38 workplace nurseries to be built by end of year

AMMAN — By the end of 2018, a total of 38 nurseries benefitting more than 1,500 children of working mothers will be built in various public and private institutions across the country, Mohammed Miqdadi, acting secretary general of the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA), said on Tuesday.

The move is part of a JD3.5 million nationwide project to build 80 nurseries in all governorates by 2020, he told The Jordan Times, adding that they are expected to encourage more women to join the labour market while creating some 700 jobs.

Some agreements were signed, while others are in the pipelines and soon to be signed, he added.

The project, implemented in cooperation with the NCFA and the Labour Ministry, is financed by the Employment, Technical and Vocational Education Training (E-TVET) Fund.

"The project aims to make working mothers feel better when at their workplace… Many women quit their jobs when they have kids as they cannot afford sending their children to nurseries," Miqdadi said, adding "This aims to increase women labour participation and productivity as when women are comfortable at the workplace and not worried about who will take of their kids, they become more motivated…the long term impact of this project is very positive on the whole society."

Each nursery will receive a JD22,000 support, while employers will cover any remaining cost if needed.

"The nurseries will be built in line with international standards, furnished with necessary equipment and provided with well-trained staff to ensure a safe environment for children," he said.

Working mothers expressed their joy with the decision, which they said was a step all institutions should follow.

Rana Mohammad, an employee at one of the professional associations, said that she thought about quitting her job when she had her first child three years ago as there was no nursery at her workplace.

She said she resorted to sending her son to his grandparents' house every day so she can go to work. "I kept doing that for a year and a half, but my mother and my mother-in-law were unable to continue taking care of my son… I reached a point where I could either quit a job that I like or send him to a private nursery," she told The Jordan Times, adding "I wish there were free nurseries or nurseries for nominal fees at my workplace. I earn around JD500 per month and my husband and I pay for the private nursery, some JD180 monthly, which is a lot of money but I do not want to quit my job," she added.

Hala Musa, a bank employee, echoed similar remarks.

"I have one son who is two years old now. I keep him with my mother when I am at work but I am always worried and anxious to finish my job and go home," she said.

"If there was a nursery at the bank, I would feel more comfortable. It is important to have nurseries at workplace as not all people can afford sending their kids to private nurseries which are expensive," she concluded.

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