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

Universal Basic Income – Necessary but not Sufficient?

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Beyond Addis: Financing social protection in the 2030 Agenda

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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 Political Economy of Income Distribution: industry level evidence from 14 OECD countries

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Building a Favourable Environment for Institutional Food Procurement Programmes: contributions from Mozambique

The efficiency of institutional food procurement programmes (IFPPs) depends on a series of interconnected conditions to reach their stated goal of linking smallholders with institutional markets and demand (e.g. school meals). These programmes rely on governmental will and the availability of public demand. Furthermore, they require institutional changes and the close coordination of policies and […]

Implementation of Decentralized Food Procurement Programmes and the Impact of the Policy, Institutional and Legal Enabling Environment: the case of PRONAE and PAA Africa in Mozambique

The development and implementation of an efficient institutional food procurement programme (IFPP —which aims to link smallholder producers to institutional markets and promote development of food supply systems—is not a simple or straightforward task. It requires a series of conditions that must be coordinated and matched together. These conditions depend on—but go far beyond—governmental will […]

A Political Economy Analysis of Domestic Resource Mobilization in Uganda

This synthesis paper brings together the research findings from four papers prepared by the Uganda team as a part of the UNRISD Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization for Social Development project, which addresses three broad themes: bargaining and contestation, key relations, and institution building with regard to mobilizing resources for social development. In the paper […]

Social Protection and Climate Change: How did the Philippines combine emergency relief with lasting protection after Haiyan?

In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines’ Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP) provided emergency employment opportunities to affected populations, and affiliated participants to several social insurance schemes. Nearly 80,000 programme participants received immediate relief after the typhoon struck in 2013, and were enrolled in the national health and employment injury insurance schemes.

What Makes Urban Food Policy Happen? Insights from five case studies

Cities are rising as powerful agents in the world of food, says a new report from the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), and they are finding innovative ways to put in place policies that take on challenges in global food systems. The report shows that food policy is no longer the […]

Fiscal Space for Social Protection and the SDGs: Options to Expand Social Investments in 187 Countries (ESS Working Paper No. 48)

It is often argued that social protection is not affordable or that government expenditure cuts are inevitable during adjustment periods. But there are alternatives, even in the poorest countries. This working paper offers eight options that should be explored to expand fiscal space and generate resources to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), realize human […]

The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Commentary

This commentary aims to address the need for scholarly research, reasoned argument, consistent interpretation and creative approaches to advocacy, adjudication and remedies under the new OP-ICESCR to ensure that its promise and purpose are fully realized. It aims to provide commentary that is rigorous from a scholarly perspective but relevant for practice and helpful in […]

Building Social Protection Systems: international standards and human rights instruments

This compendium contains a selection of the most relevant international instruments that establish the human right to social security and provide guidance for comprehensive social security systems at national level. These include the standards and conclusions adopted by the International Labour Organization (hereinafter referred to as ILO) in the field of social security and the […]

Extending Social Security by Anchoring Rights in Law

The South African social protection system is one of the most comprehensive within the region. Its statutory and effective coverage rates are above the region’s average and comparable or even beyond those of other BRICS countries. The comprehensive nature of the system lies in contributory and non-contributory cash and in-kind legal guarantees which form the […]