Policymakers should modify social insurance to protect rights in light of the changing nature of work

Author: Maria Gonzalez-Miranda & Ivailo Izvorski, Brookings, Published on: 4 April 2018

"Social insurance in the time of robots," 4 April 2018

The nature of work is being increasingly and suddenly altered by technological change, growing cross-border mobility, declining birth rates, and rising life expectancy. A growing share of work is done either under contracts that are shorter-term and less predictable, or without any contracts at all... Big changes are needed to ensure public insurance schemes respond to the greater diversity of labor markets and forms of work... [P]olicymakers [also] need to still address the... challenge of providing adequate yet affordable support to workers.

... [T]hree interconnected changes for social insurance to catch up with the diversifying world of work while addressing fiscal and social sustainability concerns:

  • ... [P]rovide a basic layer of health and unemployment support, de-link social insurance from employment contracts, and change the financing of public schemes from payroll contributions to general government revenues.
  • [M]ove to a general-revenue financed basic pension for all and fold the remaining pay-as-you-go... defined-benefit systems into a fully-funded, defined-contribution scheme for all who make contributions to the scheme
  • [S]et up a complementary pillar of privately-owned accounts for unemployment, health insurance, and old-age pensions, funded by tax-free private contributions

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