The Secretary General of the International Social Security Association has sent out a message to go along with the UN’s World Day of Social Justice on 20th February. The article begins by reminding us that
social justice is inseparable from the full respect of fundamental freedoms and human rights – including access to social security … It is worth remembering that the legal basis for access to the right to social security is clearly defined in international human rights instruments.
One of the instruments was the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102). The UK did not sign up to all of this – it has only ratified sections II-V, VII and X. That, however, includes undertakings about benefits for unemployment, including an upper waiting period of 7 days (art 24(3)) and a level of benefit that is 45% of previous earnings for a person with two children (arts 22(1), 65 and 66). On the face of the matter, the UK is currently in breach of its international obligations in relation to the second condition, and has started to breach the conditions of the first with the introduction of Universal Credit.