ASEAN-ILO/Japan Project

ILO/Japan-ASEAN Unemployment insurance Project (2011-2013)


The project aimed to provide technical assistance with the ILO expertise to the ASEAN countries to design and set-up measures to guarantee income replacement to the unemployed and vulnerable workers, and decent re-employment opportunities.

The Project comprised three components:

I) The first component conducted research on specific issues related to unemployment protection in the region, and documents experiences on UI, income security and activation policies for both the formal sector employees and the informal economy workers;
II) The second component provided technical assistance to fortify the UI scheme in Viet Nam;
III) The third component included capacity building activities, expert meetings,  study visits aiming to build UI/EI expertise network among the ASEAN members states.



Summary Project Evaluation

Third donor's review meeting: Closing of Phase I (2011-2013)

Regional capacity building and awareness raising on unemployment protection

The project organized a series of regional events:

ASEAN tripartite meetings

The ASEAN Ministries or Labour, Workers and Employers' representatives met in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, on 20-22 March 2012 and reaffirmed their commitment to extend social protection and in particular improving unemployment protection in ASEAN.

Link to Seminar documents

Report of the seminar

Study visits

The project helped organizing two study visits for ASEAN delegates to learn from Japan and Thailand experience in implementing unemployment insurance and active labour market policies.

Regional course and guidelines for the design and implementation of unemployment protection programmes

Capitalizing on three year technical cooperation, the project developed some guidelines, that can also be used as training material, to assist policy makers and social partners of the ASEAN countries in the design and implementation of an unemployment protection programme. The material was tested during two regional courses in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2013 and Malacca, Malaysia in 2015.

List of experts on unemployment protection in ASEAN

Finally, the project has generated a database of experts and resource persons knowledgeable on unemployment protection. These experts and resource persons can be called upon for technical cooperation, and knowledge and practice sharing events.

To access the database of experts, click here.

Selection of initiatives in ASEAN countries sponsored by the ILO/Japan project:

Viet Nam

The unemployment insurance scheme started in January 2009, with the first unemployment benefits paid on 1 January 2010. Despite the fast increase in the number of insured workers (8.4 million in June 2013) and UI beneficiaries (over 340,000 in June 2013), statistics also show that only less than 2 per cent of unemployed beneficiaries returned to work prior to the end of the benefit entitlements.

The ILO/Japan Project provided technical assistance to help MOLISA overcoming some of the shortcomings of the UI legislation, policies and operations.

Read more about the project in Viet Nam.



As part of the policy measures for intensifying human capital development, the 2010 New Economic Model (NEM) includes various policy measures that will contribute to increased flexibility in hiring and firing workers. To mitigate the social and financial impact on retrenched workers the NEM recommends “enhancing the workers safety net through the introduction of unemployment insurance" which will integrate upgraded employment services as well as up-skilling and retraining programmes.

The Government of Malaysia has requested the ILO's technical assistance to support and facilitate the design of an unemployment insurance system (project funded by the Government of Malaysia). This system will aim at providing adequate income-security and facilitating re-employment of those unemployed.

Read more about the project in Malaysia.



In the Philippines, the introduction of an unemployment benefits scheme has been identified as a priority of the Labor and Employment Plan (2011-2016) in view of building a more comprehensive workers’ protection system. Preliminary feasibility assessments have been already conducted and a consensus is reached on the importance of introducing unemployment insurance.

In November 2012, Manila hosted a Round Table on the design of unemployment insurance systems during which experts from different ASEAN countries came to share their experience.


Weber, A. (unpublished): Social protection in case of unemployment in the Philippines



In March 2011, the government adopted the National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) that provides with a vision to develop a coherent social protection system in a phased approach, starting with the establishment of a social protection floor for all those in need of protection and ensuring that more and more people can enjoy progressively higher levels of benefits.

The implementation of the NSPS started with a four years (2011-2015) pilot-testing phase at national level and sub-national levels, in two provinces, Siem reap and Banteay Meanchey. In support of the pilot phase, and in line with recommendations of previous assessments that emphasize the importance of improving the administrative capacities of the institutions that deliver social protection benefits, the ILO and CARD have proposed the establishment of an integrated Social Service Delivery Mechanism (SSDM) which is a one stop shop for social protection and employment services.

On 29-30 May 2013, the Royal Government of Cambodia hosted a technical workshop on integrating social services and the delivery of social protection floors. The seminar benefited from experiences of various ASEAN countries, as well as worldwide experience.

More about the Workshop.