ILO Research Paper Series

Innovative approaches for ensuring universal social protection for the future of work

Abstract - Social protection systems around the world face challenges to provide full and effective coverage for workers in all forms of employment, including those in “new” forms of employment. While some emerging work and employment arrangements may provide greater flexibility for workers and employers, they may lead to significant gaps in social protection coverage, at a time when demands on social protection systems are increasing. It is therefore necessary to strengthen and adapt social protection systems to enable them to continue to fulfil their key role in preventing and reducing poverty, enhancing income security and limiting inequality.

This paper provides a review of innovative approaches that countries have undertaken to close coverage and adequacy gaps, and to adapt social protection systems to changing circumstances and demands through a combination of contributory and non-contributory mechanisms.

The paper focuses in particular on various categories of workers who often face social protection gaps, namely part-time workers, workers on temporary contracts, self-employed workers and those with unclear employment relationships, and workers on digital platforms.