Workers carry wood for burning ahead of Labor Day in Zahrani, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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Qassem, 40, has worked in his Hamra shop for the past four years.Unlike the small businesses and informal sector workers who spoke to The Daily Star, Qassem maintains the importance of the holiday in principle, though he doesn't plan to take the day off and celebrate. Pension reform has long been a contentious issue, and last year – before the Cabinet was demoted to caretaker status – it was within reach for private sector workers, with a draft law devised by the government, the ILO and the World Bank.Currently, Lebanon operates an end-of-service indemnity program under which retirees receive a one-off payment amounting to one month for each year worked.Though private sector employees are insured under the NSSF, those working for the informal sector have no insurance apart from ad hoc payments and government cash transfers.
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