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

Year: 1952

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 establishing social security systems.It sets out, into a single, comprehensive and legally binding instrument, the minimum standards for each of the nine branches of social security (medical care, sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, old-age benefit, employment injury benefit, family benefit, maternity benefit, invalidity benefit, survivors’ benefit) and places them under the principles for good and sustainable governance.

Minimum objectives are set for each contingency with regard to:

  • a minimum percentage of the population protected in case of occurrence of one of the contingencies;
  • a minimum level of benefits to be provided in case of occurrence of one of the contingencies; and
  • conditions for and the periods of entitlement to the prescribed benefits.

These minimum objectives should be reached by the application of the key principles which have to be complied with irrespective of the type of scheme established:

  • The general responsibility of the State for the due provision of the benefits and the proper administration of the institutions and services concerned in securing the provision of the benefit.
  • The participation of the persons protected in the management of social security schemes.
  • The collective financing of social security schemes.
  • The guarantee of defined benefits by the State.
  • The adjustment of pensions in payment.
  • The right of appeal in case of refusal of the benefit or complaint as to its quality or quantity.

Based on the notion that each country should have the discretion to determine how best to ensure its income security, thereby reflecting in its choices its social and cultural values, history, institutions and level of economic development, Convention No. 102 contains flexibility clauses allowing ratifying member States to gradually attain universal coverage, both as regards the number of contingencies covered and persons protected. In addition, Convention No. 102 also provides for flexibility and guidance as regards the type of schemes member States may establish for the implementation of the Convention (universal schemes, contributory social insurance schemes, means-tested social assistance schemes).

The Conventions and Recommendations adopted by the ILO following Convention No. 102 draw on the social security model established by this instrument. They also provide a framework that raises the level of protection in terms of the population covered for the different branches, the level of the benefits and the types of benefits granted.

Link to Convention

List of ratifications

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