Legal environment in partnering nations - Jordan

jordan overview

Historical background

The first law for persons with disabilities was adopted in 1989 and abolished in 1993 to be replaced by the Welfare of Disabled Persons Act No. 12. In 2006, an expert committee in the field of disability was formed to review and analyze the Welfare of Disabled Persons Act and its amendments. In 2007, the Welfare for Disabled Persons Act was replaced by The Jordanian Disability Law No. 31 on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This Law shifted from a welfare-based to a rights-based approach to disability focusing on eliminating environmental and social barriers. It addresses the rights and services for persons with disabilities in the areas of healthcare; education; vocational training and work; social protection and institutional care; environmental access; customs and tax exemptions; participation to public and political life, sports, culture and leisure; and litigation. The requirement to adapt the physical environment to the needs of persons with disability is a key element of the Law in order to ensure these rights.

Laws and regulations

- Law No. 31 consists of 21 articles and addresses the following topics: 
Education: the law grants students with physical disabilities the right to education in the public schooling system and requires public schools to restructure their facilities in order to make them accessible for students with physical disabilities 
Health: Article 4a of the law grants the following rights to persons with disabilities: 
  • Preventive and awareness programs, including early detection of disabilities 
  • Diagnosis and medical classification of disabilities 
  • Medical and psychological rehabilitation and treatment 
  • Primary healthcare for women with disabilities during pregnancy, delivery and post-delivery 
  • Free health insurance, renewable every three year and requiring a disability report from a governmental hospital and a proof of property 
  • Vocational training: Under Article 4c of the law, persons with physical disabilities are granted the right to vocational training. The Article acknowledges the need to build the capacities of vocational trainers to deal with the needs of persons with disabilities. 
Employment: Article 4c of the law underlines the right of persons with disabilities to equal employment opportunities and the obligation for employers to accommodate their needs. The Article also stipulates that all public and private establishments employing between 25 and 50 workers should employ at least one person with disabilities and that, in all public and private establishments employing more than 50 workers, no fewer than 4% of all employees should be persons with disabilities. In addition, Article 12 mandates private institutions that do not respect the quotas to pay a fine equal to twice the minimum wage of 150 Jordan dinars (approximately US$210) for each person with disability the establishment would otherwise be employing. The fine is doubled if the violation is repeated. 
- Law No. 31 also provides definitions of legal terminology and details the roles and tasks of the Higher Council for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities (HCAPD). The HCAPD is a public council, financially and administratively independent, located in Amman. Its president is appointed by royal decree. Members of the Higher Council are officials from the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, the Greater Amman Municipality, the Higher Council for Youth and the Jordan Paralympic Committee, as well as representatives of persons with disabilities.
Article 7 of Law No. 31 stipulates the duties of HCAPD: 
  • Formulating national plans and policies relevant to persons with disabilities 
  • Following up and executing the National Disability Strategy 
  • Proposing any amendments to legislation concerning persons with disabilities 
  • Creating research and service centers on disabilities 
  • Setting public standards for programs and services offered to persons with disabilities 

The National Strategy for Disability (2007-2015)

Developed by a committee of experts in the field of disability, the strategy provides guidelines and a framework for action for the implementation of Law No.31 over the time period 2007-2015. Its overall objective is to respect the rights of persons with disabilities and to integrate them in the social, economic and public life. It puts special emphasis on issues of accessibility, infrastructure and social services. The main focus areas for the Strategy are: 
Education: the main priorities of the Strategy is to integrate persons with physical disabilities in public schools: 
To conduct an inventory of accessible schools according to national building codes 
To design a plan to rehabilitate inaccessible schools according to national building code 
To release tenders for the adaptation of 100 school in order to accommodate students with disabilities 
To appoint special education teachers to follow up on the school integration program and on students with physical disabilities 
Health: the Strategy identifies various challenges to the healthcare provision for persons with disabilities. The National Strategy aims at addressing these challenges by setting forth two goals, namely by lowering the rate of disabilities and improving the quality of healthcare service provision for persons with disabilities. It recognizes the need to integrate persons with disabilities in the primary healthcare system and to provide them with medical insurance.
The challenges identified by the Strategy are the following: 
  • Lack of comprehensive medical coverage in the areas of prevention, early detection, diagnosis, rehabilitation, and follow-up of disabilities 
  • Shortcoming in the medical referral system when dealing with persons with disabilities 
  • Lack of qualified medical staff in the area of disabilities 
  • Low coordination between the different institutions that work in the field of disability 
  • Lack of funds 
Vocational training: the National Strategy recognizes the importance of vocational training in preparing persons with disabilities for the labor market and increasing their economic participation. Thus, the Strategy highlights the insufficient number of vocational training centers, especially in rural areas. It also recognizes the need to develop the qualifications of trainers to deal with persons with disabilities, to adapt the curricula of vocational training centers and to upgrade the programs 
Employment: The National Strategy sets forth a number of measures to follow in order to increase the economic participation of persons with disabilities. These are: 
  • Enhancing accessibility to workplaces 
  • Providing accessible public means of transportation on routes to qualified industrial zones 
  • Providing monetary incentives to institutions that show commitment in hiring and training persons with disabilities 
  • Ensuring rights of persons with disabilities to equal opportunities in the workplace and equal pay in appropriate working conditions 
  • Supporting and building the capacities of vocational training institutions and increasing the enrolment of persons with disabilities 
  • Following up on the application of the disability employment quota by establishing a specialized department in the Ministry of Labor 
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