Virtual Roundtable (COVID-19 webinar series)

Social protection responses in the Caribbean to the COVID-19 pandemic


In its 4th Monitor on COVID-19 and the world of work, the ILO has estimated that 20 per cent of the world’s workers lived in countries with required workplace closures for all but essential workers. An additional 69 per cent lived in countries with required workplace closures for some sectors or categories of workers, and a further 5 per cent lived in countries with recommended workplace closures. There is also a decline in working hours of around 10.7 per cent relative to the last quarter of 2019, which is equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs. From a regional perspective, the Americas and Europe and Central Asia present the largest losses in hours worked, 13.1 and 12.9 per cent.

The ILO Brief on social protection responses to the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a wake-up call alerting the global community to the urgency of accelerating progress in building social protection systems, including floors. Policymakers in developing countries should seek to the extent possible to design emergency crisis responses with a longer-term perspective in mind in order to strengthen social protection systems and decent work, including by supporting transitions from the informal to the formal economy. Ensuring an adequate emergency response and developing a longer-term strategy for strengthening social protection systems and crisis-preparedness requires a number of measures:

  • Guarantee access to quality health care by mobilizing additional public funds to boost budgets as part of their emergency response, while safeguarding and extending the coverage of social health protection mechanisms during and beyond the crisis.
  • Enhance income security through cash transfers by increasing benefit levels and extending coverage through existing or new programmes; adapting entitlement conditions, obligations and delivery mechanisms; and ensuring that, where necessary, humanitarian cash transfers complement and further strengthen national social protection systems.
  • Protect workers in the informal economy by pursuing innovative policies to reach them quickly through a combination of non-contributory and contributory schemes and facilitating their transition to the formal economy in the longer term.
  • Ensure the protection of incomes and jobs and promote decent work, by using unemployment protection schemes and other mechanisms to support enterprises in retaining workers and providing income support to unemployed workers, as well as adapting public employment schemes to the pandemic context.
  • Coordinate employment and social protection policies in a more systematic way in order to promote a sustainable recovery.
  • Mobilize resources at the national and global levels on the basis of solidarity and consider a range of options with a view to sustaining and increasing efforts beyond the crisis in order to ensure the sustainable financing of rights-based social protection systems.
  • Seize the opportunity provided by the COVID-19 wake-up call to accelerate building universal social protection systems, including floors.
The roundtable will discuss social protection measures that have been implemented in the Caribbean to cope with the challenges of COVID-19 and identify coverage gaps that need to be addressed.

Date and time

10 June 2020 @ 11.00 am Eastern Caribbean Time (ECT)

How to attend?

The event will take place via Zoom technology. You must pre-register  to receive an invitation to attend .
The Zoom meeting room will open at 10.00 am (ECT) on 10 June 2020, one hour before the event starts, so that participants can join and iron out any connectivity issues.

Participants will be able to post their questions and comments to the panelists via CHAT option only (microphones will be disabled).

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