Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs


The Future of Social Protection

What Works for Non-standard Workers?

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.

Published on November 07, 2018


Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary
Ensuring social protection for non-standard workers
Australia: Providing social protection to non-standard workers with tax financing
Austria: How social protection rules affect self-employed and independent contractors
France: Social protection for the self-employed
Germany: Social insurance for artists and writers
Italy: Para-subordinate workers and their social protection
Netherlands: non-standard work and social protection
Sweden: Voluntary unemployment insurance
Powered by OECD iLibrary