Russia ratifies Social Security Convention

To support the BRICS countries in their efforts to strengthen cooperation on social security, the International Social Security Association (ISSA) launches a Virtual Liaison Office in cooperation with the International Labour Office (ILO).

On 11 June 2019, the first meeting of the BRICS Liaison Officers on Social Security is being organized at the ISSA General Secretariat in Geneva. This is also the occasion to launch the BRICS Virtual Liaison Office on social security, including an online cooperation platform hosted on the ISSA web portal. This is a practical tool to facilitate contact and information sharing between the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“The BRICS countries are key partners for the ISSA and play a central role in global efforts to ensure strong and dynamic social security systems and institutions. By working together, we can also strengthen our efforts in expanding social security coverage in line with the Sustainable Development Goals”, says Marcelo Abi-Ramia Caetano, Secretary General of the ISSA.

The Virtual Liaison Office is based on an agreement signed in 2018 at the Fourth BRICS Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting in Durban, South Africa. The ministers agreed on stronger cooperation with the aim to improve social security systems and administration, exchange on social security agreements, and promote international standards and guidelines.

In the Durban agreement, the ISSA and ILO were given a central role in facilitating cooperation, under the guidance and management of the BRICS Employment Working Group. The cooperation takes into consideration both the relevant ILO Conventions and Recommendations on social security and the implementation of the ISSA Guidelines for social security administration.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda includes the objective to implement social protection systems and measures for all by 2030. The ISSA recently joined the Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection.

(Baku, Azerbaijan) The public social security institutions of Belgium have been awarded the ISSA Good Practice Award for Europe for digitizing and automating their services.

The Auxiliary Unemployment Benefits Funds (CAPAC) of Belgium received the award on behalf of the public social security institutions of Belgium at the ISSA Regional Social Security Forum for Europe in Baku, Azerbaijan. The International Social Security Association (ISSA) organizes the regional forum and competition every three years. An international jury selected the Belgian entry from among 76 good practices submitted by 25 social security institutions from 20 European countries.

“Making use of technology to improve the efficiency and service delivery is key to the strengthening of social security. Belgium has led the way in digitalization and automation and its institutions have truly merited the ISSA Good Practice Award for Europe”, said Marcelo Abi-Ramia Caetano, Secretary General of the ISSA.

Success through digitization and automation

Celebrating 75 years of social security in Belgium in 2019, the country’s social security institutions built on decades of experience as they embarked on an extensive modernization process to prepare for the future.

“Thanks to a joint effort by many organisations, a maximum number of social benefits are now automatically granted, without citizens or their employers having to make declarations anymore. The digitalization and automation of social security services in Belgium is a win-win for social security institutions, employers and citizens. Receiving the ISSA Good Practice Award for Europe is a great recognition of this important work”, said Jean-Marc Vandenbergh, Director General of the Auxiliary Unemployment Benefits Funds.

Some 3,000 actors in the Belgian social sector were involved in this major re-engineering project to ensure that a maximum number of social benefits and subsidiary rights are granted automatically. In total, 800 paper forms have been replaced by 220 electronic processes, and more than a billion paper-based exchanges have been replaced by electronic messages. The administrative burden for citizens, companies, and institutions has been drastically reduced, and the new system is expected to save employers EUR 1 billion annually.

Belgium will host the ISSA World Social Security Forum in Brussels from 14–18 October 2019, as part of its national celebration of 75 years of social security.

Special Mention given to good practices from 11 countries

The international Jury also awarded Certificates of Merit with a Special Mention from the Jury to 17 good practices from 12 institutions in 11 European countries:

Austria: Federation of Austrian Social Insurance Institutions

  • Prevention and rehabilitation of occupational skin diseases – BK 19

Azerbaijan: State Social Protection Fund under the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Azerbaijan

  • Unified subsystem for electronic application and assignment of targeted state social aid

Belgium: National Employment Office

  • 100 per cent digital customer service for career break programmes
  • Development of a diversity code and creation of the “respect tool”
  • The New Way of Working at ONEM

Finland: Social Insurance Institution

  • The Kela Tips: An innovative communication concept for the social media era

France: National Family Allowances Fund

  • Coverage extension: The fight against non-take-up of benefits

Germany: German Federal Pension Insurance

  • Medically and Professionally-Oriented Rehabilitation (MPOR)

Germany: German Social Accident Insurance

  • “Die Goldene Hand”: Prevention prize of the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the trade and logistics industry (BGHW)

Ireland: Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

  • Customer satisfaction surveys: Listening to the voice of the customer
  • Treatment benefit reform and transformation to digital delivery

Malta: Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity

  • Making work pay

Poland: Social Insurance Institution

  • Implementation of only-electronic medical certificates of incapacity for work
  • Implementation of the Retirement Counsellor Service
  • Mystery Shopping research in the area of customer service

Sweden: Swedish Pensions Agency

  • A guide for those left behind

Turkey: Social Security Institution

  • Registration by SMS of employees who work less than ten days in home services


Group photo

As part of its Centenary celebrations, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is running a ratification campaign to encourage its member states to ratify at least one international labour Convention in the course of 2019. Among the 15 new ratifications so far, the Russian Federation has ratified the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102). The ISSA congratulates the Russian Federation on its ratification!

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