arabstates.undp.org (28.12.2021) The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting societies and economies at their core. In the Arab Region, the pandemic has exacerbated existing structural weaknesses in economies as well as unresolved social challenges, making the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) even more urgent. Governments in the region are facing two challenges: to effectively address the health crisis and to respond to the economic and social fallout from the crisis. Governments across the region have introduced a range of social protection measures to help mitigate the impacts of the crisis. This paper aims to review the key social protection measures implemented as a response to the crisis, identify gaps, and propose ways to establish more coherent and effective social protection systems.
businesstech.co.za (04.01.2022) Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu says that introducing a new basic income grant in South Africa will likely be phased in over several years, with her department currently pushing for an extension of the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant as a baseline.
indianexpress.com (23.12.2021) The emergency requirements dictated by the pandemic led the Supreme Court, in May 2021, to order a time-bound inclusive and universal registration system for informal workers and circular migrants. The e-Shram portal which has come into existence now is meant to fulfil this mandatory requirement.
European Commission (22.12.2021) The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) has published a new report exploring how EU Member States supported working families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
icrw.org (2021) Uganda has a female labor force participation of 67 percent. While some efforts to advance social protection are being made, Uganda currently spends only about 3.5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) towards that end. Meanwhile, the National Employment Policy (2010) covers social security only for workers in the formal sector, leaving informal workers unsupported. Intentional targeting and expansion of the social protection program to informal women workers is an economic investment that would shield informal businesses and households from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic shocks and closures.
ILO Working paper 42 (10.12.2021) This paper explores whether there has been a change in International Monetary Fund (IMF) policy advice and conditions in its loan programmes and Article IV surveillance by examining the 148 country reports for IMF programmes in 2020, in the context of significant shifts in its global macroeconomic policy framework during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ilo.org (29.11.2021) COVID-19 pandemic that caused massive unemployment has forced countries to review their employment policy and protection system. This paper summarized efforts taken by Republic of Korea in reforming their employment protection system during the pandemic.
International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) - (08.12.2021) This Policy Research Brief presents the reforms under way in the social protection systems of Tunisia and Morocco in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Although both countries have demonstrated political will and commitment to address coverage gaps, they still need to develop a proper legal framework and fiscal space to implement social protection floors in the coming years. The pandemic has affected reforms differently in the two countries: in a more ‘positive’ way in Morocco, while contributing to stalling changes in Tunisia.
ilo.org (25.11.2021) This report is produced for the G20 Development Working Group by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank. It demonstrates the key role that social protection has played in countries at all income levels in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
worldbank.org (16.11.2021) While health indicators and macroeconomic data are essential for addressing the fundamentals of the COVID-19 crisis, countervailing policies need detailed information on the mechanisms through which the pandemic affects human capital, livelihoods, and welfare. This is especially important in Nigeria because the pandemic threatens to compound the country’s high levels of poverty: even before COVID-19, around 4 in 10 Nigerians lived below the national poverty line, and multidimensional poverty was even more widespread. In Nigeria, this kind of detailed analysis is made possible by high-frequency data collected during the pandemic through the Nigeria COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey (NLPS). This nationally-representative survey is distinctive in capturing key socioeconomic information from households for 12 consecutive rounds between April 2020 and April 2021: few other developing countries with which the World Bank has worked on phone surveys have such extensive data. A new report – COVID-19 in Nigeria: Frontline Data and Pathways for Policy – uses the NLPS to examine how the COVID-19 crisis has been affecting the human capital, livelihoods, and welfare of Nigerian households.
etui (2021) The Covid‑19 pandemic severely affected some categories of non-standard workers, and particularly the self‑employed. The emergency measures cushioned the potentially disastrous effect on their social circumstances, but undeniably highlighted even more the gaps in their access and entitlement to social protection benefits While the first report of this joint project of the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and the European Social Observatory (OSE) mapped the measures taken in relation to unemployment benefits, sickness benefits and leave for non-standard workers and the self‑employed (Spasova et al. 2021), this edited volume comprises eight country case studies: Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania and Sweden.
plos.org (04.11.2021) Latin American governments swiftly implemented income assistance programs to sustain families’ livelihoods during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. This paper analyzes the potential coverage and generosity of these measures and assesses the suitability of current safety nets to deal with unexpected negative income shocks in 10 Latin American countries. The expansion of pre-existing programs (most notably conditional cash transfers and non-contributory pensions) during the COVID-19 crisis was generally insufficient to compensate for the inability to work among the poorest segments of the population. When COVID-19 ad hoc programs are analyzed, the coverage and replacement rates of regular labor income among households in the first quintile of the country’s labor income distribution increase substantially. Yet, these programs present substantial coverage challenges among families composed of fundamentally informal workers who are non-poor, but are at a high risk of poverty. These results highlight the limitations of the fragmented nature of social protection systems in the region.
