07 Apr

AMMAN — The Ministry of Labor received 7,744 complaints regarding unpaid wages in 2021, head of the ministry’s Central Inspection Directorate Haitham Al-Najdawi said.

There are several reasons wages were not paid, he told Jordan News, “but one of the most prominent is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the difficult economic conditions that resulted from it”.

The number of complaints, he said, “vary from month to month because of many factors. For example, the number increased during the last months of the year due to the termination of contracts at the end of each year”.

However, Najdawi said that complaints tend to follow the same rhythm: “The number of complaints that were received in January this year were almost similar to those that were received in the same month of last year.”

Najdawi mentioned the Hemaya platform, which gives the employee the opportunity to submit a complaint in complete secrecy.

“The ministry receives the complaint directly, then it transfers it to the inspector concerned who reviews it and pays a visit to the institution, to be sure of its validation. If the complaint is valid, the institution is penalized financially and follow-up is carried out with the complainant,” he added.

The Central Inspection Directorate at the Ministry of Labor received 18,125 complaints related to salaries in the first 11 months of last year.

According to official statistics made available Jordan News, 141 people complained about being forced to submit leave without pay, and 980 complained about being forced to resign.

The directorate also received 1,154 objections to legal action by an institution, and 164 claims regarding annual leave allowance.

No complaints or observations were received regarding employees' work during religious holidays, official holidays, and weekends.

Also received were 781 complaints regarding employees’ termination of a fixed-term employment contract, 1,730 complaints about work suspension, and 774 complaints about lower wages.

Figures also showed six complaints regarding the employment of women, 217 complaints from employees forced to do work that differed from the nature of their work, and 44 cases of confiscation of workers’ passports.

The ministry also dealt with 377 complaints concerning requests for certificates of experience, and 76 requests for copies of the work contract, 1,137 complaints about not being paid the minimum wage, and 148 complaints about lack of safety standards in the place of work.

Workers' House Director Hamada Abu Nijmeh told Jordan News that the figures do not reflect a real picture of the complaints that are actually made, and that "the numbers may be much higher".

He added that “a large number of employees are afraid to file a complaint when something happens with them for fear of repercussions, such as being fired, for example”.

He said that there should be a real mechanism that monitors the performance of employees, but that “preventive measures should be taken, too, so that the employee does not have to even file a complaint".

Abu Nijmeh stressed that employees who face recurring problems at work “should promptly file a complaint with the Ministry of Labor, especially since the Hemaya system enables employees to submit a complaint without having to mention their name, which guarantees them protection. Some companies persist in depriving employees of their rights when they see that they take no action”.

He pointed to the importance of submitting electronic payroll statements to the Ministry of Labor so that the ministry can ensure that all employees have received their salaries, "especially since it will be difficult for the ministry to visit all companies and institutions in the Kingdom”. Moreover, he said, “institutions can pay wages through banks, and this is an effective way to ensure that wages are paid."

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