Beirut, 1 June 2023--In Lebanon, the female labour force participation rate is less than 28% - approximately a third of the male rate. One of the reasons for this is that women undertake 94% of childcare responsibilities, which limits their chances of pursuing a career. These are some of the key findings of a legal study issued today by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) on the feasibility of implementing flexible work arrangements in Lebanon.
ESCWA conducted the study at the request of the Women and Children Parliamentary Committee, to introduce various types of flexible work arrangements in the Lebanese labour law. The findings were presented during an event in Parliament, where Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri represented by Chair of the Women and Children Parliamentary Committee Inaya Ezzeddine, ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti and Labour Minister Mustafa Bayram, represented by Iman Khazaal, gave speeches.
Ezzeddine said that introducing flexibility in the labour law would create a balance between labour market requirements and protecting workers' rights. She added that the law would provide a legal framework for companies to implement flexible work arrangements adapted to their needs and those of the market, thus allowing them to use human resources more efficiently and adapt to economic developments.
Flexible work options can vary according to time and location, and include remote work; part-time work; the flexibility to move from full-time to part-time employment; flexible work hours; flexible shifts; temporary work; shared jobs; and compressed work weeks.
In her statement, Dashti emphasized the importance of drafting and ratifying legal texts to regulate the care sector. She also stressed the need to amend the labour law to include flexible work arrangements so women could balance their careers and their domestic responsibilities according to their needs, and shed light on the law’s role in advancing economic growth.
Based on the results of the study, Ezzeddine has submitted a proposal to introduce amendments to the Lebanese labour law which include flexible work arrangements, in order to reduce the burden of unpaid care work on women, to encourage their economic participation and improve gender equality.
Khazaal mentioned the law proposals made by the Ministry of Labour to remedy the shortcomings of current laws, and to take into account the impact of technology on the world of work. She also emphasized that the Ministry supported any approach to amend the labour law, as it would bring about positive change.
One of five United Nations regional commissions, ESCWA supports inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Arab States, and works on enhancing regional integration.
For more information:
- Ms. Maryam Sleiman, Public Information Assistant, +961-81-769-888; email: email@example.com
- Ms. Rania Harb, Public Information Assistant, +961-70-008-879; email: firstname.lastname@example.org