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Consultant to support the adoption process of the Flexible Working Arrangements and Family-Friendly law proposals in Lebanon
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA)
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
Job Expired 2 Oct 2023
Posted 2 months ago
Job Description

Result of Service

Identifying the major legal elements, aspects and dimensions that might be associated with the adoption processes of the two proposals and providing accordingly relevant legal advice and alternatives.

Work Location

UN House - ESCWA

Expected duration

3 months

Duties and Responsibilities

Deficient legal frameworks constitute one of the main factors that deepen countries’ gender gap and inequalities. In fact, equality and non-discrimination in legal and justice systems has been identified as one of the main challenges and priority areas by the Arab Member States in the Beijing +25 review. Lebanon is no exception to this rule, with one of the largest gender gaps in the world, ranking 119 out of 146 countries according to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2022. This low ranking is closely linked to the country's low female labour force participation rate associated with various factors among which, in addition to the deficient legal frameworks, discriminatory social norms and caregiving responsibilities traditionally assigned to women are key.

Although the uneven distribution of unpaid care work between men and women is a global phenomenon, it is particularly marked in the Arab States including Lebanon, where women carry out 80 to 90 percent of all unpaid care tasks according to the McKinsey Global Institute, and spend, on average, 4.7 times more time on unpaid care tasks than men according to the ILO.

Within this context, consecutive and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and economic crises in Lebanon have further burdened women with a disproportionate increase in childcare responsibilities leading them to reduce their professional responsibilities and working hours, work part-time and engage in multiple tasks outside the formal workplace such as working from home, or even completely withdraw from the labour force. In the absence of adequate social protection systems, women in Lebanon were consequently the hardest hit economically in terms of job lay-off and wage reduction.

These factors have therefore brought to the forefront the centrality of care work and highlighted the need for comprehensive care policies deemed essential for women’s economic empowerment and gender equality. They have highlighted the importance of family-friendly work policies as more and more evidence is emerging demonstrating that effectively implemented flexible working arrangements and maternity/paternity/family leaves and provisions have positive impacts not only on employees – by giving them the opportunity to maintain a healthy work-life balance - but also on employers - by leading to a more engaged and committed workforce and on the communities in general. Therefore, these policies are crucial for countries to increase work productivity in all settings, which benefits both households and economies.

In light of the above context, with the support of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the Chair of Women and Children Parliamentary Committee submitted a law proposal in March 2023 to amend specific clauses of the labour code to include flexible working arrangements. In July 2023, and in continuation to the work already initiated, the Chair of Women and Children Parliamentary Committee submitted a second law proposal in July 2023 to amend specific clauses of public sector organizational decree and labour and social security laws to increase maternity leave, establish paternity leave, provide for breastfeeding breaks, establish nurseries in the workplace in the public and private sectors and eliminate some discrimination clauses against women in the social security law.

The two law proposals build on the following national consultations and studies:
- A case study on women’s economic empowerment and childcare economy in Lebanon, produced by ESCWA in partnership with the International Labour Organization and in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Public Health;
- Public hearings organized by the Women and Children Parliamentary Committee entitled "Women's Economic Security in Crisis Contexts" in 2021, where the preliminary findings and recommendations of the above case study were presented and discussed;
- A national multi-stakeholder dialogue organized by the Lebanese National Commission for Women's Affairs in partnership with ESCWA and in collaboration with UN Women, the World Bank, and the Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University in June 2022;
- A legal study conducted by ESCWA in partnership with the Lebanese Parliament on the implementation of flexible work arrangements in Lebanon in 2023.

The findings and recommendations of all above mentioned studies and consultations demonstrated that despite the advancements and reforms made over the past few years, important barriers were still to be lifted to ensure an enabling environment for women’s economic participation. The recommendations stressed notably on the importance of adopting flexible working arrangements that are absent from Lebanese policy and legislation.

The two law proposals provide an important opportunity to address the shortcomings in the current legal text in order to make it responsive to ongoing global developments and more effective in alleviating the burden of unpaid care work on women and redistributing it, which can enhance their participation in the labour market. Additionally, they contribute to reducing informal employment by expanding the scope of social protection under flexible working arrangements.

Against this backdrop, ESCWA is supporting the Lebanese Women and Children Parliamentary Committee to develop a clear roadmap for the adoption of the proposals covering all the aspects that may arise throughout their adoption processes, and to provide advice on appropriate legal alternatives necessary to inform these processes.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Under the direct supervision of the Social Affairs Officer responsible for the care economy stream at ESCWA, and overall guidance of the Gender Justice, Population and Inclusive Development cluster leader, the consultant will be responsible for the following tasks and deliverables:

- Undertake a review of existing legal texts and frameworks related to governing flexible working arrangements and family-friendly laws in other countries.
- Based on the above, undertake exploratory research on legal issues, obstacles and/or bottlenecks that might emerge during the adoption processes and prepare briefs detailing the major challenges and obstacles that might hinder them and impede their implementation.
- Based on the above, propose legal alternatives, including laws/clauses to be reformed.
- Identify key stakeholders that need to take part in national discussions which will be organized in this context and advise on the topics to be discussed during the national workshops.
- Participate in the national discussion sessions/workshops which will be organized in this context and document outputs and recommendations.
- Support the awareness campaigns and capacity building pillars undertaken through the processes as deemed necessary.

Outputs will also be reviewed and approved by the Chair of the Lebanese Women and Children Parliamentary Committee.

Qualifications/special skills

A master’s degree or equivalent in Lebanese law studies or any other related area is required.

All candidates must submit a copy of the required educational degree. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
A minimum of 8 years of professional work experience in the legal field is required.
Knowledge of labor and gender laws is required.
A minimum of 3 years of work experience in drafting law proposals is required.
Previous work experience with parliamentarian committees is required
Experience with international organizations on similar issues is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat; and Arabic is a working language of ESCWA.

For this position, fluency in Arabic is required. Knowledge of English is desirable.

Note: “Fluency” equals a rating of ‘fluent’ in all four areas (speak, read, write, and understand) and “Knowledge of” equals a rating of ‘confident’ in two of the four areas.

Additional Information

Recruitment for this position is on a local basis. The incumbent is required to have the legal right to live and work in the specified working location.

No Fee


This job is no longer available.