The Labor Department determined it doesn’t have the legal authority to stop states from opting out of federal unemployment programs early, according to an agency official. The programs have offered unemployment benefits to millions of people since the early days of the Covid pandemic. The American Rescue Plan extended them to Sept. 6. Twenty-five states, all led by Republican governors, are withdrawing early. The earliest are doing so effective Saturday, June 12.
Free Malaysia Today (FMT) (08.06.2021) Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin says the government is looking to bolster the country’s social safety net programme with a definitive database. Muhyiddin said that he chaired a Malaysian Social Protection Council (MySPC) meeting via video conferencing today, during which the issue of strengthening the national social safety net was discussed. He added it included expanding the protection schemes under the Social Security Organisation (Socso) to groups that were not covered previously. “I also emphasised the need for a social protection database across agencies which covers elements of employment, social insurance and social assistance. “This database can be the sole reference for the country’s social protection programmes,” he said on his Facebook page. He added that such a database would make for a “new, more effective approach” in providing comprehensive social protection coverage, especially for vulnerable groups.
bdnews24.com (03.06.2021) Bangladesh has expanded its social safety net programmes by increasing the budgetary allocation by 12.5 percent in the fiscal year 2021-22 as part of the efforts to alleviate the plight of lower-income and vulnerable groups which have been hit hardest by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
World Economic Forum (27.05.2021) Innovative solutions have been developed across Africa and Asia to deal with the increasing demand for health workers and services due to COVID-19. These include the use of drones, solar-powered freezers and utilizing Pakistan's unemployed doctors. In a pandemic, these solutions can be the deciding factor between effectively managing the virus and not.
socialprotection.org (2021) This note compares the experiences of 53 low- and middle-income countries to identify drivers of timely and large-scale government social assistance responses to COVID-19. The analysis covers cash responses only and focuses on the capacity of the social protection sector and beyond. It compares response times (the first payment date) across countries and analyses their correlation with various potential drivers of timely response, including contextual, legislation and funding, social protection capacity, and service delivery factors. An important caveat is that, in most cases, the first payment date is an imperfect measure of when a response ‘starts’, because many beneficiaries (and often most of those who are poor and vulnerable) receive transfers later. This is to say, timely responses are not always inclusive and are not always timely for all. This note therefore supplements its initial wide-ranging, data-driven analysis with more detailed case studies that allow for further analysis of issues like the extent of coverage (where this data was available), along with lessons learned from these case studies.
lse.ac.uk (10.05.2021) Like other low- and middle-income countries, Colombia introduced changes to its cash transfer programmes so as to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. But without extending and carefully redesigning these programmes, many families and young people will face a precarious future once the pandemic is over,
sciencemag.org (06.11.2020) Telemedicine comes in many shapes and sizes and offers many advantages over the traditional healthcare visit, but until recently, it was largely underutilized. The COVID-19 pandemic quickly changed that—only time will tell if telemedicine’s new popularity will last. On March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, radically changing the way medicine is practiced. In the span of a few weeks, as quarantining and social distancing became the norm, in-person medical visits plummeted, suddenly thrusting telemedicine from the wings of medical care to center stage. “The pandemic created a huge public health issue, but the biggest problem wasn’t that COVID-19 patients couldn’t get care—it was that people without the disease couldn’t access their normal care,” says Michael Okun, professor and chair of neurology at the University of Florida.
dw.com (10.05.2021) Heads of the bloc's 27 member states hope to reduce social and economic inequalities that have widened during the coronavirus pandemic.
politico.eu (06.05.2021) Leaders are facing social-welfare policy questions for a changed world. Their answers could alter the EU’s relationship with member states.
Euronews (05.05.2021) What happens when job retention schemes come to an end in Europe? Job retention schemes have kept millions of people in work during the pandemic and lockdowns. As these emergency measures are gradually phased out, how does Europe ensure there are enough jobs and that people have the right skills for the jobs of the future?
oecd.org (29.04.2021) Active labour market policies (ALMPs) that connect people to jobs will help to ensure an equitable and sustained recovery from the COVID‑19 crisis. Already in 2020, many governments reacted swiftly to the crisis by increasing funding for their public employment services (PES), training programmes and measures to increase labour demand. This has allowed the PES to hire additional staff and expand remote and digital accessibility to ensure service continuity. However, additional resources are needed in 2021 and the years to come to ensure that high-quality employment services and programmes can be effective in fostering a quick reintegration of the many jobseekers into the labour market. This policy brief highlights how OECD and a number of other countries have responded to the crisis in adapting and expanding the provision of employment services.
ipcig.org (09.04.2021) The fourth and last section of the Policy in Focus1 magazine analyses the social protection responses to the COVID-19 crisis in Asian countries
blogs.worldbank.org (26.04.2021) In the months after the first cases of COVID-19 appeared in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), countries across the region acted quickly to limit the spread of the virus. Lockdowns, curfews, and social distancing undoubtedly saved lives, but these necessary actions also constrained businesses and economies. Communities suffered from the loss of jobs and livelihoods, the closure of schools and markets, and the damage to businesses, many of which may never recover.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.