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Right To Social Security

Right to social security is a kind of natural right and it isrecognized as a basic human right by most of the international personality. The concept of social security was first introduced in Germany in 1883.According to this scheme each member of a particular trade (blacksmiths, painters, weavers etc.) was required to contribute at regular intervals; Money from this fund was used for food, lodging, hospital and funeral expenses of aged and disabled members.

Generally accepted definition of social security is “right to social security assistance for those unable to work due to sickness, disability, maternity, employment injury, unemployment or old age”. Internationally the concept of social security as a basic human right came to play by ILO’s declaration of Philadelphia (1944) and its income security recommendation 1944( no.67).Then this right is uphelded in various international instruments like international bill of rights (UDHR,ICESCR) and is reflected in various international conventions. Most of the states in the world accepted and recognized this right as human right and enforce it through their legal instruments. This paper will briefly point out the various international conventions and declarations, Indian municipal laws and schemes which directly or indirectly recognize the social security as a human right.

International Human Rights Law:
Social security was established as a basic human right in the ILO’s Declaration of Philadelphia(1944) and its Income Security Recommendation,1944 (No. 67). This right is upheld in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966.

Following are international instruments which made clear that social security is a human right through their articles.

International Bill of Rights:
Universal Declaration of Human Right:
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the right to social security in article 22,
Which states that: "Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.”

And article 25, which enshrines the right to an adequate standard of living, stating that:
"(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection."

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Right
Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognizes "the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance."
The right to social security is furthermore recognized in Article 10, which states that "special protection should be accorded to mothers during a reasonable period before and after childbirth. During such period working mothers should be accorded paid leave or leave with adequate social security benefits."

State parties obligation:
State parties to the ICESCR have the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the right to social security. In the General Comment no 19 (2007) On the Right to Social Security the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights clarified that the right to social security as enshrined in the ICESCR encompasses:
"the right to access and maintain benefits, whether in cash or in kind, from (a) lack of work-related income caused by sickness, disability, maternity, employment injury, unemployment, old age, or death of a family member; (b) unaffordable access to health care; (c) insufficient family support, particularly children and adult dependents"

State parties must ensure that "the social security system will be adequate, accessible for everyone and will cover social risks and contingencies". State parties also have an obligation to facilitate the right to social security by sufficiently "recognizing this right within the national political and legal systems, preferably by way of legislative implementation" and "adopting a national social security strategy".

International covenant on civil and political rights:
According to the UN Human Rights Committee article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on discrimination applies to the right to social security. In a General Comment from 2000 the Committee highlighted the right to social security as an area where women are frequently subject of discrimination.

UN Conventions And Specific Instruments:
Convention on elimination of all forms of racial discrimination:
The right to social security is recognized in article 5 which requires that State parties must prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination in all of its forms, and to guarantee the right of everyone "without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of... the right to public health, medical care, social security and social services".

Convention on elimination of all forms of discriminations against women:
It enshrines the right to social security for women in article 11, stating that women have "the right to social security, particularly in cases of retirement, unemployment, sickness, invalidity and old age and other incapacity to work, as well as the right to paid leave”.

Convention on the rights of the children:
It enshrines the right of children to social security in article 26, stating that: "(1) States Parties shall recognize for every child the right to benefit from social security, including social insurance, and shall take the necessary measures to achieve the full realization of this right in accordance with their national law.

(2) The benefits should, where appropriate, be granted, taking into account the resources and the circumstances of the child and persons having responsibility for the maintenance of the child, as well as any other consideration relevant to an application for benefits made by or on behalf of the child.

The Convention further elaborates on the right of children to social security in article 18 in relation to working parents, stating that "States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities and shall ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children."

According to the Convention "States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that children of working parents have the right to benefit from child-care services and facilities for which they are eligible."
Article 20 of the Convention makes provisions for the right to social security of children without parents, stating that "A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State." And that "States Parties shall in accordance with their national laws ensure alternative care for such a child”.

