News

Social Security Media Monitor

News

Social Security Media Monitor

The Social Security Media Monitor offers a selection of social security news articles from media around the world. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the ISSA is not responsible for the content of external sites.

9 April 2021
Landmark study shows how child grants empower women in Brazil and South Africa

theconversation.com (29.03.2021) Since the mid-1990s, new approaches to poverty reduction have been introduced in countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Some have involved income transfer programmes that target poorer citizens based on various means tests. Most have targeted female caregivers, primarily mothers. The most expansive child and family grants are in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and South Africa, which has put in place the biggest social provision net in Africa. The focus of our study was on Brazil and South Africa, two of the countries that have the largest programmes globally. The programmes were all designed to enhance child welfare.

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.

8 April 2021
Extending social security to workers in the informal economy

ilo.org (March 2021) This brief is part of the policy resource Package Extending social security and facilitating transition from the informal to the formal economy. Lessons from international experience.

29 March 2021
Philipine: National ID to help financial inclusion of poorest sector

Philstar.com (20.03.2021) The poorest sector, especially those with no access to banking services, will benefit from the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), so President Duterte is urging every Filipino to sign up for the national ID.

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.

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
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

8 March 2021
More than just cash: an innovative child grant in Papua province

Development Pathways (03.03.2021) Given the need to address child development issues and to improve the coverage of social protection programmes across Papua, the Provincial Government of Papua (PGP) responded by launching BANGGA Papua, a child grant for all indigenous Papuan children from birth until their 4th birthday. BANGGA Papua has reached over 32,000 children (and 23,000 mothers) through a benefit level of 200,000 IDR (~13.50 USD)  per child per month, and has helped the PGP to realise their commitment of achieving a “Generasi  Emas,” or a golden generation of Papuans. 

5 March 2021
Should we expect a post-Covid-19 social protection epiphany in Latin America?

Global Development Institute Blog (18.02.2021) Social protection has played a leading role in government responses to Covid-19. Public programmes providing income and in-kind transfers to vulnerable population groups have been strengthened and enhanced to address the effects of the pandemic. In low and middle income countries, the expansion of social assistance provided governments with a ready-made platform to reach and support low income groups. Social assistance infrastructure – social registries, implementation agencies, and local community links – facilitated fast and effective responses to the crisis. In addition to existing conditional income transfers and social pensions, several governments in Latin America implemented temporary income transfer programmes to support workers in informal employment. In high income countries, governments mobilised support for furloughed workers and the unemployed while social assistance transfers plugged the gaps left by welfare state retrenchment. Despite this policy activism, the pandemic has laid bare existing deficiencies in social protection and social assistance (for the USA see here, for the EU here,  and for LMICs here). Looking ahead, the prominent role of public transfers has encouraged expectations that the pandemic could open the door for a reappraisal of investment in social protection.

5 March 2021
EU unemployment reinsurance scheme falls off Commission’s radar 

EURACTIV.com (04.03.2020) An EU reinsurance scheme to support national unemployment benefits was not part of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan presented on Thursday (4 March), although the European Commission has been supportive of the idea.

4 March 2021
Leveraging digital technologies for social inclusion

UN/DESA Policy Brief #92: (Feb 2021) COVID-19 is accelerating the pace of digital transformation: implications for social inclusion

1 March 2021
US: Fraud overwhelms pandemic-related unemployment programs

apnews.com (01.03.2021) With the floodgates set to open on another round of unemployment aid, states are being hammered with a new wave of fraud as they scramble to update security systems and block scammers who already have siphoned billions of dollars from pandemic-related jobless programs.

