Press Release

Iraq and ILO intensify efforts to strengthen social security system, in light of recent ratification of ILO flagship Social Security Convention (C102)

26 March 2023

Baghdad, Iraq (ILO News) The Government of Iraq ratified ILO Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102)  and the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, as amended (MLC, 2006) on March 22.

This makes Iraq the second country in the region to ratify ILO Social Security Convention No. 102, after Jordan.

ILO Social Security Convention No. 102 is the foundation of all ILO Social Security Conventions. It outlines the minimum standards of the nine branches of social security: medical care, family benefit, maternity benefit, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, employment injury benefit, old-age benefit, invalidity benefit, and survivors’ benefit.

“The ratification of Convention No. 102 by Iraq emphasizes its commitment to enshrining social security as an inherent right and to reforming national legislation and regulations to strengthen legal protection and safeguards for workers and improve the business environment,” said Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Iraq, Ahmed Jasim Al-Asadi, when depositing the instrument of ratification to Director-General of the ILO Gilbert F. Houngbo in Geneva.

The Government of Iraq, including the Kurdistan Regional Government is already in the process of revising its social security legislation.

Currently, the social security system for private-sector workers in Iraq has very minimal coverage, and lacks two branches of social security - maternity and unemployment benefits – leaving covered workers vulnerable to poverty in the event of job loss or pregnancy.

Supporting the process to ensure the extension of social security coverage to workers in the private sector has been one of ILO’s key priorities under a European Union funded programme to reform social protection, which is being jointly implemented by the Government of Iraq, ILO, UNICEF and WFP.

The ILO has been working closely with government, workers’ and employers’ representatives, and Members of Parliaments on the proposed amendments to the legal instruments in Federal and the Kurdistan region. The proposed amendments are based on legal assessment and actuarial valuations, conducted by the ILO.

The current drafts for Federal Iraq and Kurdistan Region, upon endorsement by both governments, will strengthen the sustainability of the schemes, expand the range of entitlements to include maternity and unemployment benefits, and support the extension of legal coverage to informal workers, which represent 66.6% of total employment.

“The legal reform process aims to bring national legislation more closely in line with the Convention. This is critical in ensuring a more inclusive social protection system for workers and future generations in Iraq,” added ILO Country Coordinator in Iraq Maha Kattaa.

Moving forward, the ILO will continue to provide technical assistance, as required, to the legislative reform process and support the Government of Iraq in its reporting responsibilities towards the ILO supervisory bodies.

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