Social security in Sri Lanka and the Maldives

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The activities relating to social security is operationalized through priority outcome 3, Social Inclusion and the establishment of a social protection floor of the Decent Work Country Programme for Sri Lanka 2013-2017.

Social security is at the heart of national and global development strategies for poverty reduction and is vital for the well-being of all workers, their families and the entire community. It is a basic human right and is an integral part of government social policy, and an important tool to prevent and alleviate poverty.

Given the trend of increased labour market mobility and flexibility within a globalized economy, it has increasingly become necessary for countries to have adequate social protection mechanisms in place to ensure that such flexibility is balanced with adequate security. Amongst other things it includes unemployment and redundancy benefits, pension and provident fund schemes, social welfare schemes and measures to safeguard occupational health and safety.

Although Sri Lanka has a reputation for providing its citizens with a higher level of social protection, some gaps remain in this area. The absence of an unemployment protection scheme and the large informal sector that is not covered by any form of social security scheme is a major concern.

Sri Lanka has been considering several modes of unemployment insurance schemes with the technical assistance from the ILO with a view to implementing a comprehensive plan for it’s’ workforce has been envisaged. Consequently, technical capacities of key actors, social partners and policy makers for implementation of various health and social security schemes, especially for the informal economy workers has been envisaged.

ILO will work with the Government of Sri Lanka and other national institutions and social partners to design innovative strategies, policies and programmes aimed at an effective system of social protection that has a wider outreach and extending social protection to the excluded and the poor.