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Unemployed receive partial salary.

Summary: "The Iraqi Retirement Law was decreed in 1969, and was amended twice afterward in 1971 and 1989,"

Abdulsalam Barwari, head of the Social, Children and Family Commission, says that there are plans to establish a social security commission and guarantee that public and private sector employees benefit from unemployment insurance and pensions.

Barwari stated in an interview with The Kurdish Globe that employees who lose their jobs would get up to 60 percent of their salaries depending on their years of service.

According to Barwari, the relevant institutions and ministries are working on a draft for the amendment of the Labor and Social Security Law in the Region, which "has been submitted to Parliament" for consideration and legislation.

"The Iraqi Retirement Law was decreed in 1969, and was amended twice afterward in 1971 and 1989," said Barwari. "According to this law, any person who works in the government is called an "employee," and they have certain employment benefits."

However, according to Barwari, in Kurdistan the private sector does not provide all the benefits the government offers to its employees such as unemployment fund, pensions and social security.

Although the current labor and social security law obliges the private sector to provide similar benefits to its employees, this is not strictly followed by the private sector. This is a major reason why most of the people want to be employed by the government rather than the private sector.

"Although the private companies pay better than the government, it is less-secure employment with fewer benefits and social insurance," argues Ahemd Abdulrahman, a university graduate who has been looking for a job in the public sector for two years since he graduated in 2010. "Besides, private sector jobs are more demanding than government jobs, with longer working hours and more difficult tasks."

Barwari argues that their proposed amendment is to enforce the law on the private sector as well, which will encourage people to seek employment there. He added that if the private sector offers more benefits, there will be more job opportunities, less load on the public sector, and it will help economic growth and development.

"In 2011, the Ministerial Council submitted a draft law to Parliament, but it had a lot of shortcomings,"explained Barwari. "Therefore, the ministry [of labor and social affairs], social security commission, workers syndicate and civil society organizations drafted another project after six months of meetings, conferences, seminars and receiving feedback, and we, as the commission, prepared the final report and submitted it."

One of the points raised in the project is reemphasizing the social security fund and forcing the private sector to pay social security contributions and put it in the fund, which will be used in case of diseases, unemployment or retirement to be paid back to the employees.

"According to the draft, the government is also required to contribute 30 percent to the fund every year," Barwari told the Globe.

The project prepared by Barwari's commission only addresses those people who used to be employed in the past and contributed to the social security fund, but they lost their jobs for various reasons. Only those people, according to Barwari, will be entitled to benefit from the unemployment fund.

According to the draft, those unemployed people will get paid up to 60 percent of their salaries for the duration of their unemployment and until they find a new job.

The head of the Social, Children and Family Commission stated that they have requested this law to be applied to private sector companies in a way that all the administrative staff of private companies would contribute to the fund.

"Besides the benefit to the employees, it will also increase the money available in the fund."

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Publication:The Kurdish Globe (Erbil, Iraq)
Date:Apr 23, 2012
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