ILO conventions and recommendations relevant to social security extension policies include:
The Social Security (Minimum Standards)
Convention, 1952 (No. 102)
The Equality of Treatment (Social Security)
Convention, 1962 (No. 118)
The Employment Injury Benefits
Convention, 1964 (Schedule I amended in1980) (No.121)
Invalidity, Old-Age and Survivors’ Benefits
Convention, 1967 (No. 128)
The Medical Care and Sickness Benefits
Convention, 1969 (No.130)
The Maintenance of Social Security Rights
Convention, 1982 (No. 157)
The Employment Promotion and Protection
against Unemployment Convention, 1988(No.168)
The Job Creation in Small and Medium-
Sized Enterprises Recommendation, 1998(No. 189)
Maternity Protection Convention (Revised)2000 (No. 183)
RESOLUTIONS:
In 2001, the International Labor Conference adopted the Resolution and Conclusions concerning Social Security
Reaffirmed social security as basic human right,
Confirmed the ILO Mandate in social security, and
Proposed that the ILO launches a global campaign for the extension of social security
for all, which was launched at the ILC 2003.
Global Jobs Pact (adopted by the ILC 2009):
Requests countries that do not yet have extensive social security to build “adequate social protection for all, drawing on a basic social protection floor, including:
Access to health care,
Income security for the elderly and persons with disabilities, Child benefits, and
Income security combined with public employment guarantee
schemes for the unemployed and the working poor”

Declarations:
Declaration of Philadelphia (1944):
To pursue the extension of social security measures to provide a basic income to all in need of such protection and comprehensive medical care
Thus, with the adoption of the Declaration of Philadelphia, ILO constituents widened the mandate of the Organizationfrom the social security protection of workers and theirfamilies to the extension of social security measures to all those in need.

This was the first moment in history that the world community declared its commitment to the extension of social security to all.

ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization (adopted by the ILC 2008):
Recognizes that the ILO has the solemn obligation to further among the nationsof the world programmes which will achieve the objectives of the extension of socialsecurity measures to provide a basic income to all in need along with all the other objectivesset out in the Declaration of Philadelphia

Preamble to the ILO Constitution (1919):
To improve conditions of labor, inter alia, through the «prevention of unemployment, theprotection of the worker against sickness, disease, and injury arising outof his employment, the protection of children, young persons and women, provision for old-age and injury.

Indian Laws:
The Social Security Laws aim at providing safety to man from various contingencies or unseen risks and which are found in all the ages and in all the countries. Following are social security laws followed in India.

Constitution:
Preamble:
The Preamble of the Indian Constitution is the sole-repository of Social Security measures and provides for establishment of Socialist State. According to the Supreme Court of India, the principle aim of socialism is to eliminate inequality of income, status and standard of the life and to provide a decent standard of life to the working people.

The Preamble of the Constitution of India reads as under:
WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute
India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC
REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and opportunity; And to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.

Though the Preamble is not technically enforceable through courts of law, it is useful in interpreting the various provisions of the Constitution and acts as a beacon in conflicting situations.
These objectives can be achieved through various Directive Principle of State Policy enumerated in Part-III of the Constitution.

Directive Principles:
Preamble’s objectives can be achieved through various Directive Principle of State Policy enumerated in Part-III of the Constitution. They are as follows:

Article 38 is a mandate to the state to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people.
Article 38 (1) directs the State to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as efficiently as it may a social order in which justice –social, economic and political shall inform all institutions of national life. This is a re-affirmation of the preambular objective of securing socio-economic and political justice.

The 44th Amendment added clause (2) to Article 38 which directs the state to minimize the irregularities in income, and to endeavor to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities not only amongst individuals but also groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations. This clause represents the group equality.

