DWRC holds a workshop on the Social Security Law no. 19 of the year 2016
04/02/2017, Ramallah - The Democracy and Worker’s Rights Center (DWRC) held a workshop on the social security law no. 19/2016 on January 30th in Ramallah. The workshop was attended by 32 union representatives from the South and Tubas Electricity Companies Employees’ Unions, the Kindergarten and Private Schools Workers’ Union, municipal employees’ unions in Yatta, Ithna and Al-Thahariyeh municipalities, the Private Health Sector Employees’ Union, Hadara IT Company Employees’ Union, the women entrepreneurs’ association employees’ union, PRCS Employees’ Union, Islamic Charitable Society Employees’ Union, New Unions Federation and the social workers’ union.
DWRC lawyer, Samah Farakhna, opened the workshop and provided detailed explanations about the most important benefits that will be covered by the Social Security Law, when implemented. These benefits include: old-age compulsory & optional insurances, maternity insurance and work injury insurance. She also introduced participants to the categories of workers covered by the law and those excluded.
Mr. Bilal Thawaba, a board member of the Social Security Institution, presented steps taken for the law’s adoption and its alignment with other legislations. He also mentioned that the mandatory application of the law should begin on November 30th 2018, and said: “it is likely that in coming months, we will start a trial period for applying the law to a particular category of employees, including those employed by large institutions”.
Mr. Thawaba also mentioned that a general director and some staff members were employed by the social security institution. He added that the legal department of the institution is working on preparing executive regulations, and that board members have carried out many visits to benefit from external experiences.
At the end of the workshop, a discussion took place and participants were able to receive answers about their concerns regarding the law. The most prominent concerns were related to severance pay, applicability of the law to municipal workers, its applicability to workers in the Israeli labor market. Participants also inquired about how employers, who do not pay their contributions to the social security funds, will be dealt with. Regarding this matter, Mr. Thawaba confirmed the existence of a team with the status of judicial officers that will monitor the implementation of the law. He also confirmed the existence of deterrent penalties against employers, who do not register workers with the social security institution or do not commit to paying their contributions.
This workshop is a part of “Empowering Palestinian workers and trade union members to defend their labor rights”, supported by the UNISON International Development Fund. As part of the project, 20 awareness meetings were implemented in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to raise awareness among workers about the Social Security Law and its dispositions. A comparison between the Palestinian Social Security Law and international standards and legislations was also provided in these meetings.