AMMAN — Low salaries are driving many public sector employees to look for a second job to make ends meet in light of hiked prices and the worsening financial conditions of many Jordanians, experts contended.
A recent report by the Jordan Labor Watch revealed that a large number of employees in most public sector institutions hold a second job. The report attributed the reason to their low wages and increased inflation.
“The government allowed its employees for several years to work other jobs,” said Hamada Abu Nijmeh, head of the Workers’ House, a Jordan-based NGO which seeks to improve working conditions in direct cooperation with workers and employers.
He pointed out that “low salaries in the public sector, especially for employees further down the salary scale compel the employee to look for a second job to be able to sustain themselves.”
“The lowest salary in the public sector, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was JD370,” he said. “Considering the poverty line, the income is insufficient to meet the needs of a medium-sized family.”
He explained that the wages did not change. “They were not reduced, but the effectiveness of any salary is measured by its purchasing power, and it can be said that it is no longer sufficient as a result of the rise in prices nowadays,” he noted.
Head of the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions Mazen Al-Maaytah told Jordan News that “work is guaranteed to all citizens under the constitution.”
“In harsh living conditions and with an increasing cost of living, the employee is forced to work two jobs,” he said.
“The poverty line is estimated at a monthly income of JD700,” he said. “The public sector salaries are not enough to meet the needs of the employee and their family, so we find them obligated to work two jobs at the expense of their health and comfort.”
He called on the government to adjust the salary scale and raise wages. “Wages in the public sector must be reviewed to ensure a staff member’s high professional efficiency.”
Public servant Mohammed Ahmed said “working two jobs is debilitating, and consumes my energy and time”.
“I barely have time to be with my family because I have to work to put food on the table and provide for their other needs,” he sighed with an interview with Jordan News.
He said he obtained permission from the ministry he works for to take up a part-time job after hours.
“It’s true that my income increased, but this was at the expense of my health, and psychological and physical wellbeing,” he explained.
Sami, another public servant, took up a second job consulting, giving training courses and workshops in the evenings.
“I did this because I need to increase my income to cover life’s growing expenses,” he said. “Foremost, I wanted to be able to meet my family’s financial obligations and pay off our debts.”