ILO / SOCIAL PROTECTION GAPS

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14-May-2020 00:01:41
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed devastating gaps in social protection coverage in developing countries, and recovery will only be sustained and future crises prevented if they can transform their ad hoc crisis response measures into comprehensive social protection systems, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). ILO

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STORY: ILO / SOCIAL PROTECTION GAPS
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SOURCE: ILO
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /FRENCH /SPANISH /NATS

DATELINE: 14 MAY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND /FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE – 2016, MONGOLIA

1. Various shots, office for welfare, social insurance and employment services

14 MAY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Ian Orton, Social Protection Department ILO:
“The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that we are only as secure as the most vulnerable among us. And this is why it's so important that people have access to high quality health care and enough income security in order to be able to eat and survive. And this is why universal social protection is so important for recovery from the crisis and for social justice.”

FILE – 2016, MONGOLIA

3. Various shots, office for welfare, social insurance and employment services

14 MAY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

4. SOUNDBITE (French) Christina Behrendt, Head, Social Policy Unit, Social Protection Department, ILO:
“The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that we are only as secure as the most vulnerable among us. And this is why it's so important that people have access to high quality health care and enough income security in order to be able to eat and survive. And this is why universal social protection is so important for recovery from the crisis and for social justice.”
[“La crise du COVID-19 nous a montré que nous peut être en sécurité seulement si les plus vulnérables parmi nous sont bien protégés. C'est son accès à des soins de santé de qualité et une sécurité de leurs revenus qui leur permet de manger et de survivre. C'est pourquoi la protection sociale universelle est si importante pour sortir de la crise et pour la justice sociale. ”]

FILE – 2016, MONGOLIA

5. Various shots, office for welfare, social insurance and employment services

14 MAY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

6. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Victoria Giroud, Social Protection Officer, Social Protection, ILO:
“The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that we are only as secure as the most vulnerable among us. And this is why it's so important that people have access to high quality health care and enough income security in order to be able to eat and survive. And this is why universal social protection is so important for recovery from the crisis and for social justice.”
[“La crisis de COVID-19 ha demostrado que sólo podemos estar seguros si los más vulnerables entre nosotros están bien protegidos si tienen acceso a una atención de salud de calidad y si tienen seguridad de ingresos para poder co-mer y sobrevivir. Por eso la protección universal es fundamental para salir de esta crisis con justicia social.”]

FILE – 2016, MONGOLIA

7. Various shots, street scenes

STORYLINE:

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed devastating gaps in social protection coverage in developing countries, and recovery will only be sustained and future crises prevented if they can transform their ad hoc crisis response measures into comprehensive social protection systems, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Two briefing papers released by the ILO warned that the current gaps in social protection could compromise recovery plans, expose millions to poverty, and affect global readiness to cope with similar crises in future. The papers take a detailed look at the role of social protection measures in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak in developing countries, including the provision of sickness benefits during the crisis.

The first brief titled “Social protection responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries” , describes social protection as, “an indispensable mechanism for delivering support to individuals during the crisis”. It examines the response measures some countries have introduced, including removing financial barriers to quality health care, enhancing income security, reaching out to workers in the informal economy, protecting incomes and jobs, and improving the delivery of social protection, employment and other interventions.

The brief also warns policymakers to avoid a singular focus on COVID-19 because this could reduce the availability of health systems to respond to “other conditions that kill people every day”. It cites the example of how, during the Ebola epidemic, a focus on this virus exacerbated mortality from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

According to data in the brief, 55 per cent of the world’s population – as many as four billion people – are not covered by social insurance or social assistance. Globally, only 20 per cent of unemployed people are covered by unemployment benefits, and in some regions the coverage is much lower.

The other Social Protection Spotlight brief is titled “Sickness benefits during sick leave and quarantine: Country responses and policy considerations in the context of COVID-19 .”

It warns that the COVID-19 health crisis has exposed two main adverse effects of gaps in sickness benefit coverage. Firstly, such protection gaps can force people to go to work when they are sick or should self-quarantine, so increasing the risk of infecting others. Secondly, the related loss of income increases the risk of poverty for workers and their families, which could have a lasting impact.

The brief calls for urgent, short-term measures to close sickness benefit coverage and adequacy gaps, pointing out that this would bring a three-fold benefit: support for public health, poverty prevention, and promotion of the human rights to health and social security.

The proposed measures include extending sickness benefit coverage to all, with particular attention given to reaching women and men in non-standard and informal employment, the self-employed, migrants and vulnerable groups. Other recommendations include increasing benefit levels to ensure they provide income security, speeding up benefit delivery, and expanding the scope of benefits to include prevention, diagnosis and treatment measures, as well as time spent in quarantine or on the care of sick dependents.
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ILO
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unifeed200514e
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2545037