December 2021: 355 cases were reported in the garment sector, bringing the number of tracked Covid-19 cases to 7,301. Covid-19 cases began rising in Jordan in November and are still on rise as of 12 December. Cases began rising before the detection of the Omicron variant – the first Omicron case was reported in Jordan on 9 December. New cases in the garment sector were detected in several factories. Virtually all workers in the sector have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Better Work Jordan tracked an additional 2,531 workers who received the vaccine in the 2021 Q4, bringing the total number of vaccinated workers to 61,616. Tracking an up-to-date number of vaccinations and Covid-19 cases across nearly 80 factories is difficult so numbers should be considered estimates. In addition, per Government of Jordan Defense Orders, all workers in private companies must be vaccinated or submit to twice-weekly testing. With these rules in place, the majority of factories state that 100% of their workers are vaccinated, and BWJ has not seen concrete evidence to disprove this.
September 2021: roughly 6,900 cases have been reported among employees in Jordan’s garment sector across 77 different factories. As of March 2021, 6,300 Covid-19 cases had been reported in the garment sector. Since then, around 600 additional cases have been reported, with only around 100 cases in the third quarter of 2021. An estimated 59,000 workers in the sector have received at leastone dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. However, collecting accurate data on vaccination status from factory management has become more difficult recently as factory management want to be seen as compliant with Defence Order 32
August 2021: Jordan has vaccinated approximately 65% of garment workers. Jordan’s garment sector has recovered remarkably well compared to other manufacturing countries, yet the national economy is still experiencing repercussions of the lockdowns. Overall unemployment is now at 25%.
July 2021: Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Bisher Al Khasawneh issued Defence Order No. 32 of 2021 aimed to regulate the work of employees who have not received the COVID vaccine in the public and private sectors, which states the following:
Any public sector\ private sector employee who has not received the first dose of the COVID vaccine or failed to receive the second dose must submit a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to Sunday and Thursday of every week and submit it to his/her direct superior at their department.
Public sector\ private-sector employees who violate provisions of Article 1 of the first clause are not allowed to join work. The days that they are not allowed to work shall be deducted from their annual leave. If the annual leave days are exhausted, those days will be deducted from their salaries and allowances.
No work permit shall be issued and no annual residency permit shall be renewed for any resident who has not received one dose or failed to receive the second dose of the COVID vaccine.
June 2021 Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Bisher Al Khasawneh issued Defence Order No. 30, The new defense order states that “all facilities are required not to allow any person to enter before providing ID card or health verification code or COVID-19 vaccination certificate through “Sanad” application.
March 2021: The COVID-19 cases have again begun increasing in Jordan, and the epidemiological situation is nearing a dangerous point. The Royal Decree approved the appointment of Feras Al Hawari as Minister of Health and Yousef Al Shamali as Minister of Labour. The Jordanian Health Minister handed in his resignation after a medical tragedy occurred in a Jordanian hospital. The Minister of the Interior is acting on behalf of him.
Factory Service Update
August 2021: Jordan is imposing restrictions on arrivals from South Asia, and factories have struggled to replace workers who left. There is also high absenteeism among Jordanian workers–the national Estidama programme continues to cover a percentage of salary regardless of presence at work.
Better Work Jordan is continuing to support factories as they navigate high order volume from buyers but staffing issues with inability to bring in migrant workers and issues with Jordanian worker absenteeism.
June 2021: Nearly 7,000 Covid-19 cases have been reported among employees in Jordan’s garment sector across 61 different factories. Of these, 26 are active cases. Currently, four factories are reporting active cases. All workers are now eligible for vaccines (baring any health concerns). As of the end of June, more than 42,000 garment workers had received vaccinations (at least the first shot) across 62 factories. Larger factories partnered with the Ministry of Health to arrange vaccinations at the factory.
May 2021: Nearly 7,000 Covid-19 cases have been reported among employees in Jordan’s garment sector across 61 different factories. Currently, 14 factories are reporting active cases. The majority of workers are eligible for vaccines. As of the end of May, 22,500 garment workers had received vaccinations (at least the first shot) across 58 factories. Larger factories partnered with the Ministry of Health to arrange vaccinations at the factory. The majority of these are migrant workers. Jordanian workers have mostly returned to work – across 39 factories where Better Work Jordan gathered data, Jordanian workers were working at 94% capacity. Thirty-two factories had Jordanian workers at full capacity. The Estidama (“Sustainability”) programme will aim to cover 50 per cent of wages for those working in unauthorized institutions. The Better Work Jordan team, in collaboration with the Social Security Corporation, hosted an industrial seminar to explain the Estidama programme, which was launched by the Government of Jordan in Dec. 2020. Participants including head managers, administration managers and financial managers attended the seminar.
Additional Better Work Activities
The ILO\Better Work Jordan and Jordan Garments, Accessories & Textiles Exporters’ Association (JGATE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2020, which holds true. It signifies the two parties wish to promote the joint cooperation between them to strengthen the exchange of expertise in the domain of work and promotion of industrial relations between workers and employers and to encourage enterprises to comply with the provisions of the Labour Law and the core labour standards of the ILO. The goal of this agreement is to contribute to improving the economic performance of enterprises and their competitiveness, as well as educating workers about their rights and duties based on these outputs. The duration of the MOU is two years.