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Social Protection Measures throughout the world: January 2015 to December 2015

The Social Protection Monitor presents the latest policy trends based on media announcements of social protection measures. This update covers from January to December 2015.


Social Protection Measures by Region


ALERT! Adjustment Reforms:

Increasing retirement age 20
Reducing benefits 5
Tightening eligibility criteria 5
Contracting coverage 4
Introducing or increasing incentives for late retirement 4
Modifying calculation formula 3
Reducing pension benefits 3
Reforming indexation method 2
Reducing budgetary allocations 2
Introducing or increasing taxes on benefits 2

More information on adjustment measures:

The Decade of Adjustment: A Review of Austerity Trends 2010-2020 in 187 Countries

Social protection global policy trends 2010-2015


Developments by Components of the Social Protection Floor 

Summary of Trends

From January 2015 to December 2015, 366 main social protection reforms were announced worldwide. Most of the measures were concentrated in Europe and Central Asia (35%), Sub-Saharan Africa (18%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (16%). Half relate to contributory systems and half to non-contributory cash-transfers. The most frequently cited area were pensions (121 measures during the last 12 months).

The year 2015 shows overall positive developments, 77% of the measures were expansionary. Extending social protection coverage is the most predominant trend (38%), followed by increases in benefits (10%). However, a number of reforms contracted social protection systems; pensions were the most affected, mainly in Europe and Central Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Most of the changes to pensions and other schemes were parametric adjustments (96%), most of them applied in Europe and Central Asia. Meanwhile, structural reforms took place mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia and Pacific.

While all social protection benefits have positive impacts on gender, 22% of the identified measures were on maternity and child benefits or give priority to women. 33% of the social protection measures benefited the poor or extreme poor (mainly increasing coverage or benefits).


ILO’s Social Protection Monitor is based on media/news published online. The Monitor tracks announcements of social protection measures, defined as any policy decision that affects the functioning of a social protection system, from minor parametric adjustments to major developments and reforms, as well as social subsidies. The Monitor is a useful source for addressing the information gap since the latest update of global social protection statistics, the ILO Social Security Inquiry, which takes years to compile. Note that the Monitor is biased given that governments do not always announce, and often underreport, contraction/adjustment measures. While the Monitor provides the most comprehensive list of announced social protection measures and a glimpse at present global trends, it does not replace the thorough analysis provided by the ILO’s Social Security Inquiry and World Social Protection ReportFor more information, click here

Top Ten Measures

Extending coverage 139
Increasing benefits 38
Increasing retirement age 20
Enhancing the administration of the programme 18
Improving access to social programmes 13
Increasing pension benefits 13
Coordination of several social protection programmes 8
Increasing the period for receiving the benefits 8
Relaxing eligibility criteria 8
Increasing budgetary allocations 7


Developments by Type of Social Protection Scheme



Measures Classified by Social Protection Functions

See more:

Global Social Protection Monitor 2010 - 2015

Social Protection: Data and Indicators

WSPR 2014/2015



  • China achieved nearly universal old-age pensions and health   
  • Namibia (against IMF advise) doubled its universal old-age pension, from N$400 ($32) to N$1000 ($80)
  • In Ecuador, housewives with no salary were introduced in the social security system and will have a pension
  • Rwanda approved 100% payment for mothers on maternity leave and in provinces of China, women are granted paid menstrual leave
  • Vietnam approved two paid weeks of paternity leave, and Sweden three months of paid paternity leave
  • In Indonesia, informal sector workers have access to an old-age pension pension if they contribute $1.10 per month
  • In Morocco and in Togo, informal sector workers will have health coverage
  • In Haiti and Venezuela, artists were added to the social security for the first time
  • In Mexico bus drivers have access to a pension, health and affordable housing
  • In Brazil, rural workers have access to unemployment support and domestic workers to social security