Social security: Issues, challenges and prospects

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International Labour Conference 89th Session 2001

Report VI

Social security: Issues, challenges and prospects

Sixth item on the agenda

International Labour Office Geneva

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Social security: Issues, challenges and prospects

ISBN 92-2-111961-0 ISSN 0074-6681

First published 2001

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ATA

Contents

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CONTENTS

Pages

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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CHAPTER I. The prospects for social security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

The global context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Social security and decent work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Some key issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Social security, employment and development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Extending the personal coverage of social protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Contributing to gender equality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Sustainable financing for social protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Expanding social dialogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

The aim of the report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

CHAPTER II. Social security, employment and development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

The social and economic impact of social security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Social security expenditure, unemployment and growth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Productivity and social stability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Employer contributions and international competitiveness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Unemployment benefits, unemployment and employment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Early retirement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Unemployment benefits and employment promotion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Relevant international labour standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Industrialized countries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Middle-income developing countries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Other developing countries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Conclusions: Linking social security with employment and development policies 23

CHAPTER III. Extending the personal coverage of social protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

The right to social security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 The problem of non-coverage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Policies to achieve the extension of coverage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

The economic, social and political context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Strategies for extending social protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

IV

Social security: Issues, challenges and prospects

CHAPTER IV. Gender equality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

International labour standards and gender equality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 The link between social protection and gender . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 The impact of labour market inequalities on different forms of social protection . 39 Measures to grant equality of treatment in social protection and to promote gender

equality through social protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Survivors' pensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Divorce and pension splitting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Pensionable age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Pension credits for persons with caring responsibilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Sex-differentiated annuity rates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Parental leave and benefits and childcare services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Child benefit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

CHAPTER V. The financing of social security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

Global trends in social security expenditure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Social security and its main challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

Does social security face an ageing crisis? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Or does social security face a globalization crisis? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Has social security reached the limits of its affordability? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

National financing options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Financing systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 The indispensable role of government as ultimate financial guarantor . . . . . 57

Globalization and social security financing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

CHAPTER VI. Strengthening and expanding social dialogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

Actors in social protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Family and local solidarity networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Institutions of civil society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Enterprises and the commercial market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Government and social security institutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 The international community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Partnerships for social protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Enhancing the effectiveness of social security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Towards social protection for all . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

CHAPTER VII. Implications for future ILO work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

Research and policy development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

Contents

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Providing a normative framework through standard setting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Technical cooperation and other means of action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

SUGGESTED POINTS FOR DISCUSSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 STATISTICAL ANNEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

Introduction

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INTRODUCTION

In 1999 the Governing Body of the International Labour Office decided that a general discussion on social security should take place at the International Labour Conference in 2001. The objective of this discussion is to establish an ILO vision of social security that, while continuing to be rooted in the basic principles of the ILO, responds to the new issues and challenges facing social security. In a second stage this may lead to the development of new instruments or to the possible updating or revision of existing standards.1

During the last two decades specific aspects of social security have been discussed at the International Labour Conference on various occasions. Most recently, in 2000, the Conference looked closely at the subject of maternity benefits when it revised the Maternity Protection Convention (Revised), 1952 (No. 103), and Recommendation (No. 95). Unemployment benefits were on the agenda in 1987 and 1988 when the Employment Promotion and Protection against Unemployment Convention, 1988 (No. 168), was discussed and adopted. In 1987 the Social Security (Seafarers) Convention (Revised) (No. 165) was adopted. The special needs of migrants were taken into account with the adoption in 1982 of the Maintenance of Social Security Rights Convention (No. 157).

However, it was in the 1950s -- with the adoption in 1952 of the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention (No. 102) -- and the 1960s -- with the adoption of a series of superior standards -- that the Conference dealt with the broad range of benefits provided by social security.

The last opportunity that the Conference had to consider social security as a whole was at the 80th Session in 1993 in the discussion of the Report of the Director-General, Social insurance and social protection. That discussion confirmed the bleak picture concerning the developing countries painted in the Report. The unfavourable situation of women with regard to social protection was emphasized, as was the social distress which had resulted from structural adjustment policies. Some delegates had found the Report's analysis too optimistic with respect to the industrialized countries, noting that social protection was deteriorating, very often at the expense of the most vulnerable groups of the population. The social problems in the economies in transition were stressed: to ensure a smooth economic transformation and the development of democracy, it was vital to strengthen social protection. Many spoke about the relationship between economic growth and social protection, but it was clear that views differed considerably on this subject.

The Governing Body has identified a number of key issues that should be taken into account in the general discussion in 2001. These include: the interconnections between social security, employment and development; extension of the personal coverage of social protection; gender equality; the financing of social security; expanding

1 See ILO: Governing Body document GB.274/3, 274th Session, Geneva, March 1999.

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