You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser

Legal base and framework

Updated by Clara van Panhuys on 10.06.2015

The Social Protection Floor concept is based on shared principles of social justice and is grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 (UDHR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 (ICESCR), ILO Conventions on Social Security, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other human rights instruments. It reflects the call of the UDHR for adequate life standards, access to health, education, food, housing and social security. The right to social security in itself is recognized as a human right for example, in article 22 and 25 UDHR and article 9 ICESCR.  Moreover, the social protection floor concept enables the concrete realization of the respective human rights.

The achievement of social security as a human right represents a fundamental part of the ILO’s Constitution and mandate.

The Declaration of Philadelphia (1944) specifically refers to the ILO’s obligation to further “...the extension of social security measures to provide a basic income to all in need of such protection and comprehensive medical care”. More recently, the ILO member states’ governments and social partners adopted at the International Labour Conference the Declaration of Social Justice for a Fair Globalization (2008) and the Global Jobs Pact (2009).

  • The Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization (2008) establishes a new foundation on which the ILO can effectively support the efforts of its constituents to promote and achieve progress and social justice through the four strategic objectives of the ILO through the Decent Work Agenda – promotion of fundamental rights, employment creation, social protection and social dialogue.

  • The Global Jobs Pact (2009) is the ILO’s crisis response framework designed to guide national and international policies aimed at stimulating economic recovery, generating jobs and extending social protection for all. The Global Jobs Pact specifically calls on countries to give consideration to build “adequate social protection for all, drawing on a basic social protection floor including: access to health care, income security for the elderly and persons with disabilities, child benefits and income security combined with public employment guarantee schemes for the unemployed and working poor.” It further urges the international community to provide development assistance, including budgetary support, to build up a  social protection floor on a national basis.

  • In 2011, the International Labour Conference – the governments, employers and workers of the ILO’s 183 member States -, came out with a resolution and strong conclusions regarding the extension of social security to all through nationally defined social protection floors within progressively comprehensive social security systems.

  • In June 2012, the International Labour Conference adopted the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202) that provides guidance to Member States, so as to ensure that all members of society enjoy at least a basic level of social security throughout their lives.♦


Main Resources


Social security and the rule of law
ILO, 2011