Social security

Maternity cash benefits for workers in the informal economy

The brief shares successful country experiences in extending maternity protection to workers in the informal economy including universal maternity coverage of Mongolia. It also highlights the ILO standards on maternity benefits for workers in the informal economy.

Maternity protection prevents women and children from economic hardships and health risks during maternity. Only 28 per cent of those in employment are effectively protected by cash benefits in the event of maternity. Most of those uncovered are in the informal economy. Social insurance schemes and tax-funded cash transfer schemes have the potential to reach out to women working in the informal economy provided that they are carefully implemented and take into account their contributory capacities, characteristics, circumstances and needs. ILO standards, including the Maternity Protection Convention (No. 183) and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 191), the Social Protection Floors Recommendation (No. 202), and the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation (No. 204), provide guidance for the extension of maternity protection for workers in the informal economy.