Adequate Legal and Institutional Framework and Long-term Social Protection Strategies

A human rights-based approach to social protection requires grounding social protection systems in a strong legal and institutional framework. This should ensure both programme stability and the recognition of beneficiaries as rights holders. The need to provide for strong legal frameworks that clearly lay out entitlements, rights and obligations is provided for in Recommendation No. 202 (paras 3b and 7).

In particular, enshrinement in law along with a long-term national action plan for social protection greatly increases the guarantees of social protection for all, and especially for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. It also helps ensure that social protection measures are guarded from political manipulation and that they receive lasting commitment from state authorities, regardless of change of government leaders. An adequate legal framework is one that includes:

  • precise eligibility requirements for social protection programmes;
  • mechanisms to ensure transparency and access to information about available programmes;
  • definition of the various roles and responsibilities of all those involved in implementing the programmes at different levels of government;
  • articulation of the long-term financial requirements, ensuring adequacy and predictability of benefits;
  • accessible complaints and appeal mechanisms; and
  • participation channels for beneficiaries.

A clear institutional framework is essential to enable rights holders to identify duty bearers in charge of specific responsibilities. The institutional framework should facilitate the adequate delivery of social security systems and be administer in a sound, transparent and accountable manner in particular in such a way to allow for financial sustainability in the long-run (ILO Convention No. 102, Articles 71 and 72 and Recommendation No. 202, paras 3j, k, and n).

One key element of an effective institutional framework is a functional financial governance structure. Based on the principles of good governance, set out in ILO Convention No. 102 (Art. 71), the following principles have been identified by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (2011, pp. 180-199):

  1. Social security financing should be sustainable, based on the principle of sustainable financing, and under the general responsibility of the State.
  2. Social security funds should be protected to the best extent possible against mismanagement, cyclical fluctuations and market failures.
  3. The purchasing power of benefits in payment should be maintained by adjusting them to the costs of living.
  4. Financial deficits in relation to social security should be obviated in the long term, through the establishment by the State of a funding plan to assure such solvency.

ILO Recommendation No. 202 (paras 3j, 3k, 11, 12) further specified that national social protection floors should be financed by national resources, yet countries with insufficient economic and fiscal capacities may seek international support to guarantee a basic level of social security for all.

For more on the obligation to adopt and implement a national social security strategy and plan of action under Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), see General Comment 19 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Expert Commentaries

Human Rights in an Age of Austerity: casualty or compass?

Ten years since the global economic crisis, social and human rights protections have fallen victim to austerity measures in countries across the globe. Preventing another “lost decade” will require us to see human rights values not as merely collateral damage of economic policy, but as cogent and universal norms actively guiding tough fiscal dilemmas in […]

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Ghana: The role of Parliament

After adopting the International Conference on Population and Development’s 1994 Programme of Action1 and the 2003 Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa2, how has Ghana fared in realizing access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHRs)? International and regional human rights law enshrines […]

Universal Basic Income – Necessary but not Sufficient?

The world of work is in the early years of a radical technology-driven transformation. In many ways this is not new – technology has always been a key factor in driving productivity, making some jobs obsolete and new ones necessary. Yet the pace of change has sped up since the First Industrial Revolution, with inventions […]

Beyond Addis: Financing social protection in the 2030 Agenda

 In 2015, both the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit resulted in a renewed global commitment to development and poverty eradication. Following the Summit, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This new global development […]

Legal Instruments

Ley de Servicio civil y carrera administrativa.

Establece que todo funcionario o empleado tendrá derecho a gozar de licencia con sueldo por enfermedad, hasta por sesenta días cada año, por calamidad doméstica hasta por ocho días.

Reglamento General de la Ley de Servicio civil y carrera administrativa.

Entiende calamidad doméstica del servidor público el fallecimiento, accidente o enfermedad grave de su cónyuge o de sus parientes hasta el segundo grado de consanguinidad o afinidad, e igualmente los siniestros que afectan la propiedad o los bienes del servidor, gravemente.

Ley 1.145

Crea el Sistema Nacional de Discapacidad (SND), entendido como el conjunto de orientaciones, normas, actividades, recursos, programas e instituciones que permiten la puesta en marcha de los principios generales de la discapacidad.

Decreto núm. 6.690

Dispone que serán beneficiarias del Programa las servidoras públicas federales de la Administración Pública Federal Directa, Autártica y Fundacional. Establece que dicha prórroga se garantizará hasta el final del primer mes después del parto y tendrá una duración de sesenta días.

Employment Act No. 27

Act No. 207 of 2001 to provide for the fixing of wages of workers, the hours of work, their leave and generally for matters pertaining to the welfare of workers in the Bahamas.  

Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102)

A reference for the development of social security systems, Convention No. 102 is the flagship of the up-to-date social security Conventions since it is deemed to embody the internationally accepted definition of the very principle of social security.  Convention No. 102 is unique for both its conceptual formulation of social security, and the guidance it provides for […]

Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202)

Recommendation No. 202 is the first international instrument to offer guidance to countries to close social security gaps and progressively achieve universal protection through the establishment and maintenance of comprehensive social security systems. To this aim, the Recommendation calls for (1) the implementation, as a priority, of social protection floors (SPF) as a fundamental element […]

Legal Cases

Austerity measures that contravene Conventions by reducing social protection and increasing poverty in Greece

Recalling previous recommendations, the Committee observed that the austerity measures in conjunction with the continuous contractions of the economy, employment and public finances posed a threat to the viability of the Greek national social security system, resulting in the impoverishment of the population, thus undermining the application of all accepted parts of Social Security (Minimum […]

Combining constitutional and international standards for social protection resource mobilization in Latvia

Summary: In 2000, twenty Latvian parliamentarians complained to Latvia’s Constitutional Court that certain employers within Latvia were not paying social insurance premiums into a fund for their employees, and that this was a breach of the human right to social security as per Latvia’s constitution as well as Articles 9 and 11 of the International […]

Ensuring mechanisms that protect the right to life against the risk of famine in India

Summary: In 2001 the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties claimed that that recent starvation deaths that occurred in the Indian State of Rajasthan were the result of the State’s failure to release grain stocks in fact kept as a guard against famine, and that this denial amounted to a violation of the human right to […]

Special protection in pension programmes for women in South Africa

Summary: Four male applicants, above the age of 60 but below 65, mounted a constitutional challenge to Section 10 of South Africa’s Social Assistance Act 13 of 2004 and the relevant Regulations, which set the age for accessing an old age grant at 60 for women and 65 for men. The four men contested the […]

Resources

The role of zakat in the provision of social protection: a comparison between Jordan, Palestine and Sudan

Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and considered a religious duty for wealthy people to help those in need through financial or in-kind contributions. In Muslim-majority countries, it has a long tradition of being part of the provision of social welfare. Countries vary significantly in the institutionalisation of zakat, ranging from obligatory […]

Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme (One Pager 398)

Malawi has a population of over 17 million people, 50.5 per cent of whom are poor, and 25 per cent of whom are extremely poor. Some 10 per cent of the total population are thought to be living below the extreme poverty line in households with a high dependency ratio (i.e. three or more dependents […]

A brief history of Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP)

This paper presents some of the challenges the SCTP faced between 2006 and 2016. It starts by presenting the relevant features, actors and episodes of the social protection system for the reader to understand the SCTP and its main operational challenges. It then proceeds to describe the governance and funding changes it underwent from 2006 […]

Labor Institutions and Development Under Globalization

Labor market regulation is a controversial area of public policy in both developed and developing countries. Mainstream economic analysis traditionally portrays legal interventions providing for minimum wages, unemployment insurance and (often only a modicum of) employment protection as ‘luxuries’ developing countries cannot afford. After decades of de-regulatory advice, international financial institutions have recently come to […]

The architecture of digital labour platforms: Policy recommendations on platform design for worker well-being

Digital labour platforms connect workers with consumers of this work and provide the infrastructure and the governance conditions for the exchange of work and its compensation. Yet the architecture, or business model design, of digital labour platforms has important consequences for workers, affecting whether they are empowered or exploited on the platform. This paper explores […]

Towards the Urgent Elimination of Hazardous Child Labour

This report brings together and assesses new research on hazardous child labour, following the ILO’s last report on this subject in 2011. The report demonstrates that we have extensive experience and an ample evidence base to assist us in tackling hazardous child labour.

Paradigm Trap: The development establishment’s embrace of Myanmar and how to break loose

Is it possible for Myanmar to take a path to sustainable development that would avoid the pitfalls of the orthodox development paradigm? This report argues that this is not only necessary but possible.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on his mission to the United States of America (A/HRC/38/33/Add.1)

The Secretariat has the honour to transmit to the Human Rights Council the report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, on his mission to the United States of America from 1 to 15 December 2017. The purpose of the visit was to evaluate, and report to the Human Rights […]

Innovative approaches for ensuring universal social protection for the future of work

Social protection systems around the world face challenges to provide full and effective coverage for workers in all forms of employment, including those in “new” forms of employment. While some emerging work and employment arrangements may provide greater flexibility for workers and employers, they may lead to significant gaps in social protection coverage, at a […]

EU Social Protection Systems Programme (EU-SPS)

The EU Social Protection Systems Programme (EU-SPS) is a 4-year programme supporting ten developing partner country governments and national expert institutions in their efforts to develop inclusive and sustainable social protection systems in close co-ordination with other international partners. Link to website

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