Egypt’s reformed social insurance system: How might design change incentivize enrolment?

Author's Department

Public Policy & Administration Department

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Ghada Barsoum, Irene N. Selwaness

Document Type

Research Article

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In 2019, the Government of Egypt issued a new legal framework for its social insurance system. Aside from providing a unified scheme covering different groups of workers, the new regulation allowed for systemic and parametric reforms that were aimed in large part at addressing the challenge of workers’ low enrolment in social insurance, with an emphasis on informal workers. The reforms reduced the rate of contributions paid by employees and employers, increased the penalties for employers who do not register their workers, and improved the benefits structure. The law also specified provisions to facilitate the enrolment of informal workers by offering to cover the employer’s share of their contributions. However, the law limited such improved access to nine specific categories of informal workers, a decision that fails to recognize the diversity of informal forms of work. Based on the analysis of the characteristics of contributors to the previous system, this article argues that structural barriers pertaining to the large numbers of low-earners and informal enterprises in the economy will likely hinder the expansion of system enrolment despite the legal reforms.

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