25 February 2021
Mexico: Reforms to the Mandatory Account Individual Account Program

Social Security Association (25.02.2021) On January 1, Mexico's government implemented reforms to the country's mandatory individual account pension program that include increasing employer contributions, adjusting government contributions, reducing the minimum contributions required for an old-age pension, boosting the guaranteed minimum pension, and capping administrative fees. The government finalized the changes on December 16, 2020, after reaching a reform agreement with Mexico's largest private-sector employer and trade union associations in July 2020. The reforms are intended to increase participation in the individual account program—particularly among lower income workers—by improving the adequacy of old-age pensions provided by the program. The government estimates that the reforms will increase future pensions by an average of 40 percent. (The pension increase could be as high as 103 percent for lifelong minimum-wage workers.)

The key provisions of the reform law—effective January 1 unless otherwise noted—include: Increasing employer contributions: Starting in 2023, employer contributions for the individual account old-age pension will increase for all employees earning more than the minimum wage. (The legal daily minimum wage is currently 141.70 pesos [US$6.98]; 213.39 pesos [US$10.52] in certain northern border areas.) This will be facilitated by replacing the current fixed employer contribution rate with one that increases with an employee's average daily earnings based on 8 salary bands. From 2023 to 2030, the contribution rates for the highest 7 salary bands will gradually increase from the current rate of 5.15 percent of daily covered payroll until they range from 6.202 percent to 13.875 percent. The contribution rate for the lowest salary band (the legal monthly minimum wage) will remain at the current rate. (The employee contribution rate will remain unchanged at 1.125 percent of daily covered earnings.) Adjusting government contributions: Starting in 2023, the government's contributions for the individual account old-age pension will be targeted more at lower income workers. Currently, the government contributes 0.225 percent of daily covered earnings for all workers plus a fixed daily amount of up to 6.09312 pesos (US$0.30) for workers with average daily earnings up to 15 Units of Measure and Adjustment (Unidad de Medida y Actualización, or UMA; the daily UMA is currently equal to 89.62 pesos [US$4.42]). Under the new rules, the 0.225-percent contribution will be eliminated, the maximum fixed daily amount will increase to 10.75 pesos (US$0.53), and only workers with earnings up to 4 UMAs will receive the subsidy. In addition, the government will pay a fixed daily amount of up to 2.45 pesos (US$0.12) for workers with earnings from 4.01 UMAs to 7.09 UMAs for 2023 only. Reducing required minimum contributions: The minimum weeks of contributions needed to qualify for an old-age pension decreased from 1,250 to 750. Starting in 2022, the minimum weeks of contributions will increase by 25 weeks a year until reaching 1,000 weeks in 2031. Boosting the guaranteed minimum pension: The guaranteed minimum pension increased from 3,289 pesos (US$162.12) a month to an average of 4,345 pesos (US$214.17) a month. The actual amount paid under the new rules ranges from 2,622 pesos (US$129.24) a month to 8,241 pesos (US$406.21) a month, depending on the insured person's age at retirement, contribution record, and average covered lifetime earnings. The guaranteed minimum pension amounts will be adjusted each February based on changes in Mexico's national consumer price index. Capping administrative fees: Starting in 2022, the fees charged by pension fund management companies (Administradoras de Fondos para el Retiro) for administering the individual account program cannot exceed a limit based on the average administrative fees for defined contribution pension programs in Chile, Colombia, and the United States. Once it is set, this new administrative fee cap can never increase, even if the peer-country average later rises. The National Commission for the Retirement Savings System (Comisión Nacional del Sistema de Ahorro para el Retiro) is required to review the fee cap annually and make downward adjustments as needed.

Mexico's old-age pension system consists of the mandatory individual account program, a legacy social insurance program, and a universal program. Both the individual account and social insurance programs cover private-sector employees and cooperative members, but the social insurance program was closed to new enrollees on July 1, 1997, when the individual account program was introduced. (Individuals who were covered by the social insurance program before this date can choose to receive a social insurance old-age pension at retirement.) The normal retirement age for the individual account and social insurance programs is 65. (Early retirement is possible under the individual account program.) The universal program covers all residents of Mexico and can be claimed at age 65 (for indigenous persons) or age 68 (for other covered individuals).