Article 39 provides for equal rights to adequate means of livelihood to all citizens and distribution of wealth and material resources to sub serve common good and prevention of concentration of wealth and means of production etc.,

Article 39 lays down certain specific objectives. Clauses (a) (b) and (c) particularly lay down the norms for an egalitarian operation of economic and social system of the country. Securing of adequate means of livelihood for citizens, preventing the concentration of economic power in few hands and ensuring the operation of the economic system for the general good are stated as the guiding principles. Ensuring of equal pay for equal work and protection of health and strength of workers from abuse are some other objectives of the Article.

Securing the right to work, education and public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of undeserved want are significant measures of social security under Article 41 .
Thus, Article 41 provides for right to work, education and public assistance in certain cases such as unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement.
Article 42 stands for providing just and human conditions of work and maternity relief.
Article 43 deals with living wage for workers and
Article 43-A intend to secure workers participation in management of industries.

Though these provisions are intended to bring socialistic order in the Indian society, these provisions are not enforceable in the Courts of law, the Supreme Court of India has declared that they are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it is the duty of the State to apply them in making laws.

Fundamental Rights:
The Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Rights of the Indian Constitution provide basis for many Social Security benefits. Basing on these principles and rights, few Social Security laws are passed for the benefit of poor, weaker and unorganized sections of society.

Fundamental Rights was also included in the Constitution which guaranteed Right to Equality (Article 14) and Right against Exploitation (Article 23 and 24).

A separate chapter on Directive principles of State Policy incorporated in the Constitution has embodies the fundamental principles based on social justice concerning labour.

Right to life (Article 21) includes all the rights that are essential to main human life in a civilized society, such as food, clothes, house, medicine and education. The Right to work means the citizen’s right on his society to have work according to his ability and skill with suitable minimum wages that enable him to maintain his life in a civilized society.

Concurrent list:
Entries, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 26 of Concurrent list (List-III) authorize the State Governments to take necessary steps for regulations and control of Commercial and Industrial monopolies, Trade Unions, Industrial and labour disputes, Social Security and Social Insurance, employment and unemployment, welfare of labour etc., respectively with an intention to ensure protection of interest of all the citizens of India.

Enactments And Rules:
The Constitution of India provides basis for enactment of social security legislations by both the Parliament and the State. Following are the principal social security laws enacted in India:
The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948
It covers factories and establishments with 10 or more employees and provides for comprehensive medical care to the employees and to their families in the form of cash benefits also during sickness and maternity and monthly payments in case of death or disablement.

The Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act,1952
It applies to specific scheduled factories and establishments employing 20 or more employees and ensures terminal benefits to provident fund, superannuation pension, and family pension in case of death during service. Separate laws exist for similar benefits for the workers in the coal mines and tea plantations.

The Employees' Compensation Act, 1923
It requires payment of compensation to the workman or his family in cases of employment related injuries resulting in death or disability. The Workmen Compensations Act, 1923 provides for the payment of compensation to workmen for injuries sustained in accidents.

The Workmen’s Compensation (Amendment) Act, 2000 that came into effect in December 2000 provided for compensation even to casual workers. The minimum amount of compensation for death has been enhanced from Rs.50,000 to Rs.80,000 and for total disablement from Rs. 60,000 to Rs 90,000. The ceiling on monthly wage/salary reckoned for determining the compensation amt has also been increased from Rs. 2000 to Rs.4000. The amt of funeral expenses payable has also been increased to Rs. 2500 from Rs.1000.

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
It provides for 12 weeks wages during maternity as well as paid leave in certain other related contingencies.

The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
It provides for 15 days wages for each year of service to employees who have worked for five years or more in establishments having a minimum of 10 workers.

The Factories Act, 1948
The Factories Act, 1948 is designed to protect the workers in the factories. The Act has undergone various amendments from time to time. The main object of the Act is to ensure adequate safety measures and to promote the health and safety of the workers and further, deal with benefits and welfare facilities and health, safety and hygiene inside the factory premises. Provisions regarding health of the workers relate mainly to cleanliness, disposal of wastes and affluent, ventilations, control of temperature. Elimination of dust and fumes, artificial humidification, overcrowding, lighting, drinking water facilities, latrines, urinals and spittoons.

Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970
It regulates the employment of contract labour in certain establishment and provides for its abolition in certain circumstances. The Act is applicable if the principal employer engages twenty or more contract workers in an establishment. The contractor who employs twenty or more workers in his contract work will be covered under The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970.

There is a special provision for the abolition of the contract system if certain conditions are met, like jobs being of perennial nature and connected with the core business of the principal employer.

Building and other Construction Workers’ (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996
It aims at providing safe and healthy atmosphere to the building and construction workers at their work place. A fund was created with the revenue collected from the employers and the contributions from the workers.
Benefits under this Act include assistance in cases of accident, payment of pension, house building loans, assistance for group insurance schemes, education of children, maternity benefits for female beneficiaries and so on.

Dock workers’ (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1948
The Act and the scheme are social legislation enacted for the purpose of the welfare of the dock workers.
Provisions has also been made in the Act for the setting up of a tri-partite Advisory Committee consisting of not more than 15 members representing govt, dock workers and their employer in equal proportion, to advise govt in the administration of the Act or any scheme formulated there under. Provision has also been made for the appointment of Inspectors for the purpose of the Act.

Under the Act, Dock workers Regulation of Employment Scheme have been framed for dock workers in the ports of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. Tripartite Dock Labour Boards have been appointed in these ports.

Minimum Wages Act, 1948
The Minimum Wages Act, 1948 is the most important legislation that has been enacted for the benefits of unorganised labour. It was enacted for fixing, reviewing and reviving the minimum rates of wages in the scheduled employments where workers are engaged in the unorganised sector.

Payment of Wages Act, 1936
The Payment of Wages Act, 1936 regulates the payment of wages to certain classes of employed persons. The main purpose of act is to ensure regular and prompt payment of wages and to prevent the exploitation of wages earners by prohibiting arbitrary fines and deduction from wages. The Act was subsequently amended in 1957, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1976 and 1982 in order to extend its various provisions and coverage. By virtue of the amending Act of 1982 the wage limit was raised to cover persons drawing less than Rs 1600 per month.

The Mines Act, 1952
The Mines Act, 1952 was enacted to amend and consolidated the law relating to the regulation of labour and safety in mines. The Act extends to the whole of India and it aims at providing for safe as well as proper working conditions in mines and certain amenities to workers employed therein. Elaborate provisions have been made in the Act for safeguarding the health and safety of workers and for promoting their welfare.
In every mine where more than 150 persons are employed, a first aid room under the charge of medical and nursing staff is to be provided and maintained.
Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979.
It was enacted to regulate the employment and condition of service of inter-state migrant workers. The benefits included non-discrimination in wage rates, holidays, hours of work and other conditions of work for inter-State migrant workers in relation to local workers. They are eligible for a non-refundable Displacement Allowance equal to 50% of their monthly wages in addition to the wages.

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005
Recently, the parliament has passed the historical National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 that guarantee 100 days of wage employment in a year to every rural household whose adult members are willing to do unskilled manual work.

Cases Decided By Supreme Court And High Court:
Right to life covers within its ambit the right to social security and protection of family .K. Ramaswamy J., in Calcutta Electricity Supply Corporation (India) Ltd. v. Subhash Chandra Bose, held that right to social and economic justice is a fundamental right under Art. 21. The learned judge explained that right to life and dignity of a person and status without means, were cosmetic rights. Socio-economic rights were, therefore, basic aspirations for meaning right to life and that Right to Social Security and Protection of Family were integral part of right to life.

In Regional Director, ESI Corporation v. Francis De Costa, the Supreme court held that security against sickness and disablement was a fundamental right under Art. 21 read with Sec. 39(e) of the Constitution of India.
The Court in Life Insurance Corporation of India v. Consumer Education and Research Centre observed that social security has been assured under Article 41 and Article 47 and it imposes a positive duty on the State to raise the standard of living and to improve public health.

Socio-economic values created by our Constitution are to be translated into practice through the instrumentality of social security legislation. This trend is clearly discernible from Royal Talkies case and Orango Chemical Industries and another v. Union of India decided in the later seventies by the apex court.

