Extending Social Protection to Informal Workers

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WIEGO's Social Protection to Informal Workers Initiative

The extension of social protection to informal workers is a major global policy concern highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Informal workers make up over 60 percent of the global workforce, representing two billion people, yet they are often excluded from all forms of social protection. This meant that when the crisis hit, only a minority of informal workers were able to access income support measures.

Our work focuses on producing research to support more inclusive social protection policies and programmes, as well as supporting organizations of informal workers to more effectively engage in global, regional and national level policy spaces, through research, advocacy and workers’ education.

In the next series of our podcast and briefing notes, we will start a building-block approach to mapping social protection, exploring topics such as financing, governance, registration and delivery. Subscribe to WIEGO's newsletter and to our podcast in your favourite player to check the new series.

Latest Research

Our latest social protection research project focuses on the economics of social protection; specifically challenging what we consider to be key economic orthodoxies which undermine the extension of universal social protection. 

Hear more about our “Challenging the Economic Orthodoxies” project through our podcast.

Read our other latest pieces of research:

Policy Analysis and Engagements 

WIEGO is an active member of various coalitions and platforms working on universal social protection. This includes the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors, observer membership of the Social Protection Inter-Agency Cooperation Board (SPIAC-B), and the Universal Social Protection 2030 initiative. During 2020 and 2021 we also participated in the Social Protection Alternatives for Covid-19 Expert Advice (SPACE) group, providing advisory services to bilateral and multilateral institutions working to extend relief to informal workers. 


WIEGO supports organizations of informal workers to build their capacity to work on social protection issues and to use social protection as a mobilizing and organization building tool. With StreetNet International, we are currently piloting on an online workers education course on social protection.

Contact: Laura Alfers, Social Protection Programme Director, laura.alfers@wiego.org

Other Resources

Don’t forget to check in on our regular Social Protection briefing notes and podcast for latest news and information.

Informal Economy Theme