Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202)

Year: 2012

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 of national social security systems and as a starting point for countries that do not have a minimum level of social protection; and (2) the extension of social security with a view to progressively ensure higher levels of social security to as many people as possible according to national economic and fiscal capacity and as guided by Convention No. 102 and other ILO social security standards.

Social protection floors should comprise at least four basic social security guarantees including access to essential health care and basic income security for children, persons of active age who are unable to earn sufficient income, and older persons and should be set at a level that allows people to live in dignity.  Through the social protection floors concept, Recommendation No. 202 provides the minimum core content of the human right to social security. A major achievement of Recommendation No. 202 is the policy guidance it offers States to give effect to their general and overall responsibility to establish and maintain these comprehensive social security systems. It does this through a set of principles that provide instructions for the design and implementation of social security programs. These guiding principles intentionally echo both fundamental human rights principles but also core principles related to the good governance, delivery and financing of social security systems.

Link to Recommendation


Related Principles

Adequacy of Benefits

From a rights-based perspective, the level of benefits provided must be adequate. According to the CESCR’s General Comment 19 (para 22), “Benefits, whether in cash or in kind, must be adequate in amount and duration in order that everyone may realize his or her rights to family protection and assistance, an adequate standard of living […]

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. […]

Equality and Non-discrimination

Non-discrimination and equality are core elements of the international human rights normative framework. Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that every human being is entitled to all rights and freedoms “without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, […]

Ensure Meaningful and Effective Participation

Meaningful and effective participation of rights holders must be a key component of any social protection system. This is what builds trust and public support behind schemes and ensures that there is a sense of ownership. The participation of right holders is important during the social protection policy making processes but also as regards the […]

Social Protection and Human Rights