worldbank.org (17.06.2021) A region known for its volatility, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has suffered severe economic and social setbacks from crises—including the COVID-19 pandemic. These crises have taken their toll on careers, wage growth, and productivity. Employment in Crisis: The Path to Better Jobs in a Post-COVID-19 Latin America provides new evidence on the effects of crises on the region’s workers and firms and suggests several policy responses that can bolster long-term and inclusive economic growth. This report has three key findings. First, crises lead to persistent employment losses and accelerate structural changes away from the formal sector. This change occurs more through reductions in the creation of formal jobs than through job destruction. Second, some workers recover from crises, while others are permanently scarred by them. Low-skilled workers can suffer up to a decade of lower earnings caused by crises, while high-skilled workers rebound fast, exacerbating the LAC region’s high level of inequality. Formal workers suffer smaller employment and wage losses in localities with higher rates of informality. And the reduced job flows caused by crises decrease welfare, but workers in localities with more job opportunities, whether formal or informal, bounce back better. Third, crises’ cleansing effects can increase efficiency and productivity, but these effects are dampened by the LAC region’s less competitive market structure. Rather than becoming more agile and productive during economic downturns, protected sectors and firms gain market share and crowd out others, trapping valuable resources. This report proposes a three-pronged mix of policies to improve the LAC region’s responses to crises: • Create a more stable macroeconomic environment to smooth the impacts of crises, including automatic stabilizers such as unemployment insurance and short-term compensation programs; • Increase the capacity of social protection and labor programs to respond to crises and coalesce these programs into systems that complement income support with reemployment assistance and reskilling opportunities; and • Tackle structural issues, including the lack of product market competition and the spatial dimension behind poor labor market adjustment—a “good jobs and good firms” agenda.
CTV News (17.10.2021)On Oct. 23 – the last day of Small Business Week – the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are set to expire. Both programs have been extended several times since being implemented in 2020.
As for individual benefits, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB) are also set to terminate on Saturday. These programs, too, can be extended into November by the government.
Philippine News Agency (17.10.2021) The implementation of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) has resulted in milestones for the country's social protection and digital transformation, according to a World Bank official.
He said success in utilizing PhilSys for social protection has a "significant demonstration effect" in accelerating digital transformation among government agencies and even the private sector.
Diop noted that "countries that already had good and inclusive digital infrastructure including internet connectivity, digital identification, digital payments, and integrated data ecosystems were better equipped to quickly adapt their social protection programs to meet urgent needs".
In the Philippines, he said the delivery of social assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic presents a challenge.
"Fortunately, the country is moving to address digital infrastructure gaps, including through the development of the Philippine Identification System. PhilSys is one of the most complex but also game-changing projects undertaken in the country," he added.
OECD (21.10.2021) The COVID-19 crisis has hit the long-term care (LTC) sector particularly hard, with large numbers of people dependent on care and particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 have fallen ill, and a disproportionate rate of LTC workers both exposed to, and infected by, COVID-19. The analysis presented in this report describes the effects of COVID-19 on LTC in OECD countries, mainly showing infection rates and mortality of LTC recipients. It takes stock of the wide range of policy responses that countries have implemented, detailing the changes over time on testing strategies, reduction of interactions and isolation measures, digitalisation of services, and workforce. The report also assesses emergency preparedness in the sector, as well as workforce, organisational and coordination challenges. Finally, the report analyses how policy responses affected care continuity and the well-being of residents while also outlining the effectiveness of vaccination.
ZAWYA (18.10.2021) Thailand's cabinet on Tuesday approved a further 92 billion baht ($2.76 billion) of relief measures to help boost its flagging economy as the Southeast Asian country deals with its biggest and most prolonged coronavirus outbreak. Thailand earlier this year approved a further 500 billion baht borrowing plan to mitigate the impact of the epidemic. Of the approved support, the government will offer 42 billion baht of cash transfers under an existing co-payment scheme between November and December, spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana told a news conference. There will be 3 billion baht in e-vouchers for spenders under an existing scheme, about 8.1 billion baht for holders of state welfare cards and about 1.38 billion baht for those with special needs, he said. "Every measure is to stimulate a recovering economy and to help people and business operators," Thanakorn said. The cabinet also approved 37.5 billion baht of stimulus to help smaller firms retain 4.2 million jobs, he said. That is less than an earlier estimated 45.4 billion baht for 5.04 million workers, according to the state planning agency.
worldbank.org (07.10.2021) The World Bank, in collaboration with the Government of South Africa, released a new report assessing the country’s social assistance programs and systems. In an environment of high unemployment, persistent poverty, weak economic growth and shrinking fiscal resources that has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Social Assistance Programs and Systems Review: South Africa report underscores the critical role of the grant and social assistance system in mitigating poverty. This report also provides policy considerations that could help move South Africa’s system of social transfers towards sustainable and productive investments in its people.
oecd.org (14.10.2021) The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant deterioration in public finances, adding to pre-existing strains from long-term structural challenges including population ageing, climate change, rising inequality, digitalisation and automation. This report, originally prepared for G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors at the request of the Italian G20 Presidency, considers the challenges and opportunities of developing public fiscal policy strategies as countries seek to “build back better”. The report focuses in particular on how tax policy can be designed comprehensively so that fiscal systems can deliver a balance of equity, growth and sustainability, highlighting some of the key considerations that policymakers should take into account to ensure optimal tax policy design and the successful implementation of tax reform.
allafrica.com (14.10.2021) Social protection is a right for the federal government and not a token or favour. The last 18 months have been difficult for families and communities across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The vision of equality and inclusion as explained in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has become blurred. Social protection programme coverage in Nigeria has remained low during the COVID-19 crisis. Between mid-March and July 2020, about 4.9 per cent of households received assistance in the form of cash from institutions including the government and about 3.6 per cent in kind assistance. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exposed the weakness of the current global economic model and social protection system. More than four billion persons, about 53 per cent of the global population, are completely unprotected against economic shocks. With about 17.4 per cent social protection cover, Africa has the least social protection coverage for its citizens leaving most Africans vulnerable to economic shocks, poverty, hunger, huge sickness burden, illiteracy, and destitution.