Egypt’s reformed social insurance system: How might design change incentivize enrolment?
Irene N. Selwaness
In 2019, the Government of Egypt issued a new legal framework for its social insurance system. Aside from providing a unified scheme covering different groups of workers, the new regulation allowed for systemic and parametric reforms that were aimed in large part at addressing the challenge of workers’ low enrolment in social insurance, with an emphasis on informal workers. The reforms reduced the rate of contributions paid by employees and employers, increased the penalties for employers who do not register their workers, and improved the benefits structure. The law also specified provisions to facilitate the enrolment of informal workers by offering to cover the employer’s share of their contributions. However, the law limited such improved access to nine specific categories of informal workers, a decision that fails to recognize the diversity of informal forms of work. Based on the analysis of the characteristics of contributors to the previous system, this article argues that structural barriers pertaining to the large numbers of low-earners and informal enterprises in the economy will likely hinder the expansion of system enrolment despite the legal reforms.
Extension of coverage
Social policies & programmes
social security reform
Biometric technology and beneficiary rights in social protection programmes
Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona
Volume 72 (2019), Issue 4
Over the past decade, the use of biometric technology in the identification and authentication of beneficiaries of social protection programmes has increased. However, there has been little debate among governments, donors and civil society organizations on the potential implications of this technology in relation to the inclusion of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, as well as for security and the protection of privacy and personal data. This article aims to fill that gap. First, the article reviews how biometric technology is used in various social protection programmes around the world. Then, it examines the potential risks and challenges of deploying biometric technology in social protection programmes. Finally, it assesses the requirements necessary to ensure that biometric technology is implemented in compliance with international law standards. The focus is on developing countries, where the use of biometric technology in identification systems has increased considerably in recent years. Among the key conclusions of the article is that the adoption of biometric technology, often encouraged by donors, needs to be preceded by democratic debate where all alternatives are discussed. The adoption of this technology should be accompanied by a context-specific assessment of risks, and the adoption of an appropriate legal and institutional framework to protect rights and ensure that the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the population are not excluded.
Governance and administration
Co-production and social innovation in street-level employability services: Lessons from services with lone parents in Scotland
Anne Marie Cullen
Volume 71 (2018), Issue 4
The United Kingdom, as an exemplar liberal welfare state, has been characterized as in the vanguard of “work-first” activation – deploying high levels of compulsion and standardized employability services that seek to move people from welfare to work as quickly as possible. However, despite the extension of welfare conditionality to excluded groups such as lone parents, government-led, work-first employability programmes have often proved ineffective at assisting the most vulnerable to escape poverty or even just to progress in the labour market. We argue that alternative approaches, defined by co-production and social innovation, have the potential to be more successful. We draw on a study of local services targeting lone parents led by third sector–public sector partnerships in five localities in Scotland. Our research identifies a link between programme governance and management (defined by co-governance and collaborative partnership-working) and co-produced street-level services that deliver benefits in terms of social innovation and employability. We draw on 90 interviews with lone parents, and more than 100 interviews with delivery stakeholders and street-level workers, to identify factors associated with positive social and employability outcomes. The article concludes by identifying potential lessons for the governance and delivery of future services targeting vulnerable groups.