DWRC holds a workshop to discuss the social security law
Ramallah, 29/10/2018 - The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine presented its comments based on the review of the Social Security Law No. 19 for the year 2016, during a workshop in Ramallah attended by 31 female and male representatives of trade unions, civil society organizations and human rights activists.
During the workshop, participants discussed opaque and contradictory articles of the law that may be interpreted in more than one way, which leads to confusion. One of the main issues that were discussed concerns the payment of severance pay to workers for the years prior to their inclusion in the social security system. Although the Supreme Constitutional Court issued a decision (no. 7/2018) that stipulates the payment of one month’s wage per year of employment as severance pay, this decision did not include specific mechanisms for the Ministry of Labor to supervise and implement settlements between workers and employers. Therefore, DWRC believes that the settlements should be made through written agreements, and compensations should be paid in a period that does not exceed one year. In case these compensations are invested by employers, the employer should pay a percentage of the profits arising their investment to the workers or transfer them to company shares when this is possible.
In the opening of the workshop, DWRC’s general director, Hasan Barghouthi, welcomed the existence of a social security law, while affirming the need to advocate for the improvement and modification of some dispositions of the law. He compared the Palestinian law with existing laws in some other countries, and provided an analysis of workers and employers’ fears concerning the law’s implementation. In this respect, he noted that the Social Security Corporation did not raise workers’ awareness about the law in a sufficient manner.
Adv. Samah Farakhneh presented the most important comments on the social security law elaborated by DWRC, including the lack of issuance of all required regulations. In his response, Mr. Abdul Hakem A’layan, a member of the Board of Directors of the Social Security Corporation, said that “Twenty-two regulations are ready and will be published in the coming days”.
Regarding the matter of a competent court to deal with social security disputes, which has not been established yet, Adv. Shukri Al Aboudi said that “There is an urgent need to expedite the establishment of such a court or the assignment of judges with competence, and this requires extensive training in this field and external expertise".
Other issues in the law that were discussed included the existence of a confusion in the mechanism for calculating permanent partial disability of insured workers following a work injury. The problem faced by female and male workers, who do not obtain the minimum wage and yet have to pay contributions according to the minimum wage, was also raised.
At the end of the workshop, participants submitted recommendations that include speeding up the process of publishing the executive regulations of the law, the need for the Social Security Corporation to increase workers’ awareness about the law, the formation of committees by workers’ representatives that include experts to discuss the prevailing issues in the law, and the need to speed up the formation of the competent court for handling disputes arising from the social security law implementation.