Strengthening Social Security for Formal and Informal Sector Workers in Sri Lanka

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), it is estimated that the majority of the world’s population (55%) live without proper social insurance or social assistance. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, highlighted that rapid distribution of social assistance helped maintain aggregate demand and reduced the duration of economic stagnation for certain countries. It was further shown that economies with better pre-existing social security systems were able to roll out additional support without much difficulty, thus the reason for these countries to be less affected by the pandemic.

Due to the weak existing social security systems in Sri Lanka, the country is currently experiencing difficulties with an economic downturn as a result of COVID-19, highlighting the importance of effective social protection to keep individuals out of poverty regardless of the sector they are employed in. The proposed IPS study aims to map the existing social security schemes for formal and informal sector workers in Sri Lanka who are both, in active age and in the age of retirement in order to identify gaps in the benefit levels and coverage. Furthermore, the study will provide recommendations, based on international standards and best practices to improve the available social protection in Sri Lanka for the mentioned groups of workers.

Research team

Nisha Arunatilake
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Dr Ganga Tilakaratna
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Lakshila Wanigasinghe
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Suresh Ranasinghe
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International Labour Organization (ILO)