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Social Protection Monitor

Social Protection Measures throughout the world:

January to December 2018

The Social Protection Monitor presents the latest policy trends based on media announcements on social protection measures. This update covers January to December 2018.

Social protection measures by region



ALERT! Adjustment reforms:

Privatization or introduction of individual accounts  6
Contracting coverage  5
Increasing contribution rates  5
Modifying calculation formula  3
Increasing retirement age  3
Rationalization and narrowing of programmes or benefits  3
Tightening eligibility criteria  2
Freezing indexation  2
Merging of several programmes  2
Suspending or closing existing scheme  2


More information on adjustment measures:

The Decade of Adjustment: A Review of Austerity Trends 2010-2020 in 187 Countries

Social protection global policy trends 2010-2016


Developments by components of the social protection floor 

Social protection measures by country


Summary of trends

From January to December 2018, a total of 260 social protection reform measures were announced worldwide. A large part of the measures was concentrated in Europe and Central Asia (33 per cent), the Americas (27 per cent) and Asia and the Pacific (25 per cent).

The period shows an overall positive evolution. However, 34 countries announced a total of 45 measures of contraction. Pensions were the most affected, with 13 per cent of all contractionary measures on privatization or introduction of individual accounts, 11 per cent on contracting coverage, and also 11 per cent on increasing contribution rates.

Globally, 43 per cent of the measures refers to non-contributory systems and 55 per cent to contributory ones. The majority of the adjustments in social protection systems were parametric adjustments (78 per cent), while most structural reforms were expansionary (83 per cent of the total of structural measures).

The most cited social protection functions were measures consisting of pensions (41 per cent), followed by health (18 per cent), labour market (10 per cent), and maternity/parental benefits (10 per cent). The leading trend is increasing benefits (16 per cent) and introducing new schemes or benefits (16 per cent), followed by extension of coverage (9 per cent), and improvement in access and administration (8 per cent).

Regarding the impact on specific population groups, about 17 per cent of the measures identified included a gender dimension and 3 per cent were applied to address specifically the needs of the poor or indigent.



ILO’s Social Protection Monitor is based on media/news published online. The Monitor tracks announcements of social protection measures, defined as any policy decision that affects the functioning of a social protection system, from minor parametric adjustments to major developments and reforms, as well as social subsidies. The Monitor is a useful source for addressing the information gap since updates to the comprehensive global social protection statistics reported in the ILO Social Security Inquiry take years to compile. Note that the Monitor is biased given that governments do not always announce, and often underreport, contraction/adjustment measures. While the Monitor provides the most comprehensive list of announced social protection measures and a glimpse at present global trends, it does not replace the thorough analysis provided by the ILO’s Social Security Inquiry and the World Social Protection Report. For a full list of measures by country, click here

Top ten measures

Increasing benefits 41
Introducing new schemes or benefits 41
Extending coverage 24
Improving access/administration 20
Increasing credit/budgetary allocations 14
Increasing the period for receiving the benefits 13
Modifying calculation formula 11
Privatization or introduction of individual accounts  6
Increasing package of services  6
Increasing contribution rates  5


Developments by type of social protection scheme


Measures classified by social protection functions



See more:

Global Social Protection Monitor 2010-2018

Social Protection:Data and Indicators

WSPR 2017-2019



  • In Brazil, an increase in maternity leave from 120 days to 180 days was announced. However, facing raising tensions, the government withdrew the pension reform proposal, which would increase the minimum retirement age and the minimum contribution period.
  • In Chile, the government proposed reforms would introduce employer contributions to employees’ compulsory defined contribution (DC) individual retirement accounts. The solidarity pensions fund (means-tested retirement supplements for low-income retirees) would have increased government funding.
  • In China, the government is increasing subsidies by 19 per cent this year for the Serious Illness Social Insurance programme, which covers more than 20 million people. In August, the government implemented the Central Adjustment System to support underfunded pension funds.
  • In Congo, the government is strengthening the health system through the creation of new health districts and the adoption of essential service packages. Free caesarean section, major obstetric interventions, malaria for children aged 0-15, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS will also be included,  with the aim of expanding coverage of health care and services for all sectors of society.
  • In Georgia, a new public retirement savings plan based on individual retirement accounts was announced. Referred to as the “Accumulated Pension System” (APS), it is scheduled to launch on January 1, 2019, as a supplement to social security’s modest flat-rate retirement pensions (180 Georgia lari a month; roughly U.S.$70). The system will be administered by the Pension Agency of Georgia (PA).
  • In India, the government plans to launch the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) which will significantly increase health care facilities, particularly those in smaller towns and villages.
  • In Jordan,  paternity leave for temporary workers was approved. However, large demonstrations shook several Jordanian cities in response to planned tax increases, which would raise employee contributions by at least 5 per cent.
  • In Kyrgyzstan, an allowance for childbirth was introduced but the universal child benefit is being targeted to the poor.
  • In Lithuania, a bill would largely eliminate employers' social security contributions while doubling them for employees, as part of a shift from a single flat-rate income tax to a two-tiered progressive income tax system. In addition, employees under the age of 40 would be automatically enrolled in the current system of individual retirement accounts.
  • In Mongolia, the universal child benefit has been constantly put under pressure to either abolish it or target the scheme.
  • In Nicaragua, announced measures to raise pension contribution rates and divert pension benefits from medical care were cancelled after an unleashed wave of violent protests, looting and clashes with police that left at least 25 dead.
  • In Portugal, the government has announced an extraordinary increase in pensions in order to complete compensation for the loss of purchasing power caused by the suspension of the pension update plan between 2011 and 2015, reversing an austerity measure.
  • In Romania, approved legislation shifted nearly all employer social security contributions to employees, resulting in a reduction in net pay for employees at current rates of gross pay.
  • In the Russian Federation, a series of measures were announced to enhance child and family benefits, such as doubling benefits for children with disabilities and improving childcare facilities. However, despite strong protests and opposition, a proposed pension reform to raise the retirement age (from 60 to 65 for men and from 55 to 63 for women) advances.
  • In the United Kingdom, low-income families are losing their child benefits. Eligibility criteria will be restricted for all new benefit claims. In November, the government equalized the State Pension Age for Men and Women to 65.