COVID-19

Coronavirus news monitor

COVID-19

Coronavirus news monitor

9 April 2021
Oman restructures pension and social protection system

Reuters (07.04.2020) Oman on Wednesday restructured its pension and social protections systems, part of a reform push by the Gulf Arab state wrestling with an economy battered by low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.

6 April 2021
Blog: Developing countries introduced an unprecedented social protection and jobs policy response to mitigate the effects of the pandemic

blogs.worldbank.org (30:03.2021) Developing countries have introduced an unprecedented number of social protection and jobs policies to mitigate the effects of the crisis.  Over the past year, developing countries have introduced more than 1,300 crisis-related social protection and jobs (SPJ) policies. That figure is based on data from the COVID-19 SPJ Policy Inventory for 55 countries, representing 80 percent of the population in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). The Inventory added policies related to labor demand to the already comprehensive social protection and jobs programs collected by Gentilini et al. (2020). These measures exceeded the crisis-related social protection and jobs policies witnessed over two years of the global financial crisis (2008-2009) for a comparable set of developing countries.  

1 April 2021
Digital finance and inclusion in the time of COVID-19. Lessons, experiences and proposals 

fao.org (2021) The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted digital financial inclusion trends across the world in many and complex ways. In developing and emerging contexts, this crisis also holds the potential to propel an unprecedented acceleration in the process of financial digitization and turn out to be a game-changer for digital financial inclusion. The aim of this study is to illustrate the opportunities and risks associated with the surge in uptake and use of digital financial service, providing ideas on how to leverage the paradigm changes affecting the overall approach and perspective towards digital financial services – on the part of various stakeholders – to advance financial inclusion and development. It also seeks to showcase how digital financial services have been used – in both traditional and innovative ways – to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on economies and societies, by both public and private actors.

30 March 2021
Employment and Social Developments in Europe Quarterly Review analyses the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the self-employed

EU Reporter (29.03.2021) The European Commission has published the March 2021 edition of the Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) Quarterly Review, with a thematic focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the self-employed. The review shows that this group has experienced a strong reduction of their working time and more severe income losses than employees in most member states. National social protection systems typically provide lower coverage and compensation for the self-employed. In the context of the pandemic, most member states have introduced temporary measures to support the income of the self-employed, in addition to short-time work schemes and similar measures accessible for workers, which were supported by the SURE instrument. This support took many different forms, including low interest loans, paid family leave, extended coverage of sickness benefits and income replacement.

26 March 2021
COVID-19: Implications for employment and working life

Eurofound (March 2021) This report sets out to assess the initial impact of the COVID-19 crisis on employment in Europe (up to Q2 2020), including its effects across sectors and on different categories of workers. It also looks at measures implemented by policymakers in a bid to limit the negative effects of the crisis. It first provides an overview of policy approaches adopted to mitigate the impact of the crisis on businesses, workers and citizens. The main focus is on the development, content and impact of short-time working schemes, income support measures for self-employed people, hardship funds and rent and mortgage deferrals. Finally, it explores the involvement of social partners in the development and implementation of such measures and the role of European funding in supporting these schemes.

26 March 2021
What's next for social protection in light of COVID-19: country responses

International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) March 2021 - The COVID-19 crisis has had a huge impact on the world of social protection. The pandemic has alerted national governments and the international community to the urgency of accelerating progress in building and expanding social protection systems and programmes to leave no one behind. From 5 to 8 October 2020, the socialprotection.org team organised a global e-conference titled ‘Turning the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity: What’s next for social protection?’. To further disseminate its key discussions, the socialprotection.org platform and the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) have developed two special issues of Policy in Focus. This first issue focuses on experiences from countries in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the overall lessons for the future, including shock-responsive and universal social protection.

25 March 2021
Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in high-income countries

(Dec 2020) This new UNICEF Innocenti report explores how the social and economic impact of the pandemic is likely to affect children; the initial government responses to the crisis; and how future public policies could be optimized to better support children. 

23 March 2021
Assessment of the Social Security Responses to COVID-19 in the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe

This report comparatively reviews the national social security measures in response to COVID-19 crisis, analyse their effectiveness and long-term consequences, and discuss future challenges in improving the social security system. The report covers seven countries in the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine.

