Egypt Watch

CTUWS demands amendments to the new social insurance law

The Centre for Trade Unions and Workers’ Services held a roundtable discussion with the participation of numerous trade unionists and law professors over law 148 of 2019 regarding social insurance in Egypt.

The law, which was issued in August 2019, replaced the previous laws including law 79 of 1975, law 108 of 1976, law 112 of 1980 and law 50 of 1987, and empowers the executive regulations of law 148 of 2019.

CTUWS, along with other CSOs, demanded amendments to the current law, saying that the current law’s provisions could be unconstitutional.

The first criticism proposed against the law was that it ignored temporary labour in irregular sectors including tourism, building and construction, road transport, fishing, mines, casinos and cafes. CTUWS proposed adding those workers to the fourth category in article 2 of the law regarding the workers, who are under the social insurance law umbrella. The second criticism was related to the condition put in place by article 21 for deserving a pension, which is a 10-year-membership in the social insurance system. CTUWS demanded the abolition of this condition for all permanent workers.

In addition, CTUWS criticised conditioning early retirement with a 20-year membership, which is to be increased to a 25-year membership after five years of the law’s application. The centre pointed out that there is a clear legislative contradiction here, because the civil service law encouraged early retirement, while the social insurance law makes it hard. Regarding indemnity, the law provided that it will be given according to a saving investment system. The centre demanded the restoration of the old system of giving a one-month salary for every year of membership in the insurance system. The symposium also criticised article 85, which excludes temporary and seasonal workers from the unemployment compensation, and demanded fixation of the unemployment compensation value at 75 per cent of the latest paid membership value.

Finally, the centre addressed article 90, which reduces the unemployment compensation to 40 per cent when the worker is sacked due to a violation. The centre explained that workers’ conflicts with employers usually take time in the courts so during this period, the worker should not be punished by the reduction of the unemployment compensation.