An evaluation of social security legislation and policy in Zambia against international legal instruments
Mulenga, Nancy Chewe
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Zambia’s social security system is comprised of contributory and non-contributory social protection programmes, the former requires contribution from both the employer and the employee while the latter is tax financed administered by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services. Social protection is therefore provided through social insurance and social assistance which requires means testing to determine eligibility. The study evaluated the social security legislation and policy in Zambia against international instruments on social security, particularly Convention 102 (1952) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The evaluation was important in order to determine whether the national legislation is in line with international instruments which allude to social security as a fundamental human right to which every human being is entitled. The main objective of the study was to determine the adequacy of the law in providing social security in line with international instruments. The specific objectives were to determine the adequacy of the law on social security in Zambia and establish whether Zambia is ready to ratify Convention 102 and the benefits of ratification thereof. The study was doctrinal as it heavily relied on ‘black-letter’ law to approach, explain and understand the law on social security. The research relied on both primary and secondary sources of information and conducted unstructured interviews with key informants who were purposively selected in order to get more insights on the subject. The study found that, despite Zambia being a member State of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ratifying the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights it has to date not ratified Convention 102 which provides for international standards for social security systems. Convention 102 contains flexibility clauses which make it relevant to all its members regardless of national economic development status. It was also established that, despite the non ratification of Convention 102, Zambia’s social security legislation provides coverage for four contingencies out of the five that the ILO recommends a ratifying State to endeavor to provide cover for its citizens. The four contingencies covered are; old age, invalidity, survivor’s benefits and employment injury benefits. It was established that, ratification of Convention 102 would send a clear message of the commitment of the Government to develop social security. The study has thus, emphasised the need to ratify Convention 102 as this will help the country to progressively provide coverage for a those contingencies that are currently not covered by legislation and also progressively increase the population to be covered. The country has further not adopted a national social security policy but relies on the broad social protection policy; this has contributed to the lack of reform on social security law and its institutions. It is therefore recommended that, Institutions should be reformed and the law redrawn and broadened, this is needed in order to align the law on social security to prevailing international standards and best international practices. The study recommends that the failed referendum that sought to include Economic, Social and Cultural rights in the Bill of Rights be revisited and that there is need to come up with a law to govern and regulate social assistance schemes. Key words: Social security, legislation, economic, international.
The University of Zambia
- Law