Armenia: ILO social security standards as a guiding framework to implement the human right to social security

On 2 November, representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Republican Union of Employers of Armenia and the Confederation of Trade Unions of Armenia participated in a tripartite meeting to discuss ILO social security standards as a guiding framework to implement the human right to social security.

News | 02 November 2021
Anna Zhamakochyan, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Boris Kharatyan, Deputy Chairman of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Armenia, Gagik Makaryan, Honorary President of the Republican Union of Employers of Armenia and Tigran Shahbazyan, Member of the Tripartite Social Partnership Committee in their opening remarks emphasized the importance of the ILO policy and normative framework for the development of the national social protection policies.

Maya Stern-Plaza, Social Protection Legal and Standards Officer, Social Policy Department, ILO Geneva, presented the architecture of international social security law, focusing on Convention No. 102 and Recommendation No. 202. Worldwide, most countries have social protection systems in place, but large gaps still remain, she said. In some cases, an area of social protection is simply not part of the system, in others, the schemes and programmes reach only a part of the population.  Recent social protection floors diagnostics conducted by UNICEF, the World Bank, UN Women and the ILO in Armenia show that around 40 percent of the population is covered by at least one social protection benefit but there are disparities between age groups, leaving many children and working age people without coverage.

Maya Stern-Plaza stressed that bi-dimensional approach to the implementation of social security standards provides for more extensive coverage, with regards to a number of risks addressed and levels of the benefits. She reminded that the Convention No 102 provides a reference to nine core social security guarantees: medical care, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, old-age benefit, employment injury benefit, family allowances, maternity benefit, invalidity benefit, and survivors’ benefit. These are the risks that all people face during their life and they all can be included in the national social protection strategy.

Anna Zhamakochyan informed that the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is initiating the process of drafting social protection strategy as an umbrella strategy for various sectoral programmes, including the reform of integrated social service agency, human capital development, social housing;  and children’s rights.

Representatives of workers’ and employers’ organizations shared their views regarding access to social protection, specifically to health services, unemployment benefits; occupational accident benefits as well as the adequacy of some benefits. The participants agreed that there is a need for a systemic social dialogue to inform design of national social protection strategy using the international social security standards as a guiding framework.