International Labour Organisation
The Global Business Network for Social Protection Floors
On 26 January 2017, the National School for Social Security (EN3S) signed with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) a partnership agreement under its international strategy, to address present-day challenges in the development of social security coverage.
A partnership to extend social protection in the world
Since 1980, EN3S has participated in the drive for the global expansion of efficient social protection to cover the greatest possible number of people. The ILO has designated EN3S to manage an open exchange platform for French-speaking companies to promote and share best practices for spreading social protection floors. These companies have committed to a global strategy to provide their employees with a minimum level of social protection standards recognised by the ILO.
A report published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2014 showed that 73% of the world’s population does not have access to adequate social protection coverage. Social protection floors, defined in Recommendation no. 202 adopted by the International Labour Conference (ILC) in 2012, are minimum guarantees that each country should establish and implement. These floors provide, at a minimum, the guarantee of access to essential health care (maternity care, etc.) and income security for all.
In addition, the ILC recognises social protection not only as a fundamental human right but also as an economic and social necessity. An extensive body of research has demonstrated the link between social protection and economic development. Social protection is thus recognised as a possible driver of development.
It is in this context that the International Labour Organisation launched, in October 2015, the Global Business Network for Social Protection Floors, bringing together multinational companies, employers’ organisations and private sector foundations wishing to share their experience and contribute to the promotion and implementation of social protection floors around the world.
The global business network for social protection floors has three objectives:
- Document the results and impacts of social protection on the social and economic performance of enterprises;
- Encourage exchanges between companies wishing to implement social protection programmes, and support them in understanding international labour standards;
- Increase the involvement of the private sector in the development of public social protection schemes.
A platform with French-speaking companies committed to social protection floors.
To welcome and support French-speaking companies that are sensitive to the theme of developing global social coverage, EN3S and the ILO have set up a French-language platform in the context of the Global Business Network for Social Protection Floors (GBN).
This French-speaking platform aims at enabling each member company to engage in discussion and share with the global platform the practices they are implementing.
Since September 2016, EN3S has been managing and organising this platform, whose role is also justified by the fact that French-speaking companies are at the forefront in promoting social protection programmes. In addition, this French-language exchange and engagement platform supports the global debate by documenting the results and impacts of social protection on companies. It supports companies wishing to develop social protection programmes and helps to investigate how companies can promote the development of public social protection schemes.
A number of large companies have already joined the French-language platform: Bouygues, ÏÏDKids, Kering, Legrand, L’Oréal, LVMH, Safran, Saint-Gobain, Sodexo, Swiss Life, Vinci.
Their input has made it possible to:
- Encourage exchanges of experience and joint reflection to identify possible solutions and tools that may be useful and transferable to other companies wishing to develop a social coverage programme for their employees.
- Prepare, on the basis of their experience, an initial “Handbook of Good Practices”, setting out the key stages in the process of designing and implementing a social protection programme for their international subsidiaries. The handbook provides case studies on individual companies and at the same time, identifies examples of practices that can be adopted by other companies wishing to engage in this process.
- Launch a call for research projects to obtain a list of indicators to measure the impact of company programmes on the development of social protection floors.
- Define the scope of social protection and the role of companies, formulating these concepts in “corporate language”
- Consider expanding the group to other French-speaking companies around the world
 A recent study conducted by Tufts University (Boston) on the ‘Better Work’ programme of the ILO demonstrates the causal link between better working conditions and better business performance.
 More investments in social protection result in better human resources in the country, greater productivity, more entrepreneurship, and an increase in decent jobs. They also favour a better fiscal environment, which makes it possible to invest more in social protection schemes.