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Bureau of International Labor Affairs
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Social Protection

Social protection can reduce the negative effects of economic crises on individuals and help workers stay connected to the job market. All people should have access to basic social protection floors, yet the ILO estimates that over 76 per cent of the world's population lacks adequate social protection coverage, and more than half lacks any coverage at all. While there is no universal definition of social protection, the term in the labor sphere often refers to worker protections such as occupational safety and health regulations, unemployment insurance and workers' compensation, and job skills training.

Our Strategy

ILAB seeks to promote access to effective social protection for all through advocacy in international organizations such as the International Labor Organization, G20 Labor and Employment Ministers' process, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization of American States and the United Nations.  We work to advance U.S. Government views on social protection policies and programs and their contributions to inclusive economic growth.  We also provide expert advice in U.S. government inter-agency discussions on the relationship between social protection and development. 

Our work to eliminate exploitative child labor around the world includes efforts to strengthen social protection systems to provide access to assistance for families-in-need, so that their children do not need to engage in exploitative work.


  • Foster inclusive economic growth globally by promoting strong social protection systems. 
  • Support country efforts to eliminate child labor through improved social protection systems.
  • Encourage implementation of well-designed social protection programs. 

Further Resources