Universal Basic Income proposals in light of ILO standards: Key issues and global costing (ESS ─ Working Paper No. 62)

Organization(s): ILO
Author: Andrés Acuña-Ulate, Christina Behrendt, Isabel Ortiz, Quynh Anh Nguyen
Year: 2018
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This paper reviews proposals for a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in light of ILO standards. Some UBI proposals have the potential to advance equity and social justice, while others may result in a net welfare loss. The ILO Social Protection Floors Recommendation (No. 202) includes a number of principles which are highly relevant to guide the debate on UBI, namely: (i) adequacy and predictability of UBI benefits to ensure income security, set at least at the national poverty line; (ii) social inclusion, including of persons in the informal economy; (iii) social dialogue and consultation with stakeholders; (iv) enactment of national laws regulating UBI entitlements, including indexation of benefits; (v) coherence with other social, economic and employment policies, and (vi) sustainable and equitable financing. The impact of a UBI on poverty and inequality depends on the level of benefits and the source of funding. Based on these principles, the paper shows that some models of UBI can be in accordance with ILO standards, while others are not.

Related Principles

Universality of Protection

States parties to major human rights instruments related to economic, social and cultural rights such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) have an immediate minimum core obligation to ensure the satisfaction of, at the very least, minimum essential levels of all economic, social and cultural rights such as the right […]

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