Extending social security to workers in the informal economy: Lessons from international experience


Module content


Objectives of the guide

  • To provide policy makers, workers’ and employers’ organizations and other stakeholders with a tool that can help them in developing viable policy options to address the multi-fold challenges of extending social protection to workers in the informal economy and facilitating transitions to formality
  • To provide evidence on good practices, challenges and constraints, and address a broad range of relevant aspects, including analysis of needs, adapting social security legislation, compliance and enforcement mechanisms, administrative procedures, benefit design, contribution schedules, service delivery and monitoring mechanisms
  • To reflect specific challenges and good practices for selected sectors and categories of workers (domestic workers, agricultural workers, self-employed workers, workers in small and micro-enterprises, etc.)


Structure of the guide

This guide is organized in eight chapters that address different aspects of the extension of social protection coverage to workers in the informal economy:

  • Chapter 1 starts with an introduction to the topic and the identification of barriers to the extension of social protection coverage;
  • Chapter 2 addresses some of the key elements that should inform national strategies for the extension of coverage to workers in the informal economy;
  • Chapters 3-7 address specific barriers to the extension of coverage, namely barriers related to a lack of awareness and trust (Chapter 3), legal barriers (Chapter 4), administrative barriers (Chapter 5), financial barriers (Chapter 6) and barriers related to weak compliance and incentives (Chapter 7);
  • Chapter 8 concludes with lessons learnt and a discussion of ways forward and policy options to ensure social protection in the context of the future of work.