Judiciary based its decisions on the principles of social justice and attempted to create a value system which takes care of interests and rights of a large number of people who are poor, ignorant or in a socially and economically disadvantageous position.

Justice P.N.Bhagawati in case of People’s Union for Democratic Rights and Others v. Union of India asserted that time has come when the courts must become the courts for poor and struggling masses of the country. They must shed their character as upholders of the established order and status quo.

The spirit was maintained by Supreme Court in its subsequent case of Sanjit Roy v. State of Rajasthan. Again it was stressed that State cannot be permitted to take advantage of the helpless condition of the affected persons and deny the advantage of labour legislation to helpless labour.

Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India is a landmark decision in the area of bonded labour wherein the Supreme Court has stretched its protective arms to various aspects such as, its identification, release and rehabilitation. It was held that when an action is initiated in the Court through Public Interest Litigation alleging the existence of bonded labour, the Government should welcome it as it may give the Government an opportunity to examine whether bonded labour system exists and as well as to take appropriate steps to eradicate that system.

This is the Constitutional obligation of the Government under Article 23 which prohibits ‘forced labor’ in any form. Article 23 has abolished the system of bonded labour but unfortunately no serious effort was made to give effect to this Article. It was only in 1976 that the Parliament enacted the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 providing for the abolition of bonded labour system with a view to preventing the economic and physical exploitation of the weaker section of the society.

Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India
P.Sivaswamy v. State of Andhra Pradesh

Balram v. State of M.P. These were other cases on right to bonded labors.

In People’s Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India, The Supreme Court ruled that Article 24 is enforceable against everyone and by reasons of its compulsive mandate no one can employ a child below 14 years in a hazardous employment. The aforesaid view was reiterated in Salal Hydro Project v. State of Jammu & Kashmir where the Supreme Court held that construction work being hazardous employment, no children below the age of 14 can be employed in such work because of constitutional prohibition contained in Article 24

A milestone in the area of implementation of equal pay was reached with the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in People’s Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India. The Supreme Court ruled that equal pay for equal work is based on principle of equality embodied in article 14 of the Constitution which finds expression in the provision of the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

In Sanjit Roy v. State of Rajasthan, the vires of Rajasthan Famine Relief Works Employees (Exemption from Labour Laws) Act, 1964 was challenged on the ground that provisions of Section 3 of the said Act provided for a payment of less than minimum rates of wages and, therefore, contravene Article 14 of the Constitution. The court found no justification in denying minimum wage to each worker merely because the employment was provided as a measure of famine relief.

The Court has taken a holistic view regarding health and labour welfare. In Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation v. Subhash Chandra Bose, Justice K. Ramaswamy in his dissenting opinion observed that health and strength of the workers is an integral facet of right to life.

In Ram Bahadur Thakur (P) Ltd. v. Chief Inspector Plantations, the point for determination by the Court was whether in calculating 160 days period which will entitle a woman employee to get maternity benefit, the work on half days can be included or not. It was held that according to Explanation to Section 5(2) of the Maternity Benefit Act, the period during which a woman worker was laid off should also be taken into consideration for ascertaining the eligibility. During the lay-off period a woman worker cannot be expected to have actually worked in the establishment. So, actual work for 160 days cannot be insisted as a condition precedent for claiming the maternity benefit.

Government Schemes:
Several schemes have been evolved in India through legislations and policies to provide Social Security to the workers in the unorganised sector. Some of the important schemes are as under:
Integrated Rural Development Programme, Rural Group Life Insurance Scheme
It was introduced in 1995 in which insurance is available between ages 20- 60 years for an assured amount of Rs. 5000 with a premium of Rs. 60 per annum, However the programmes in the scheme has not been very satisfactory all over the country and required revamping by undertaking effective publicity.

