Overview of steps made by Egypt to enhance status of workers



Mon, 22 Nov 2021 - 03:26 GMT


Mon, 22 Nov 2021 - 03:26 GMT

FILE – Egyptian workers

FILE – Egyptian workers

CAIRO – 22 November 2021: Over the past years, Egypt made several steps to enhance the living conditions of workers through either legislations or social solidarity measures.


Starting with financial aspects, the government set earlier this year the minimum wage at LE2,400 ($150). Further, the National Council for Wages advised the private sector to raise workers' salaries by LE60 ($3.75) per month during FY2021/2022 to cope with the projected rise in prices. It is noted that the council's mission is convening regularly to review wages comparing them to prices of goods and services.


Equally, care has been given to irregular workers. With regard to short-term, 2.1 million out of 11.8 million irregular workers received six batches of the emergency monetary subsidies granted by the government due to COVID-19. Each is worth LE500 ($21.25) and the latest was disbursed in March. The reason not all of Egyptian irregular workers got the grant is that not all of them registered themselves at the Ministry of Social Solidarity.


Nevertheless, the government offers long-term insurance programs for irregular workers who account for 40 percent of the GDP, and who are concentrated in the sectors of transportation, constructions, agriculture, fishing, baking, tourism, and street vending.  


The government currently pays the share of the employer in the social security tax for irregular workers who apply to join the social insurance system. Similarly, they are offered an accident/life insurance of up to LE100,000 ($6,250). The insurance covers permanent injury and death, and the sum varies according to the type of the consequence of the accident, whether it is partial disability, total disability, and loss of life.


Similarly, the law makes it mandatory for the private sector to allow the disabled to compose a minimum of five percent of the employees hired by the establishment. Yet, that legal provision is not sufficiently enforced. One reason may be the shortage in employability among the disabled. Another reason is the lack of zest among employers to hire the disabled.


However, unemployment recorded 7.3 percent in the second quarter of 2021 down from over 12 percent four years ago. The public sector hires around six million while the private one provides employment to 25 million citizens working at 3.7 million establishments.  


As for employability in general, the government is preparing to launch a vocational training online platform. Simultaneously, work is underway to launch another platform to help citizens get jobs abroad in legal and safe ways ensuring they are aware of their duties and rights. It is noteworthy to mention that the number of Egyptian expats hit 13 million in 2020.


Bigger projects include creating a database of the Egyptian labor market, which is still under progress, and forming the Supreme Council for Social Dialogue. The mission of the council is discussing economic and social issues, and proposing solutions.  The establishment's area of interest also covers mass lay-offs ensued from crises like pandemics, and the suspension of under-progress projects.


What's more, the National Strategy for Human Rights articulated earlier this year provides bolstering the role of workers syndicates. That is through four measures that are promoting awareness among members, digitalizing the operation of those syndicates, supporting those syndicates financially without compromising their freedoms and independence, and, making room for the syndicates in the articulation of political, social, and economic policies.



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