Last Updated: Thursday, 30 October 2014, 14:31 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Jordan

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Jordan, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa47837.html [accessed 30 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor1817
Working children, 5-14 years (%):
Working boys, 5-14 years (%):
Working girls, 5-14 years (%):
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:16
Compulsory education age:16
Free public education:Yes
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:98
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:91
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2004:96
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

During the 2007-2008 reporting period, there were reports of working children throughout Jordan, though reports were particularly prevalent in urban areas.1818 Children work in the informal sector in agriculture, domestic labor, and in small family businesses.1819 According to a 2002 study by the Ministry of Labor (MOL), children also work in automobile repair, carpentry, sales, blacksmithing, tailoring, construction, and food services.1820 A small study conducted in the city of Irbid in 2003 found that some working children are victims of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse in the workplace and are exposed to hazardous chemicals and dangerous working conditions.1821

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Jordanian law sets the minimum working age at 16 years, except for apprentices who can be employed at a younger age.1822 For hazardous jobs, the minimum age is 18 years.1823 Jordanian law states that children under 18 years shall not perform work with mechanically operated equipment; with oil and gas machines; requiring scuba diving equipment; in construction in which the worker is exposed to noise, vibration, high air pressure, radiation, or dust; underground; and in offices, hotels, restaurants, or nightclubs.1824 Minors must be given a rest break after 4 hours of work and may not work more than 6 hours per day, during weekends and holidays, or at night. Before hiring a minor, a prospective employer must obtain a guardian's written approval, the minor's birth certificate, and a health certificate.1825

Compulsory labor is prohibited by the Constitution except in circumstances of war, natural disaster, or as a result of a conviction by a court of law.1826 The law prohibits voluntary recruitment into the Government Armed Forces for children less than 17 years.1827 The law provides for the death penalty for anyone who uses a minor in the production, transportation, sale, or purchase of drugs.1828 Jordanian law prohibits trafficking in children.1829 It is illegal to induce a female under the age of 20 years to engage in prostitution or to entice any child under 15 to commit sodomy, and it is punishable by up to 3 years in prison.1830

The Child Labor Unit (CLU) of the MOL is primarily responsible for monitoring child labor and reviewing and ensuring the enforcement of existing legislation. The Government, however, has provided little training on child labor to its 85 MOL inspectors and no fines had been issued by the end of 2007.1831 According to the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA) and the ILO Committee of Experts, current labor inspection mechanisms are inadequate in terms of their frequency, scope, outreach, and quality of reporting. Most working children work in establishments employing five workers or less, which are difficult to monitor. Additionally, children who are self employed, employed by family members, and those that work for no wages fall outside the scope of the labor code.1832

Current Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The National Agenda for the years 2006-2015, "The Jordan we strive for," includes the elimination of the worst forms of child labor as a goal.1833 The Jordanian National Plan of Action (NPA) for Children 2004-2013 aims to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in Jordan by 2014 and to decrease the number of child laborers under 16 years.1834

USDOL supported a USD 1 million ILO-IPEC project undertaken with the cooperation of the Ministries of Labor, Education, and Social Development to combat child labor in the urban services sector in Jordan. The program ended September 30, 2007. Over 1,700 children were withdrawn or prevented from child labor through educational services or training opportunities.1835


1817 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see Government of Jordan, Labour Code, Law No. 8 of 1996, section 73; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/45676/65048/E96JOR01.htm#c1. See also U.S. Department of State, "Jordan," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100598.htm.

1818 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Jordan," section 6d.

1819 Ibid.

1820 Mohammed Shahateet and Nihaya Issa Dabdub, Estimating Child Labour in Jordan: 1991-2005, Ministry of Labor, Amman, October 2002, 15-16.

1821 Muntaha Gharaibeh and Shirley Hoeman, "Health Hazards and Risks for Abuse Among Child Labor in Jordan," Journal of Pediatric Nursing 18, no. 2 (2003), 141 and 143. See also ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Jordan (ratification: 2000), [online] 2004 [cited December 5, 2007]; available from http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/appl-displayAllComments.cfm?hdroff=1&ctry=1850&conv=C182&Lang=SP.

1822 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Jordan," section 6d.

1823 Government of Jordan, Labour Code, chapter VIII, section 73-74. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Jordan," section 6d.

1824 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Jordan (ratification: 2000).

1825 Government of Jordan, Labour Code, chapter VIII, section 75-76. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Jordan," section 6d.

1826 Government of Jordan, Constitution of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, (1952), Chapter 2, article 13; available from http://www.mfa.gov.jo/uploads/const.pdf.

1827 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Jordan," in Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=957.

1828 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Jordan (ratification: 2000).

1829 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Jordan," section 5.

1830 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Jordan (ratification: 2000). See also Government of Jordan, "Jordan," in Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offences against Children, 2006, article 310; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/CsaJordan.pdf.

1831 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Jordan," section 6d.

1832 ILO Committee of Experts, Direct Request, Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) Jordan (ratification: 2000).

1833 ILO-IPEC, National Programme to Eliminate Child Labour in Jordan, Technical Progress Report, Geneva, March 13, 2007, 2.

1834 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank Surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, March 1, 2007.

1835 ILO-IPEC, National Programme to Eliminate Child Labour in Jordan, Technical Progress Report, Geneva, September 2007.

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