25 February 2021
Canada: Québec (Canada) Introduces Occupational Pension Plan

Social Security Agency (25.02.2021) On December 11, Québec's government approved a law introducing the Target Benefit Pension Plan (TBPP), an occupational pension plan that combines certain features of existing defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit (DB) plans. Like a DC plan, a TBPP is funded with employee and employer contributions paid at fixed rates and does not provide guaranteed benefits. However, by pooling its members' assets and setting a target benefit level, a TBPP can provide workers with a predictable periodic pension at retirement like a DB plan. The main objective behind the TBPP is to offer Québec's employers and workers another alternative to traditional DB plans, which have been in decline for many years. Additional regulatory guidance on the TBPP is expected by the end of 2023 from Retraite Québec, which supervises the province's mandatory and voluntary pension plans.

25 February 2021
Singapore: Introduction of Government Match for Provident Fund Catch-up Contributions

Social Security Administration (25.02.2021) Singapore Introduces Government Match for Provident Fund Catch-up Contributions In January, Singapore's Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board introduced the Matched Retirement Savings Scheme, a program that provides a dollar-for-dollar government match of up to S$600 (US$450.56) per year in catch-up contributions for qualifying CPF members from 2021 to 2025. To be eligible, a CPF member must be aged 55 to 70; have a Retirement Account (RA) balance of less than the Basic Retirement Sum (currently S$93,000 [US$69,836.69]); have average monthly income not exceeding S$4,000 (US$3,003.73); and meet certain asset limits. Anyone can make the catch-up contributions for eligible CPF members, including the members, their families, and their employers. (Catch-up contributions with no government match are allowed for all CPF members with account balances up to a certain limit that varies by age. The government provides tax incentives for up to S$7,000 [US$5,256.52] of catch-up contributions each year.) According to the government, around 440,000 CPF members, representing 53 percent of all members aged 55 to 70, are eligible for the program.

The CPF is a publicly managed provident fund program that is mandatory for most workers (including most public-sector workers) and voluntary for all other workers. Employers contribute 17 percent of monthly payroll greater than S$50 (US$37.55) for employees aged 55 or younger, 13 percent for employees aged 56 to 60, 9 percent for employees aged 61 to 65, or 13 percent for employees aged 66 or older. CPF members contribute 20 percent of monthly earnings of at least S$750 (US$563.20) if aged 55 or younger, 13 percent if aged 56 to 60, 7.5 percent if aged 61 to 65, or 5 percent if aged 66 or older. (CPF members earning at least S$500 [US$375.47] but less than S$750 a month pay a flat monthly amount based on their age and earnings.) CPF contributions are allocated into three different individual accounts: (1) an Ordinary Account (OA) that can be used to finance the purchase of a home, life and mortgage insurance, education, and investments in approved retirement-related financial products (for funds over S$20,000 [US$15,018.64]); (2) a Special Account (SA) that is principally for retirement, but funds over S$40,000 (US$30,037.29) can be invested in approved retirement-related financial products; and (3) a MediSave Account for certain hospitalization and medical expenses. Upon reaching age 55, a fourth account—the RA—is created from the combined account balances of the OA and SA accounts. Funds from the RA can be withdrawn for retirement as early as age 55 if the RA balance exceeds a certain minimum; otherwise, the standard payout age for CPF retirement benefits is 65.

18 February 2021
France: L’EN3S lance sa plateforme en ligne « une saison avec la sécu »

Education et solidarité (15.02.2021) L’Ecole nationale supérieure de Sécurité sociale (EN3S), vient de lancer un tout nouveau programme intitulé : « une saison avec la Sécu ». Créé dans le sillage des rencontres « une journée avec la sécu », ce nouveau dispositif pédagogique est entièrement virtuel et s’adresse aux enseignant.e.s et leurs classes allant du second degré à l’enseignement supérieur en France. Son principal objectif ? Renforcer l’éducation à la solidarité et à la citoyenneté sociale.