Welcome to the May socialprotection.org newsletter dedicated to informal work!

Workers in the formal economy are accustomed to a regular income, health insurance, unemployment benefits, and a pension when they retire. For workers in the informal economy, unemployment, illness, maternity, or retirement can result in their families falling into poverty.

The challenges informal workers encounter is staggering, considering the informal economy comprises more than half of the global labour force and more than 90% of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) worldwide (
ILO, 2018). Ensuring the sustainable livelihoods of informal workers is therefore a pressing issue demanding government attention, despite operating beyond the purview of taxation or national gross domestic product (GDP).

Extending social protection to informal workers has important social and economic implications when one accounts for their role in the economy and the level of risk they encounter. For example, access to health care can secure their participation in the informal market, while unemployment and maternity benefits can improve resilience to temporary loss of income.

Social protection is increasingly playing a key role in securing the livelihoods of informal workers around the world. This month’s newsletter highlights the challenges of the informal economy, while showcasing examples of social protection being extended to informal workers. Enjoy reading!

This month we share the following publications that address the role of social protection in the informal market:

Organizing for Change: Workers in the Informal Economy (2018)

by Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)

Watch this video for insight into the contributions and challenges of informal workers in Ghana, India and Thailand.

Extending coverage: Social protection and the informal economy (2017)

by the European Commission and the European Union

This book offers guidelines and recommendations on the legal and institutional framework, for extending access to social protection, highlighting community-based social protection.

Social Protection for Informal Workers in Asia (2016)

by the
Asian Development Bank (ADB)

See case studies analysing the institutional aspects and design challenges of Asian social protection systems, in an effort to expand coverage for informal workers.
Extending social insurance to informal workers: A gender analysis 2016

by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Gender-responsive reforms can address the risks women face through legislation in the labour market; recognition of the care economy; innovative policy design; and investment in gender-sensitive delivery capacity.
Extension of Social Protection to Workers in the Informal Economy In Zambia (2016)

by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Irish Aid and the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Read lessons from field studies undertaken in an effort to extend social protection to workers in the informal economy in Zambia.

Blog Posts
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Virtual Campus: Webinars
Register for this month's upcoming webinars:
17 May 2018

13:00 - 14:30 PM (GMT)

24 May 2018

14:00 - 15:30 PM (GMT)

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Check out highlighted upcoming events!
18 June

1 - 12 October
1 - 12 October 

Online Community
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Join 115 practitioners dedicated to social protection programmes that promote livelihoods and assist poor and vulnerable people access jobs in the formal and informal sector. This includes cash-for-work, food-for-work, employment guarantee schemes, asset transfers, support for skills training, livelihood programmes and many others. The Community contributes to filling in the knowledge gap and facilitate South-South learning.

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