For immediate release
The National Committee for Women’s Employment adopts recommendations regarding the labor law
Ramallah 15/01/2018 – The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine(DWRC), in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and the National Committee for Women’s Employment (NCWE), organized a workshop on Wednesday January 10th, 2018, in Ramallah on “Issues related to the labor law implementation regarding working women and their rights, and gaps from a gender perspective”. The workshop was attended by representatives of ministries, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, non-governmental organizations and associations working in this field, and organized through the project “Enhancing Rights and Freedoms of Palestinian Workers”, which is funded by the European Union, and implemented by DWRC in partnership with the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development (PWWSD) and COSPE.
The workshop was opened by DWRC General Director, Hasan Al-Barghouthi, who stressed the need to discuss public policies regarding labor, in terms of equality of opportunities, legal dispositions related to women, and the situation of women in the labor market. He also highlighted the importance of this workshop in view of the circumstances faced by Palestinian citizens, and the need to defend them and enable them to obtain all their rights.
In turn, Deputy Minister of Labor, Samer Salameh, stressed the supervisory role of the ministry, and the fact that many establishments were closed for violating the labor law. He said that "The problem is not with the legislation itself, because the laws cover many aspects, but in their implementation.” On the subject of difficulties faced by women in the labor market, Salameh spoke about the need to adopt a methodology for developing and amending the labor law to ensure a decent life for Palestinian women, who are real partners in the field, at work and at home.
Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Bassam al-Khatib, said: "The time has come for real professional work, reflected on the ground, and to direct the compass in favor of women to achieve real representation", adding: “The government and competent parties should work to develop mechanisms and steps to serve male and female workers in the labor market”. Khatib praised the role of Palestinian women, and expressed the need to change stereotypes, and focus on the labor sector in general, and the services sector in particular, as the most marginalized sector.
For her part, the head of the Gender Unit at the Ministry of Labor and the Rapporteur of the National Committee for Women’s Employment, Iman Assaf, spoke about the importance of reaching a high level of participation, of giving high importance to women's issues, and reviewing issues related to gender and women's rights in the Palestinian labor law, such as discrimination, maternity protection, equality, equal opportunities, family responsibilities and gender-based violence.
In the first session, the director of labor statistics at the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Ms. Suha Kan’an, reviewed statistics on the situation of women in the Palestinian labor market, whereas members of the NCWE spoke about main violations that they monitored through studies and research, and legal assistance.
The head of the Gender Unit at the Ministry of Agriculture, Iman Jarrar, presented data regarding the agricultural sector, and work conditions and circumstances, and reviewed the findings of a study that showed the difficulties in applying the labor law to employers, due to the fact that the agricultural sector is an informal sector.
Mr. Mamoun Al-Odeh, from the General Directorate for Inspection and Labor Protection, provided examples of violations of rights concerning women, which they monitored, such as cases related to wages, and explained the difficulties faced during the inspection process in stopping these violations, adding that there is a lack of deterrent penalties for employers.
Adv. Samah Farakhneh from DWRC presented main violations of working women’s rights monitored through the legal cases and consultations provided by the Center, then the floor was opened for discussion and recommendations.
During the second session, Ms. Iman Assaf gave an overview of international conventions related to women’s rights and gender equality, highlighting gaps in the Palestinian labor law in light of these conventions. Then, Ms. Carine Abu Hmeid from DWRC, presented a series of recommendations and proposals for amending the labor law from a gender perspective, which were debated by the audience during a general discussion.
The representative of the General Union of Palestinian Women, Khitam Sarafin, concluded the workshop by presenting the main recommendations adopted by participants, such as amending penalties for infractions to render them more severe, intensifying awareness of rights, expanding the law’s scope of application to provide protection to unpaid women workers, developing the legal framework related to the prohibition of discrimination and legal dispositions for providing facilities to workers with family responsibilities, and the inclusion of specific dispositions to protect female and male workers from violence in the workplace, including gender-based violence.