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

Beclouded Work in Historical Perspective

The Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal is publishing a collection of papers on the “gig” economy and labor law, edited by Valerio De Stefano of the International Labor Organization. This paper places what is seen as an innovation in a larger historical context. It compares “gig” work to the putting-out system that was a feature of […]

Uber, Taskrabbit, & Co: Platforms as Employers? Rethinking the Legal Analysis of Crowdwork

One of the key assumptions underpinning the rise of ‘crowdsourced work’ – from transport apps including Uber to online platforms such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk – is the assertion put forward by most platforms that crowdworkers are self-employed, independent contractors. As a result, individuals might find themselves without recourse to worker-protective norms, from minimum wage and working time law […]

Commoditized Workers. Case Study Research on Labour Law Issues Arising from a Set of ‘On-Demand/Gig Economy’ Platforms

In the framework of the so-called “sharing economy”, the number of on-demand companies matching labour supply and demand is on the rise. These schemes may enlarge opportunities for people willing to find a job or to top up their salaries. Despite the upsides of creating new peer marketplaces, these platforms may also be used to […]

The Rise of the ‘Just-in-Time Workforce’: On-Demand Work, Crowd Work and Labour Protection in the ‘Gig-Economy’

The so-called “gig-economy” has been growing exponentially in numbers and importance in recent years but its impact on labour rights has been largely overlooked. Forms of work in the “gig-economy” include “crowd work”, and “work-on-demand via apps”, under which the demand and supply of working activities is matched online or via mobile apps. These forms […]

Introduction: Crowdsourcing, the Gig-Economy and the Law

The Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal is publishing a collection of papers on the gig-economy and labor law, edited by Valerio De Stefano (International Labour Office and Bocconi University). This collection, entitled “Crowdsourcing, the Gig-Economy and the Law”, gathers contributions from several labour lawyers and social scientists to provide a comprehensive analytical overview of […]

The Future of Work in the ‘Sharing Economy’. Market Efficiency and Equitable Opportunities or Unfair Precarisation?

This critical and scoping review essay analyses digital labour markets where labour-intensive services are traded by matching requesters (employers and/or consumers) and providers (workers). It focuses on digital labour markets which allow the remote delivery of electronically transmittable services (i.e. Amazon Mechanical Turk, Upwork, Freelancers, etc.) and those where the matching and administration processes are […]

Automation and Inequality: The changing world of work in the global South

This paper examines the relationship between rapid technological change, inequality and sustainable development. It asks how development processes can be shaped to provide decent, sustainable and inclusive work opportunities in low-income developing countries. In discussing this policy challenge, the paper seeks to stimulate thought and debate among a broad audience of researchers, civil society organisations […]

How Technology Affects Jobs

Developing Asia is forecast to expand by 6 percent in 2018, and by 5.9 percent in 2019. Excluding Asia’s high-income newly industrialized economies, growth should reach 6.5 percent in 2018 and 6.4 percent in 2019. With oil prices edging up and robust consumer demand continuing, inflation is poised to pick up after dipping slightly last year. Consumer […]

Exporting, Importing and Wages in Africa: Evidence from matched employer-employee data

This paper studies wages in exporting and importing firms of the manufacturing sector in Africa, using firm-level data and employer-employee-level data from the World Bank Enterprise Surveys. We find that exporters pay on average higher wages to their workers than non-exporters. Gains from economies of scale explain the positive wage premium of exporters, rather than […]

The Future of Work: A Literature Review

An enormous amount of literature has emerged over the last few years in the context of the “future of work”. Academics, think tanks and policy makers have fuelled rich discussions about how the future of work might look and how we can shape it. Indeed, labour markets in developing and developed countries are likely to […]

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