2017-2018 defined as the sum of the policies implemented






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Ate? No:2325819




January, 2018


study aims to make a short and basic outlook about the approach of
International Labour Organization to social security. In first phase, a brief
introduction of International Labour Organization and context of social
security will be made. Then, some fundamental conventions and recommendations
adopted by International Labour Organization to extend and promote social
security will be mentioned. Lastly, some latest developments in social security
area will be included.

Brief Introduction of International Labour
Organization (ILO)

The ILO was founded in 1919 with the Treaty of
Versailles with the belief that a universal and lasting peace could only be
built on social justice1 and it became the specialized agency of United
Nations in 1946.

The ILO has a three-partied structure which consists
of the representatives of the governments, employees and employers which we
understand better the importance attached by ILO to social dialogue. The ILO
has three organs which are International Labour Conference, the Governing Body
and the International Labour Office and which fulfill the main tasks of the

The ILO is engaged with a lot of areas regarding
labour which it sets a series of international labour standards through
conventions and recommendations. Contracting States have to meet the
requirements of the ILO conventions which they ratified and submit periodical
reports including their fulfillment to the ILO.

Social protection and particularly social security is
one of the areas which ILO sets policies and standards to be implemented in
Contracting States.

The ILO and Social Security

Social security can be defined as the sum of the
policies implemented economically and socially to protect every individual in
the society against different social risks and to propose a level of
subsistence compatible with human dignity by assisting poor and needy people.
Those risks and situations which people may encounter through their life are such
as unemployment, disability, old age, diseases, old age, work injury,
occupational diseases, maternity and death of the main breadwinner of the
family. Normally, people should be able to get access to protection and assistance
in such situations.

On the other hand, providing people with adequate
social protection contributes to reducing poverty and alleviating inequalities.
It has a significant role in realizing inclusive economic growth.

However, according to ILO’s estimation, throughout the
world, only twenty per cent of the people are able to enjoy adequate social
security and half of the world cannot utilize from any kind of social security

In preamble part of its constitution dated 1919, ILO
states the situations related to the provision of social security to approve its
constitution: “…….the prevention of unemployment, the protection of the
worker against sickness, disease and injury arising out of his employment, the
protection of children, young persons and women, provision for old age and
injury, protection of the interests of workers when employed in countries other
than their own…. “3

The ILO, since its foundation in 1919, has been
setting out some standards and publishing recommendations in order to extend
the social security coverages in 187 member countries. The ILO has adopted 224
conventions and published 195
recommendations regulating social security since its foundation. Those
conventions and recommendations are generally about issues like income
security, work accidents and occupational diseases, equality of treatment, old
age, sickness, invalidity, survivors, unemployment, migrants’ pension rights,
invalidity, medical care benefits.

The ILO defined “social security” as a basic human
right in the Declaration of Philadelphia (1944)6 and continued its efforts to promote social security
in following years through its conventions and recommendations.

One of the fundamental conventions approved by the ILO
in social security area is the “Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention,
1952 (No. 102)”. This Convention arranges general principles of social
insurances and social benefits. The social risks that should be covered are set
as medical aid for diseases, financial aid for diseases, unemployment, old age,
work injury and occupational diseases, maternity, disability, death and family
benefits. Each Member State which will approve the Convention, are kept liable
to provide protection against minimum three of those risks. Besides, it is
obliged that minimum one of the risks of work injury and occupational diseases,
unemployment, old age and disability has to be among those three risks.7

In 1999, through a report by former General Director
of ILO, Juan Somavia to International Labour Conference, the term “decent work”
was introduced into literature of social protection and ILO. There were four
strategic objectives of this ideal: employment, social protection, workers’
rights and social dialogue. Social security composes one of the pillars of that

In 2008, International Labour Conference adopted the
“Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization”. Through this
Declaration, the ideal of “decent work” was reaffirmed and it was expressed
that members were expected to pursue policies based on the strategic objectives
which are employment, social protection, workers’ rights and social dialogue.8

On the basis of the reality that only one in five
people has adequate social security coverage in the world and in order to cover
the other –uncovered- people in terms of social protection, governments,
employers’ and workers’ organizations asked the ILO to launch a “Global
Campaign on Social Security and Coverage for All” at the International Labour
Conference held in June 2001.

The General Conference of ILO reconfirmed that the social
security is a human right in its session in 2012 and adopted the “Social
Protection Floors Recommendation Nr. 202”. 9

During its
100th session in 2011, International Labour Conference adopted a
two-dimensional (horizontal and vertical) strategy of which purpose is the
rapid implementation of national protection floors. Those national floors
include basic social security protection ensuring access to income security and
health care at least at a minimum level (horizontal dimension) defined by
nations in accordance with the “Social Protection Floors Recommendation Nr. 202” and thus aiming at
alleviating poverty and social exclusion. As for vertical dimension, the target
is to guarantee the achievement of higher levels of protection in accordance
with “Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102)”.10

The ILO’s commitment to building social
security systems is also reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
The goals of the Agenda related to the social protection includes coverage of
poor and vulnerable people against economic shocks; universally provided health
programs against health shocks and access to quality health care services.

The ILO also attaches importance to the
monitoring of social protection schemes around the globe. And for this aim, the
ILO collects and analyses quantitative information which can be reached via
“ILO Social Security Inquiry” and it is open to access of policy makers and

3.      Latest Developments

The ILO, from time to
time, makes cooperation with other international organizations in order to
realize its goals and objectives about extensive social security coverage for
all. In September 2016, World Bank and ILO have initiated a new “Global
Partnership for Universal Social Protection” which aims at expanding social
protection measures worldwide in order to combat poverty and increasing income

In November 2017, the ILO
has published a “World Social Protection Report” which includes a comprehensive
assessment of the current situation of social protection systems around the
world. The report also provides information about the progress in expanding
social protection and gaps and challenges to the right to social security.14

In December 2017, ILO has
launched a global appeal to receive donations to support social protection
floors in low income countries and contribute to build sustainable social
protection systems for people who are excluded from social security benefits.15

The ILO, in its
publication dated on 9th January 2018, emphasized on the importance attached to
the social protection of domestic workers.16

4.      Conclusion

The ILO, since its
foundation in 1919, has been continuing its efforts in order to support the
member States to extend the coverage and build their social protection systems.
The ILO adopts a series of internationally approved social security standards
for this aim with the motivation and thought that the social protection
measures support the realization of human right to social security while contributing
to decreasing poverty and inequality.










7 Anadolu Üniversitesi yay?n? No:1574, Sosyal
Güvenlik Hukuku; s.22

8 http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=





13 http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2016/09/21/world-bank-ilo-announce-new-push-for-universal-social-protection


15 http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_614122/lang–en/index.htm