract, 387 complaints by domestic workers, and 321 complaints regarding overtime pay. 

The Jordan Times spoke with the spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour Mohammed Zyoud, who explained the procedures involved in dealing with filed complaints. 

He said that the ministry reaches out to both the worker who filed the complaint and their employer in order to verify its validity. Inspectors then try to amicably resolve the matter. If the employer is non-compliant, a fine or penalty will follow, and the matter will be referred to court. 

Article (53) of the Jordanian Labour Law No. 8 of 1996 states that an employer who pays a worker below the minimum wage or discriminates in wages based on gender shall receive a fine that is no less than JD500 and no more than JD1,000, for each offence. 

The law also obliges the employer to pay the worker the wage difference, and it states that the penalty shall be doubled every time the offense is repeated.

According to Article (46) of the same law, remuneration shall be paid within no later than seven days after its due date.

Zyoud noted that the penalties outlined in Article (53) also apply to cases of unpaid or delayed wages. 

He also pointed out that not all complaints can be resolved with complete anonymity. For example, it would not be possible to resolve a complaint related to an employer refusing to give one employee a certificate of expertise, without revealing the identity of the person who filed it, Zyoud explained. 

Hamada Abu Nijmeh, a lawyer and researcher in labour affairs, views that 19,757 visits are not enough compared to the number of institutions in Jordan. 

“This is likely due to the small number of labour inspectors, limiting the ministry’s capacity to cover a larger number of institutions and conduct more visits,” he told The Jordan Times. 

Abu Nijmeh suggested leveraging technological tools to increase the capacity and efficiency of labour inspectors in monitoring reported violations and ensuring compliance with labour laws.


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