COVID-19 Recovering Rights: Topic Seven | Income Support to Protect Rights

Organization(s): CESR
Year: 2020
Language: English
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Main Takeaways

  • Urgent measures are necessary to provide sufficient income to millions of people who cannot work due to pandemicrelated restrictions, so that they can still meet their basic needs. Many of these workers lack social and labor protections.
  •  Basic income schemes vary in type, design and implementation. Those that are universal, durable and unconditional are more rights-aligned. People most vulnerable to destitution at this time should be prioritized – particularly informal workers.
  •  Basic income schemes should be a key component of a more comprehensive social protection system beyond the pandemic. In accordance with human rights standards, governments should mobilize more resources to fund such systems, including through progressive taxation.

Why is this topic important in the context of COVID-19?


The pandemic and the measures taken to contain it have deprived millions of their livelihoods. In most cases, existing social protection systems have proved unable to secure the basic needs of those who cannot work, due to circumstances out of their control. Workers in certain sectors–especially informal workers without social and labor protections –are bearing the brunt. Globally, there are 2 billion such workers, some 60% of the global workforce (…).

This brief is part of a series highlighting how we can leverage the commitments governments have made to guarantee human rights to steer us towards a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. More at

Social Protection and Human Rights