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Defining the Rights to Social Security and to Work of Older Persons: The Role of ILO Standards Human Rights Social Forum United Nations, Geneva, 2 April.

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Presentation on theme: "Defining the Rights to Social Security and to Work of Older Persons: The Role of ILO Standards Human Rights Social Forum United Nations, Geneva, 2 April."— Presentation transcript:

1 Defining the Rights to Social Security and to Work of Older Persons: The Role of ILO Standards Human Rights Social Forum United Nations, Geneva, 2 April 2014 Emmanuelle St-Pierre Guilbault Social Protection Department International Labour Organization

2 In most instruments, e.g. UHDHR, ICESCR, CEDAW, formulated in general terms:  Right to adequate standard of living, social security and social protection, including right to income security through employment and social security, access to health care (incl. LT care) and services, as well as social services  Obligation of progressive realization; use of maximum of available resources, starting with ensuring a minimum core content (CESCR)  Prohibition of deliberately retrogressive measures (CESCR)  ILO standards give meaning and define the content of the right to (work) and to social security, thereby constituting essential tools for the realization of this right (CESCR) The rights to work and social security of older persons in HR instruments

3  Since 1919, many Conventions and Recommendations adopted by the ILO defining and giving substance to the rights of older persons, in active life and beyond  ILO standards embody the will of all ILO member States, gathered in tripartite delegations at the ILC, to set standards for themselves in a particular field, where a gap is identified, and reflecting best practices worldwide  They provide guidance for countries in the process of policy development, reforms, development of schemes and measures for the realization of these rights and related legal framework  Thereby they constitute essential references and tools that can be used to ensure that the human rights of older persons – to work and to social security – become reality The rights to work and social security of older persons in ILO standards

4  The Older Workers Recommendation, No. 162:  Equality and opportunity of treatment – prevention of discrimination in employment and promotional measures  Employment protection measures  Preparation for and access to retirement – “from working life to freedom of activity” giving greater freedom to persons to decide when they wish to stop working –Transition should be progressive, –Allow for voluntary retirement –Coupled with provisions for flexible pensionable age  The Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, No. 111  The Employment Policy Recommendation, No. 122  The Human Resources Development Convention, No. 142  The Employment Relationship Recommendation, No. 198 The rights of older persons in active life and beyond – right(s) to/at work and transition

5 ILO social security standards provide an international reference framework as to the range and levels of social security benefits and guarantees that are necessary and adequate for ensuring:  income security  access to health care  throughout the life cycle, including in active and in old-age  under the general/overall responsibility of the State The Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, No. 102, and the Old-Age, Invalidity and Survivors’ Benefits Convention, No. 128, and Recommendation, No. 131:  make provision for the payment of pensions, i.e. periodical long- term benefits, in the case of old-age, disability and death of the breadwinner  at guaranteed minimum levels  upon completion of a qualifying period  to be regularly adjusted to maintain pensioners’ purchasing power. The rights of older persons in active life and beyond – social security/protection

6 Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, No. 102, and Sickness and Medical Care Convention, No. 130, and Recommendation, No. 134:  Appropriate medical care (goods and services) should be provided in respect of a condition that requires such care of a preventive or curative nature, in case of “morbid condition” (ill-health)  Define a benefit package of goods and services that should be available to all protected persons, with a view to maintaining,restoring or improving their health and ability to work/attend personal needs  Where cost-sharing is require, rules should be designed so as to avoid financial hardship  Protection against ill-health and against the financial consequences of accessing HC highly relevant to older persons’ needs and circumstances  Access to health care a pre-requisite to the right to health of older persons The rights of older persons in active life and beyond – social security/protection

7 The Social Protection Floors Recommendation, No. 202: Basic income security and access to essential health care for all  Firmly anchored in human rights; refers in its preamble to the UDHR and the ICESCR,  Calls for a guarantee of basic income security for all persons in old-age, as part of national social protection floors which should allow life in dignity.  Nationally defined minimum levels, e.g. national poverty lines, social assistance thresholds or other; should be established and regularly reviewed through a transparent social dialogue procedure  Acts as a safeguard against poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion in old-age, for persons who are neither covered by contributory pension schemes nor entitled to a pension under these schemes.  It also protects pensioners whose benefits are affected by financial losses of the fund, whose pensions are not regularly adjusted to changes in the costs of living, or whose pensions are simply inadequate to secure effective access to necessary goods and services and allow life in dignity. The rights of older persons in active life and beyond – social security/protection

