The ILO Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202)

The Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202) provides guidance to member States in building comprehensive social security systems and extending social security coverage by prioritizing the establishment of national floors of social protection accessible to all in need.

The Social Protection Floors Recommendation complements the existing Conventions and Recommendations. In particular, it assists member States in covering the unprotected, the poor and the most vulnerable, including workers in the informal economy and their families. It thereby aims at ensuring that all members of society enjoy at least a basic level of social security throughout their lives.


Reaffirming that social security is a human right and a social and economic necessity, the Recommendation provides guidance to countries:
  • in establishing and maintaining national social protection floors as a fundamental element of national social security systems;
  • in implementing their floors within strategies for the extension of social security that progressively ensure higher levels of social security to as many people as possible, guided by ILO social security standards.


The Recommendation comprises a set of principles, including the overall and primary responsibility of the State; a rights-based approach based on entitlements prescribed by national law; diversity of methods and approaches; progressive realization; universality of protection based on social solidarity; adequacy and predictability of benefits; protection of rights and dignity of beneficiaries; non-discrimination, gender equality and responsiveness to special needs; financial, fiscal and economic sustainability; transparent, accountable and sound financial management and administration; as well as tripartite participation and consultation with representatives of persons concerned.

Social protection floors and basic social security guarantees

In order to ensure effective access to essential health care and basic income security throughout the life cycle, national social protection floors should comprise at least the following social security guarantees, as defined at the national level:
  • access to essential health care, including maternity care;
  • basic income security for children, providing access to nutrition, education, care and any other necessary goods and services;
  • basic income security for persons in active age who are unable to earn sufficient income, in particular in cases of sickness, unemployment, maternity and disability;
  • basic income security for older persons.