Social protection

Access to adequate social protection is recognized by International labour standards and the UN as a basic right . It is also widely considered to be instrumental in promoting human welfare and social consensus on a broad scale, and to be conducive to and indispensable for fair growth, social stability and economic performance, contributing to competitiveness

Today, only 20 per cent of the world’s population has adequate social security coverage, and more than half lack any coverage at all. They face dangers in the workplace and poor or non-existent pension and health insurance coverage. The situation reflects levels of economic development, with fewer than 10 per cent of workers in least-developed countries covered by social security. In middle-income countries, coverage ranges from 20 to 60 per cent, while in most industrial nations, it is close to 100 per cent.

Social Protection is one of the four strategic objectives of the Decent Work agenda that define the core work of the ILO. Since its creation in 1919, ILO has actively promoted policies and provided its Member States with tools and assistance aimed at improving and expanding the coverage of social protection to all groups in society and to improving working conditions and safety at work.

The ILO has set out three main objectives reflecting the three major dimensions of social protection:
 
  1. Extending the coverage and effectiveness of social security schemes
  2. Promoting labour protection , which comprises decent conditions of work, including wages, working time and occupational safety and health, essential components of decent work
  3. Working through dedicated programmes and activities to protect such vulnerable groups as migrant workers and their families; and workers in the informal economy. Moreover, the world of work's full potential will be used to respond to the AIDS pandemic, focusing on enhancing tripartite constituents' capacity

The Social Protection Floor Initiative

Recognizing the importance of ensuring social protection for all, the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (UNCEB) adopted, in April 2009, the Social Protection Floor Initiative, as one of the nine UN joint initiatives to cope with the effects of the economic crisis. This initiative is co-led by the International Labour Office and the World Health Organization and involves a group of 17 collaborating agencies, including United Nations agencies and international financial institutions.

The Social Protection Floor approach promotes access to essential social security transfers and social services in the areas of health, water and sanitation, education, food, housing, life and asset-savings information. It emphasizes the need to implement comprehensive, coherent and coordinated social protection and employment policies to guarantee services and social transfers across the life cycle, paying particular attention to the vulnerable groups.

Latest

  1. Effective Labour Protection for All: Lessons learned from a synthesis review, 2004–2014 - Executive Summary

    21 May 2015

    Background Paper for the Recurrent Discussion under the ILO Declaration on Social Protection (Labour Protection), 104th Session, 2015.

  2. Employment Situation in Latin America and the Caribbean: Universal social protection in labour markets with high levels of informality

    13 May 2015

    The Employment Situation in Latin America and the Caribbean is a twice-yearly report prepared jointly by the Economic Development Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Office for the Southern Cone of Latin America of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

  3. © Thomas Sennett / World Bank 2015

    Unemployment rate in Latin America and the Caribbean could rise 0.2 percentage point

    13 May 2015

    The ILO and ECLAC forecast that unemployment will reach 6.2% this year, due to an unencouraging economic outlook.

  4. © UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Tsegaye 2015

    Mothers and children need more – not less – social protection

    07 May 2015

    As several countries around the world prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day, two new ILO studies provide new global and country data that point to the urgent need to increase social protection for mothers and children.

  5. Conference on social protection in the post-2015 UN Agenda

    In the context of the importance given by Belgium to social protection in the post-2015 UN negotiations, the Belgian Federal Public Service Social Security will organise on the 27th of April 2015, in cooperation with the International Labour Organization, a conference on the theme "Social Protection in the Post-2015 Agenda". We invite you to Save the date in your agenda.