23 March 2021
The social multiplier effect

DAWN.COM (22.03.2021) Many countries including Pakistan are actively engaged in developing a new set of social policies and widening the social safety net not only to help calamity-hit poor but also those vulnerable to technology disruptions in a post-covid-19 world

22 March 2021
Jordan: Temporary unemployment programs Tadamun and Musaned

Official Gazette Jordan (16.04.2020) The Tadamun (Solidarity in Arabic) I and II programs is a work suspension allowance targeted to both work institutions covered under social security (Tadamun I) and for those excluded from it (Tadamun II). Tadamun I applies to employers that have contributed for at least 12 months to the Social Security Corporation (SSC). Employees are entitled to 50% of their deductible monthly salaries between JDs 165 and JDs 500 (for lower salaries, the SSC will pay the difference up to the lowest amount). Employers will contribute with 20% of the employees' salaries up to a contribution of JDs 250.  For the Tadamun II program, employers can enroll their employees for work suspension insurance from May 202o to December 2020. A pre-condition is that all employers and employees enroll to all other available social insurance schemes by January 2021. The monthly benefit amount is JDs 150, of which JDs 100 are covered by SSC, and JDs 50 by the employer.

19 March 2021
In South Korea, Universal Basic Income is Having a Pandemic Moment

Voice of America (09.03.2021) Gyeonggi Province has  sent cash to all its residents during the coronavirus pandemic — on top of the stimulus payments the central government has given South Koreans.  

18 March 2021
Harnessing the Potential of Big Data in Post-Pandemic Southeast Asia

 Asian Development Bank  (March 2021) Digitalization has gained more prominence amid COVID-19 and has highlighted the value of big data for public sector management. The brief explains the potential benefits of big data for public services such as health, social protection, and education and how this can contribute to the post-pandemic recovery. It also assesses the key enablers and policy actions needed to realize big data benefits in the region. 

18 March 2021
Non-standard workers and the self-employed in the EU

etui (March 2021) The purpose of the present study is to map key social protection measures taken during the pandemic from the perspective of fragmentation of labour market statuses, notably by focusing on non-standard workers and the self-employed as well as taking into account the gender dimension of these social protection measures. The analysis focuses on the 27 EU Member States, covering the period of the first wave of the pandemic: from the beginning of the lockdown measures (for most countries at the beginning of March 2020) until 31 December 2020.

17 March 2021
Mexico: Social program "Bienestar" advances payments for 9 million vulnerable people

Government of Mexico (27.02.2021) The advance payment as part of the "Bienestar" (Well-being in English) of the March-April and May-June two-month periods will be delivered to more than nine million elderly people, people with permanent disabilities, as well as girls, boys, children of working mothers, for a global amount of 49 thousand 500 million pesos. In addition, the benefits increased to 2,700 pesos this year.

16 March 2021
Child benefits in the US — For children here, there, and everywhere

Development Pathways (11.03.2021) As part of recent COVID-19-related legislation, the US Government has committed to provide a quasi-universal child benefit (an affluence-tested “qUCB”) – a monthly child cash benefit where, like in Iceland, only the very wealthiest families will not receive the full amount. This child benefit – which transforms the existing Child Tax Credit (CTC) to pay up to USD 300 per month per child under 6, and USD 250 per child aged 6 to 17 – is likely to have a positive impact far beyond the family budget.

11 March 2021
US: Biden plan a "powerful change" for poor US children

AFP (11.03.2021)  With the massive $1.9 trillion US stimulus plan approved by Congress on Wednesday, President Joe Biden is marking a dramatic shift in US social policy, with the goal of cutting child poverty in half. "The American Rescue Plan represents a powerful change in social policy in the United States," said Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy. After the economy sustained deep damage from the Covid-19 pandemic, the rescue package aims to boost US growth this year, with some economists predicting an expansion of as much as seven percent.

11 March 2021
How the $1.9 trillion U.S. stimulus package compares to other countries’ covid spending

The Washington Post (10.03.2021) President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which the House passed Wednesday and Biden is expected to sign this week, is mammoth in scope — a number so large it can be hard to conceptualize in concrete terms. But amid a pandemic that has wrought severe economic damage around the world, many governments have made dramatic spending pledges.

11 March 2021
Hard hit by COVID-19, migrants seen facing "invisible wall"

reuters.com (09.03.2021) From Australia to Egypt, migrants and refugees have been especially hard hit by job losses and economic pain during the coronavirus pandemic, with many struggling to access healthcare and state aid, a survey showed on Tuesday. The survey, published in a report by the Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) Global Migration Lab

9 March 2021
Covid-19 has transformed the welfare state. Which changes will endure?

The Economist (06.03.2021) The pandemic may mark a new chapter in the nature of social safety-nets

5 March 2021
UK: Universal Credit: Extend £20 benefit top-up for a year, say MPs

BBC News (09.03.2021) The £20 weekly increase in Universal Credit must be extended for at least a year to avoid impoverishing hundreds of thousands of people, MPs have warned. The measure, which has been called a lifeline for struggling families, is in place until the end of March.