Monitoring Framework on effective coverage and adequacy of social protection – proposals for refining indicators
Over the last decades, European welfare states have gone through substantial changes to adapt to several structural changes, including population ageing, technological change and the emergence of new forms of work, etc. Despite the efforts to adapt to these challenges, a large segment of European citizens remains uncovered or scarcely protected by welfare programs. Consequently, the issue of universality of social protection has gained growing relevance at the EU level.
The Council Recommendation on access to social protection for workers and the self-employed constitutes the first flagship action in this direction. In this regard, in November 2020, the European Commission, jointly with the Social Protection Committee, adopted a version 0 of the Monitoring Framework on Access to Social Protection for Workers and the Self-Employed. It proposed a preliminary battery of indicators to assess formal and effective coverage and adequacy of social protection systems across the Member States. In February 2022, an update of the Monitoring Framework was published, containing up-to-date statistics, a slightly refined list of indicators and some methodological enhancements.
Within this context, in cooperation with the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL), the Human Capital and Employment Unit (B.4) of JRC supports the assessment, updating, and expansion of the monitoring framework.
On behalf of the JRC Unit B.4, FBK-IRVAPP worked on a proposal for new ideas and indicators to further develop the Monitoring Framework. As none of the indicators currently included in the Monitoring Framework aims at measuring the adequacy of social protection when a social risk materialises, new indicators were proposed to fill this gap. The new indicators measure the adequacy of social programs through the proportion of individuals who have stopped working as a consequence of retirement, unemployment, sickness, maternity (and other social risk materialisation) not at risk of poverty.
Based on the information provided by the EU-SILC database, the adequacy level was computed for pension and unemployment benefits for EU27 countries over the 2014-2020 period. As expected, the adequacy of public pensions is significantly higher than that guaranteed by unemployment benefits. Furthermore, the adequacy levels for these two programmes were also estimated simulating that retirees and unemployed individuals leave their respective households to live alone in order to capture the sole contribution of pension and unemployment benefits, respectively. Again, the results were not unexpected: neutralising the family role in protecting retirees and unemployed individuals, pension and especially unemployment benefits result much less capable to provide adequate protection.