Social protection floor

Social protection floors are nationally defined sets of basic social security guarantees that should ensure, as a minimum that, over the life cycle, all in need have access to essential health care and to basic income security which together secure effective access to goods and services defined as necessary at the national level.

The ILO strategy on the extension of social protection is based on the two-dimensional strategy adopted by the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference in 2011. This two-dimensional approach aims at the rapid implementation of national social protection floors containing basic social security guarantees that ensure universal access to essential health care and income security at least at a nationally defined minimum level (horizontal dimension), in line with the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202), and the progressive achievement of higher levels of protection (vertical dimension) within comprehensive social security systems according to the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102).
Social protection floors are nationally-defined sets of basic social security guarantees which secure protection aimed at preventing or alleviating poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion. These guarantees should ensure at a minimum that, over the life cycle, all in need have access to essential health care and basic income security.

National social protection floors should comprise at least the following four social security guarantees, as defined at the national level:
  • access to essential health care, including maternity care;
  • basic income security for children, providing access to nutrition, education, care and any other necessary goods and services;
  • basic income security for persons in active age who are unable to earn sufficient income, in particular in cases of sickness, unemployment, maternity and disability;
  • basic income security for older persons.
Such guarantees should be provided to all residents and all children, as defined in national laws and regulations, and subject to existing international obligations.


  1. Sharing Innovative Experiences: Successful Social Protection Floor Experiences

    The present publication was produced in partnership between the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). This volume highlights 18 case studies on social protection policies from 15 countries of the global South. It is the first to bring together examples of good social protection floor practices for South-South learning. The knowledge, expertise and experience that these countries have gained in their own efforts of establishing an SPF represent a valuable source for other countries interested in planning, expanding, extending or reorienting their own SPF systems. The case studies were written by representatives from national and local governmental agencies, scientific institutions and national practitioners as a learning tool.

  2. Social protection floor for a fair and inclusive globalization

    Report of the Social Protection Floor Advisory Group chaired by Michelle Bachelet. In many ways the power of the social protection floor lies in its simplicity. The floor is based on the idea that everyone should enjoy at least basic income security sufficient to live, guaranteed through transfers in cash or in kind, such as pensions for the elderly and persons with disabilities, child benefits, income support benefits and/or employment guarantees and services for the unemployed and working poor.

  3. Building a social protection floor in Thailand

    Factsheet on the UN Social Protection Floor team's activities in Thailand in the framework of the United Nations Partnership Framework (UNPAF) on social protection.

  4. The Social Protection Floor Initiative (fact sheet 2012)

    This updated flyer, available in several languages, is designed as a promotional tool for a broad public, to get the Social Protection Floor widely known.

  5. Social protection floor for a fair globalization. Policy coherence and international coordination

    This paper contains information about the United Nations Chief Executive Board initiative to enhance UN-wide policy coherence and institutional coordination around the concept of the Social Protection Floor.

  6. Social Protection Floor Initiative: Manual and Strategic Framework for Joint UN Country Operations

    A guide to a global and coherent social policy that promotes nationally defined strategies protecting a minimum level of access to essential services and income security for all.