On 10 September 2020, G20 labour and employment ministers met virtually to discuss the impact of, and necessary responses to, the COVID-19 crisis. Social protection was one of four priority areas highlighted in the declaration from the meeting. The ministers emphasized the need to work closely with international organizations, acknowledging the important contributions by the International Social Security Association (ISSA) alongside the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank.
Social security stands at the core of national responses to the pandemic across the world. The coronavirus has hit societies and economies hard, and the social and economic consequences for people have been dramatic. According to the G20 labour and employment ministers’ Declaration, an equivalent of 400 million full-time jobs were lost in the 2nd quarter of 2020, compared to one year before.
Through its Coronavirus Monitor, the ISSA has documented and analysed how governments and social security institutions have implemented unprecedented measures to reduce the shock through partial unemployment and sickness benefit schemes, social security measures for the self-employed and for migrant workers, emergency benefits for vulnerable groups, family benefit schemes, flexibility and exemptions for social security contributions, and more.
Recognizing the Sustainable Development Goals, the G20 ministers declared that they are committed to “continue to adapt and improve [their] social protection systems to provide access to adequate social protection for all and [to] continue to promote access to employment for all, without discrimination on any ground.”
The ministers also recognized the importance of working closely with international organizations, such as the ILO, the OECD and the World Bank, in addition to the ISSA. The ISSA works jointly with these, and others, to achieve the goal of universal social protection by 2030.
The Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting was held under the Saudi Arabian 2020 Presidency of the G20.