Lao People’s Democratic Republic

 

Around 70% of the Lao population lives in rural areas, usually with low and irregular incomes, poor working conditions, and limited access to social protection. High informality presents a significant administrative and financial challenge for extending social insurance coverage. The country’s economy is highly dependent on migrant remittances, which were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreaks, with many families being pushed further into poverty. Women were affected to a greater extent, as they are more represented among the poor, vulnerable, and in some of the hardest-hit sectors such as tourism, retail, manufacturing, and garments. 

The Government of Lao PDR recognises the need to effectively address these challenges to tackle the persistent disparities based on gender, age, location, ethnicity, language, educational attainment, disability, and socioeconomic status. Accordingly, a National Social Protection Strategy was adopted in 2020, to be overseen by the newly created National Social Protection Commission.

The project will support the government’s efforts to establish a shock-responsive and sustainable social protection system to better respond to future crises.The actions will contribute to extending coverage to unregistered workers and small and medium-sized enterprises through a nuanced and evidence-based design of the social security scheme and administrative systems, improved financial sustainability of the National Social Security Fund and analysis of the provisions in the Social Security Law. 

Resources

UN briefing note: Developing a shock-responsive National Social Protection System to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in Lao PDR

Partners

The project will be jointly implemented by the ILO and the Lao Social Security Organisation (LSSO) of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

Contacts

Loveleen DE, Programme Manager, ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia, and Lao PDR – del@ilo.org

Nuno Cunha, Sr Technical Specialist, Social Protection, ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia, and Lao PDR – cunhan@ilo.org

Rural workers returning home after work in Van Vieng, Laos (2020)

Fisher in Vientiane, Laos (2021) 

Workers in the informal economy at their food stalls at a night market in Vientiane, Laos (2019)