Old Age Pension Scheme
It is another Social Security measure exists in almost all States in India, which is a monthly pension ranging between Rs 50 to Rs.100 and is applicable to the people whose income does not exceed the maximum slab prescribed. However, many of the old aged people who are eligible for pension under the scheme are not aware about the same as such are deprived of the benefit. These schemes can be implemented properly through the local authorities by identifying the needy beneficiaries.

Krishi Shramik Samajik Suraksha Yojana
It was launched in July, 2001 for giving Social Security benefits to agricultural labourers on hire in the age group of 18 to 60 years.

Shiksha Sahayog Yojana
It provides for educational allowance of Rs. 100 per month to the children of parents living below the poverty line for their education from the 9th to 12th standard.

Jawahar Gram Samriddi Yojana
The scheme will generate supplementary employment for the implemented with the help of village panchayat institutions and they are also empowered to execute work with approval of Gram sabhas.

Employment Assurance Scheme
It was started on 2nd October, 1993 for implementation in 1778 identified backward Panchayat Samitis of 257 districts situated in drought prone areas, desert areas, tribal areas and hill areas in which the revamped public distribution system was in operation. It was subsequently expanded by 1997-98 to all the 5448 rural Panchayat Samitis of the country. It was restructured in 1999-2000 to make it a single wage employment programme and implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme on a cost sharing ratio of 75:25.

Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana
This scheme was introduced in 2000-01 with the objective of focussing on village level development in five critical areas, i.e. health, primary education, drinking water, housing and rural roads, with the overall objective of improvingthe quality of life if people in the rural areas.

Food for Work Programme
The programme aims at augmenting food security through wage employment in the drought affected rural areas in eight States i.e. Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttaranchal. The workers are paid the balance of wages in cash, such that they are assured of the notified Minimum Wages.

Rajiv Gandhi Shramik Yojana
It was launched with effect from 1st April 2005. Under this scheme, insured workers who lose their jobs after having contributed to the ESI scheme for five years or more shall be entitled to an ‘unemployment allowance’ in cash.

Swasthya Bima Yojana
The workers in the unorganized sector constitute about 93% of the total work force in the country. The Government has been implementing some social security measures for certain occupational groups but the coverage is miniscule. Majority of the workers are still without any social security coverage.

Life Insurance Corporation of India
The main purpose of this corporation is to provide protection to a family in the event of premature death of its bread winner.

National Old Age Pension Scheme
This programme is a significant step towards the fulfillment of Directive Principles as stated in Articles 41 and 42 of the Constitution.

Foreign Laws:
Social security program of US:
social insurance programs:
Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI)
Unemployment Insurance
Workers' Compensation
Temporary Disability Insurance
Health Insurance and Health Service
Medicare
Medicaid

Australia’s social security laws:
The legislative, policy and administrative framework of social security in Australia comprises the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth), the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (Cth) and the Social Security (International Agreements) Act 1999 (Cth).

The Guide to Social Security Law provides the lens through which the legislation is to be implemented, by providing guidance to decision makers
Social security law is administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS), through Centrelink.

Australia’s social security system forms part of a wider structure that presumes a strong commitment by government to high levels of employment and includes social protections provided outside the social security system—such as a mandatory system of private superannuation, workers’ compensation, a national health care system, paid sick leave and other cash and in-kind welfare benefits and services such as personal tax concessions.

Conclusion:
State has an obligation to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the right of access to social security,the reality of the matter is that the State has not fully complied with its obligations as set out in the Constitution and binding international instruments. Most vulnerable and marginalised groups are excluded from social security legislation mainly because they do not form part of the formal workforce of the country. Those excluded from social security legislation are the unemployed, informally-employed, migrant workers and non-citizens.

Rural and unorganized workers are completely ignored from the coverage of such laws and deprive them in getting benefits under Social Security laws which are being enjoyed by organized workers
Therefore, it can be concluded that the State has not fully realised the right to social security. It can however be safely concluded that the State is gradually advancing the right, through mechanisms that have been put in place such as policies, programmes, projects and legislation that enable the fulfilment of the right in question.

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