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Social Protection

Building social protection floors and comprehensive social security systems


Learn more on Social Health Protection in the following additional resources.

NORMLEX is a new information system which brings together information on International Labour Standards (such as ratification information, reporting requirements, comments of the ILO's supervisory bodies, etc.) as well as national labour and social security laws.

NORMLEX has been designed to provide comprehensive and user friendly information on these topics and includes the NATLEX database as well as the information which was previously contained in the former ILOLEX and other databases.

Many countries require neutral, objective advice on strategic or managerial financial and fiscal questions or support in building up national capacities for sound financial design and management of social protection programmes. The ILO's International Financial and Actuarial Service (ILO FACTS) assists government agencies and autonomous social protection organisms in developing their own capacity for quantitative planning and improving the management and governance of their social protection schemes.

ILO FACTS is a public sector advisory group for the exclusive use of national social protection agencies or social security schemes. It is a service that the ILO provides to its constituents. It is highly specialized in the actuarial, financial and fiscal questions of social protection. ILO FACTS is the consulting group with the longest and most extensive international experience in quantitative aspects of social security in the world.


Population projections

ILO-POP produces population forecasts that match the standard UN methodology for demographic projections on the basis of an initial population structure combined with mortality, fertility and migration assumptions. This model is also used as a standard input producer for the ILO actuarial pension and social budget models that require long-term population forecasts. Population forecasting models have recently been elaborated to take into account the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on mortality.



Social budgeting

ILO-SOCBUD consists of four sub-models: the labour force sub-model (ILO-LAB) and the economic sub-model (ILO-ECO) together provide data on employment and earnings to the social expenditure sub-model (ILO-SOC), which provides information on functional expenditures (expenditure by function of social protection) for main social security subsystems and schemes, e.g. social health protection and old-age protection; the fourth sub-model, ILO-GOV, aggregates data for use in government and institutional accounts of the social security system.



Pension model

ILO-PENS is an actuarial pension model that is traditionally used to undertake stand-alone long-term financial and actuarial projections for national pension schemes. It can also be used as an input to ILO-SOCBUD.



Wage distribution

ILO-DIST is developed to generate data on salary distribution. It is used primarily for pension projections but, as social protection systems are redistributive, it is also necessary to take income distribution into account when providing policy advice on the design and financing of such systems.



Health model

As health care systems are so diverse, the ILO does not provide a generic health care financing model. The ILO normally bases on the methodologies mentioned in the book named 'Modelling in heath care finance', based on standard demographic, labour market and economic frames. Health care cost is developed separately for outpatients and inpatients by multiplying the number of covered population, the utilization rate and the unit health care cost per case. The estimated health care cost is also applied to generate inputs for the health part of ILO-SOCBUD.

The Social Security Department has developed a preliminary set of quantitative performance indicators that can be used by managers and supervisory bodies to assess the performance of social security schemes.


The ILO Social Security Inquiry identifies statistical information on social security, including employment-related social security schemes, public health, welfare and anti-poverty programmes and non-public schemes of different types transferring goods, services or cash to poor and vulnerable households. Responding to the lack of social security statistics outside the OECD world, the primary purpose of the Inquiry is not just to collect data but also :

  • to promote common statistical standards, which all institutions administering or supervising social security schemes should follow in order to ensure good governance in the field of social policy,
  • and to assist countries in building their capacity in this field.


The aim of the Social Protection Expenditure and Performance Reviews (SPERs) is to provide detailed information on the performance of national social protection schemes in a given number of countries as well as on the extent of coverage and exclusion from social protection. In the first place, the SPERs provide information about the structure and level of total social expenditure, and establish indicators of system performance with respect to its effectiveness, efficiency, population coverage and the adequacy of benefit levels. Secondly, the SPERs are used to make available internationally comparable statistics on social protection.


Learn more about social health protection