8 The Social Protection Floors Recommendation, No. 202: Basic income security and access to essential health care for all  Access to essential health care (nationally defined set of goods and services) should also be guaranteed, and form part of national social protection floors, throughout the life cycle including in old-age.  This minimum package should meet the criteria of availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality.  Persons in need of HC should not face hardship and an increased risk of poverty due to the financial consequences of accessing essential HC The rights of older persons in active life and beyond – social security/protection

9 Ten basic principles guiding national social security pension systems (1) Universal coverage: Everybody should be guaranteed at least basic income security in old age. (2) Benefits as a right: Entitlements to pension benefits should be prescribed by national law. The law should specify the range, qualifying conditions and levels of the benefits as well as complaints and appeals procedures. (3) Protection against poverty: Pension systems should provide a reliable minimum benefit guarantee that effectively protects people against poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion, and allows life in dignity. (4) Income security and adequacy: Older persons should live in basic income security at least at a nationally defined minimum level. Those with earnings equal to or lower than the reference wage should be guaranteed a pension of at least 40 per cent of their pre-retirement earnings after 30 years of contributions (as set out in ILO Convention No. 102). 5) Actuarial equivalence of social insurance contributions and pension levels: A minimum replacement rate for all contributors adequately reflecting the level of the contributions paid should be guaranteed. The rights of older persons in active life and beyond – social security/protection

10 Ten basic principles guiding national social security pension systems (6) Guarantee of a minimum rate of return on savings: The real value of contributions paid into savings schemes should be protected. (7) Gender equality and gender fairness: Pension policies should follow the principles of non-discrimination, gender equality and responsiveness to special needs. Benefit provisions should be gender-neutral and gender-fair for working parents. (8) Sound financing: Pension systems should be financed in a financially, fiscally and economically sustainable way with due regard to social justice, equity and social solidarity, aiming at avoiding uncertainty about their long-term viability. (9) Fiscal responsibility: Pension schemes should not crowd out the fiscal space for other social benefits. Pensions should form part of a national social security extension strategy aiming at closing gaps in protection through appropriate and effectively coordinated schemes, reflecting national priorities and fiscal capacities. (10) State responsibility: The State should remain the ultimate guarantor of the right to income security in old age and access to adequate pensions. The rights of older persons in active life and beyond – social security/protection

11  R. 202 can make a significant contribution to the realization of the minimum core content of the right to social security, while pre- existing standards provide tools for the progressive realization of higher levels of protection  R.202 provides a valid framework for countries at all levels of development.  For low and middle income countries where a major part of the population lives in informality and is not covered by contributory social security  For high income countries where the recent financial crisis has shown that there is still a need to ensure a minimum of income security for the older generations in some form of state guarantee of a minimum pension level, and preferably a minimum overall replacement rate for the individual.  The overall and primary responsibility of the State established by ILO standards, is no doubt to play an important role in how governments are in the future held accountable for the sustainability of national social security systems in view of e.g. ageing. The rights of older persons in active life and beyond – social security/protection

12 ILC Conclusions on Employment and Social Protection in the New Demographic Context, June 2013 (paras ) 29.Demographic transitions increase demand for the care sector. The promotion of this sector and its long-term sustainability is essential to protect people and to ensure that they live and age in dignity. The care sector also presents new opportunities for investment, innovation and job creation. Good management of the sector is necessary to ensure the provision of quality care. Professionalization of the delivery of care should be promoted. 30. Traditional care systems, which rely heavily on female family members to bear the main burden of providing care services, are under increasing strain. The provision of care requires the recognition of the complementary and fundamental roles of family, community and professional care services. Care structures need to be developed that address the diverse demand for care services. Accreditation and regulation of professional care services should be promoted. 31. The right of care workers to decent work should be promoted, including by improving working conditions, skills development and recognition and promoting gender equality.  The ILC mandated the Office to develop a research agenda on the care sector including an evidence-based analysis of the potential gaps in current international labour standards Orientations for future standard-setting: Addressing the needs for long-term care

13 Thank you Contact: Emmanuelle St-Pierre Guilbault Social Protection Department International Labour Organization Visit:


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