Law on Hazardous Occupation Ineffective

Over 3,500 women retired from hazardous occupations till the end of the last fiscal year in March.Over 3,500 women retired from hazardous occupations till the end of the last fiscal year in March.

Labor laws on hard and hazardous jobs passed in 2001 with the purpose of supporting the workforce, creating jobs and checking unemployment, is facing challenges today partly due to their lax enforcement and partly the changes in the domestic labor market that has visibly prevented the absorption of labor supply due to weak economic growth.

According to the law, “female workers are prohibited from performing dangerous, hard and hazardous work as well as physically lifting loads in excess of the authorized limit without the use of mechanical devices.”

This is while over 3,500 women retired from such occupations till the end of the last fiscal year in March. Besides women, assignment of extra work, night shifts  and also hard, hazardous and dangerous work as well as tasks like lifting of loads in excess of the authorized limit without using mechanical devices for young workers (under 18 years), is also prohibited.

One of the key demands of workers is the implementation “without any shortfall of the law on early retirement for hazardous work.”  However, around 3,400 people under the age of 38 retired under the law last year, which means they were employed in hazardous jobs when they were underage or younger than 18 years, reports.

In November 2014, a new directive called for permitting workers with hard and hazardous jobs to retire after 20 years “even if they had been employed as ordinary workers for less than a year” during their 20-year service. Ordinary workers need to work 30 years before they can claim full retirement benefits.

Workers also want the execution of another relevant enactment as per which they can retire with a full pension after working for 25 years instead of the earlier 30 years.

Regarding working hours, the law determines that in hard labor, hazardous and underground jobs, working time must not exceed six hours per day, and 36 hours a week. Assigning overtime work to this category of workers is also prohibited.

But extra payment for overtime work as shown in the salary slips indicate that employers are not playing by the rules.

“As the essence of the law has been ignored, the time has come now to review the strengths and weaknesses of the rules and revise them,” said Mohammad Hassan Zoda, technical deputy for income affairs at the Social Security Organization (SSO).

Workers doing hard labor must benefit from early retirement as long as they do not take up a second job, he said.

  Pensioners Increase

Many workers who are entitled to the benefits under this law retire before 50 years and start looking for a new job. “This is to say that they grab the opportunities meant for the younger workforce and thus contribute to the rising unemployment,” said Hassan Zoda.

This also puts pension funds under additional pressure as paying early retirees on a monthly basis takes a large share of the funds that are already struggling as the population ages and joblessness rises, which further reduce the income of the pension funds.

Since the enactment of the regulations, the number of SSO pensioners in the category of hard labor has increased form one million to around 2.8 million.

“Statistics show that 74% of pensioners retire under the regular rules and 26% retire early under the hazardous job rules,” he said.

The labor law of Iran, first adopted in 1990, has 203 sections covering contracts, conditions of employment, occupational safety and health, inspection, training, employment services, workers’ and employers’ organizations, welfare services for workers and their families, and the establishment of a Supreme Labor Council, among many others provisions.

Special provisions are made for night work, arduous, underground and dangerous work, the working conditions of women and young persons (i.e. workers between 15 and 18 years of age, the employment of those under 15 being prohibited) and so on.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints