The Future of Social Protection

What Works for Non-standard Workers?

image of The Future of Social Protection

Social protection systems are often still designed for the archetypical full-time dependent employee. Work patterns deviating from this model – be it self-employment or online "gig work" – can lead to gaps in social protection coverage. Globalisation and digitalisation are likely to exacerbate this discrepancy as new technologies make it easier and cheaper to offer and find work online, and online work platforms have experienced spectacular growth in recent years. While new technologies and the new forms of work they create bring the incomplete social protection of non-standard workers to the forefront of the international policy debate, non-standard work and policies to address such workers’ situation are not new: across the OECD on average, one in six workers is self-employed, and a further one in eight employees is on a temporary contract. Thus, there are lessons to be learned from country experiences of providing social protection to non-standard workers. This report presents seven policy examples from OECD countries, including the "artists’ insurance system" in Germany or voluntary unemployment insurance for self-employed workers in Sweden. It draws on these studies to suggest policy options for providing social protection for non-standard workers, and for increasing the income security of on-call workers and those on flexible hours contracts.



Italy: Para-subordinate workers and their social protection

This chapter focuses on para-subordinate workers in Italy, i.e. individuals who are legally self-employed but who are often “economically dependent” on a single employer. The chapter first presents the welfare provisions that para-subordinate workers are entitled to receive, pointing out that the disadvantages facing para-subordinate workers relative to employees have been recently reduced. Afterwards, making use of the most suitable available longitudinal data, statistics about the evolution over time of the number and characteristics of para-subordinate workers are shown and the first phase of the working career of para-subordinate workers is observed, assessing vulnerability in terms of earnings level, employability and accrual of pension contributions over a ten-year period.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error