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Jordan: Discriminatory order obliges employers to renew fixed-term contracts for Jordanian workers only

The Jordanian Council of Ministers has issued a new order pursuant to Defense Order no.6 regulating the relationship between the private sector and workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The new order obliges employers to renew the fixed-term contracts of their Jordanian workers automatically and for similar periods until the application of the Defense Law comes to an end. The order only applies to contracts which expired on 30 April 2020 or will expire after this date, provided that the said contracts have been renewed at least three times before 30 April 2020.

The Ministry of Labour has asserted that any termination of fixed-term contracts between 30 April 2020 and before the end of Defense Law’s application is considered a violation of law, and that employers are obliged to renew contracts terminated during this period allowing the affected workers to return to their work. According to the order, the renewal of contracts is applicable only to Jordanian workers.

Moreover, the new order allows employers to deduct up to 60% from their workers’ wages (Jordanian and non-Jordanian workers) in the most affected sectors without any permission from the government. The order explicitly states that only Jordanian workers can submit a complaint to the Ministry of Labour in cases of abuse by the employer.