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Strengthening social protection for the future of work

Over the past several decades, there has been a growing diversification in working arrangements in G20 countries. This diversification reflects profound changes in the world of work, namely globalization and technological advances, including digitalization, that have facilitated the creation and dispersion of production networks across the globe. These transformations, coupled with the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics, the growth of the “platform economy” and subsequent casualization of labour markets, have raised questions about the future of work. In particular, they have also raised questions about how social protection systems, including social insurance and tax- financed mechanisms, can adapt to these changes.
The diversification of employment arrangements, as exemplified through the decline of “standard employment” 1 , and the rise of “non-standard employment” (NSE), provides opportunities and challenges for the future world of work in general, and social protection in particular. While uniformity is neither desired nor necessary, this diversification has nonetheless brought challenges for the attainment of decent work, given that many labour laws and social security policies were to a large extent predicated on the standard employment relationship. The challenge is therefore to adapt labour and social protection policies so as to foster an inclusive labour market for the future.
This paper sets out trends and provides insights on how to cope with challenges arising from the growing diversification of employment arrangements with respect to strengthening social protection, within a broader context of employment and social policies. It provides data and insight into some of the larger challenges that have accompanied this transformation and describes a range of policy responses