The new Labor Law No. 8 of 1996 governs Labor affairs in Jordan. The provisions of the law apply to all employees and employers as defined by Article 2 of the Law.
Maximum working hours are 48 during a six-day week. The seventh day is a paid weekly holiday. Additional hours will be considered as overtime and qualify for compensation of 25 percent over the regular wage. Except in the event of an emergency, an increase in daily work hours is subject to approval by the Minister of Labor.
Employees are entitled to an annual 14-day, fully paid sick leave that may be extended by an additional 14 days if the employee was hospitalized. The Law makes provisions for compensation regarding on-the-job injuries. A worker is also entitled to a one-time 14-day leave to make the pilgrimage to the Islamic holy shrines in Mecca, provided he has worked for the same company for at least five years.
Female employees are allowed ten weeks maternity leave with pay. Employers who employ 20 or more women must provide daycare for all children under four years of age.
The minimum age for child employment under controlled conditions has been raised to 16 years. The new Law places restrictions on the types of jobs minors may hold, as well as on the number of hours they are allowed to work.
The new Law regulates labor unions and employer alliances. Workers are free to join unions without objection from their employers. Strikes and close-downs are also regulated by the new Law. Approximately 30 percent of the total labor force, including government service, is unionized. Labor unions exist in some large industrial firms, in the banking sector, and among engineers, physicians, pharmacists and lawyers.
The current labor Law allows employers to terminate the services of employees if they are forced to undergo reorganization. Article 31 of the Law gives employers the right to reduce the wages of workers or dismiss them for any reason. The Law does not obligate employers to include end-of-service retirements in their employment packages. If the employer has, however, agreed to the end-of-service retirement either through a contractual basis or personnel agreement, this right cannot be dismissed.
A serious shortcoming of the Jordanian Labor Law is Article 20, which grants employees the right to own the intellectual property right of works developed on the job. If their position requires that they research and develop for their employers, the Article provides the employee with a right to 50 percent ownership of the developed work. This provision contravenes all major international laws and discourages investments in industries such as software development, audio and video recording, and pharmaceutical development.