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Social Protection

Building social protection floors and comprehensive social security systems

Social Protection Monitor

Social Protection Measures throughout the world:

January to June 2019

The Social Protection Monitor presents the latest global social protection policy trends based on media announcements. This update covers January to June 2019.


Social protection measures by region




ALERT! Adjustment reforms:

Increasing contribution ratesIncreasing contribution ratesInIncreasing contribution rate 5
Reducing package of benefits 4
Modifying calculation formulaModifying calculation formulaModifying calculation formula 3
Tightening eligibility criteria 2
Reducing credit / budgetary allocation 1
Suspending or closing existing program 1
Contracting coverage 1
Privatisation or introduction of individual accounts 1


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

For the period January to June 2019, a total of 131 social protection adjustment measures were recorded worldwide. Most were reported in the Americas (31%), with Europe and Central Asia following (28%), then Asia and the Pacific (26%). Africa and the Arab States trail with 14% and 2%, respectively.

Globally, 51% of the measures refer to contributory systems, 33% to non-contributory systems, 16% to both (contributory and non-contributory).

The period shows an overall positive evolution; however, 9 countries announced a total of 18 contractionary measures in the period. Pensions were the most affected. These measures included the raising of retirement age and or modifying (benefit) calculation formula (which includes raising the retirement age), as these pension systems remain challenged by long-term sustainability concerns.

The most common social protection functions were pensions (25%); health (20%); and consolidated measures (several functions) comprised 11% representation; whilst maternity / parental measures as well as family and children both had a prevalence rate of 8%

Most (63%) adjustments were parametric (rule and/or administrative changes); structural adjustments (e.g. the introduction of new schemes and or legislation) had a 37% representation.

Regarding the impact of these announced measures on specific population groups, 11% of the measures included a gender dimension. Concerning poverty, 27% of the measures aim to address the specific needs of the poor.



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 expansionary measures

Increasing benefits 30
Extending coverageExtending Introducing new program or benefits 19
Extending coverage 17
Reducing contribution rate 8
Improving access / administration 7
Increasing the period for receiving the benefits 6
Increasing credit / budgetary allocation 6
Increasing package of benefits 3
Modifying calculation formula 2
Relaxing eligibiliy criteria 2


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 the Philippines, a law institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (a conditional cash transfer program that aims to address poverty as well as children's health and education) was signed into law.
  • In China, the State Council has directed regional governments to reduce the burden of social security contributions on employers, in a bid to reduce business costs and stimulate economic activity. This initiative has been spurred by the ongoing US-China trade war, which has seen China's industrial profits drop to their lowest point since 2011.
  • 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 Nigeria, the federal government has launched the Micro Pension Plan which extends contributory participation to the informal sector. This is indeed an exciting development for Africa's most populous country, boasting a workforce of over 80 million workers.
  • In Côte d'Ivoire, a universal health insurance program has been started in April 2019. The new compulsory national scheme aims to provide low cost access to public health facilities.
  • In Mexico, the iconic Prospera program (formerly known as Progresa and Oportunidas) has been abolished. The conditional cash transfer program was found wanting in terms of its ability to accurately target the truly vulnerable. Funding for this program has since been re-allocated to two universal schemes.
  • In France, the two national pension schemes ARRCO (for blue-collar workers) and AGIRC (for white-collar workers) have merged into a single entity. This development is expected to improve administrative efficiency and reduce costs.
  • In Tunisia, a locally developed mobile phone application called Ahmini ("Protect Me") is being applied to enable female agricultural workers to register remotely for the social security health program.
  • In the United States, California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest public pension fund in the US, has moved to increase its private equity investments as a means to improve investment returns and overcome increasing pension liabilities.
  • In Hungary, the government has announced measures to increase investments in health care, housing and pro-family income support grants in a bid to encourage Hungarians to have more children. Hungary's population is declining by 32,000 a year, which is putting into jeopardy the sustainability of its economic and pension systems.
  • In Kenya, the government has introduced a new contributory civil service pension scheme in a bid to curb the escalating cost of employee retirement benefit costs, which were previously not pre-funded.
  • In Canada, federal government has entered into social security information exchange bi-lateral relationships with over 60 countries to facilitate the timely payment of pensions to seniors living abroad.
  • In Pakistan, the government has recently established a new non-contributory called Hum Qadam program to provide a monthly stipend for the disabled.