Ukraine

Country at a glance
Policy framework
General situation across all policy areas
Social policy specific situation
Good practice

Country at a glance (2019)

Population (mio) including Crimea
42,1532
Geographical size (sq km)
603,500*
Capital city
Kyiv
EU relation
Eastern Partnership (EaP) country – since May 2009

Source: European Neighbourhood Policy And Enlargement Negotiations

* Without taking into account temporary occupied territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts, Autonomous Republic Crimea and Sevastopol

Policy Framework

  • Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine (September, 2014),
  • The medium-term Action Plan of the Government by 2020 (April, 2017),
  • Action Plan of the Government for 2019 (December, 2018),
  • Human Rights Strategy of Ukraine (August, 2015),
  • Strategy for Sustainable Development “Ukraine 2020” (January, 2015),
  • Strategy of Reforming of Public Authority of Ukraine for 2016-2020 (June, 2016),
  • Strategy for Combating Poverty for the Period up to 2020 (March, 2016),
  • National Action Plan for Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 “Women, Peace and Security” for the period up to 2020 (February, 2016),
  • the National Strategy for the Reform of the Institutional Care and Keeping of Children on 2017-2026 (August, 2017),
  • The State Social Program on Providing Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Men up to 2021 (April, 2018),
  • The State Social Program on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings on 2016-2020 (February 2016),
  • The Concept of the Program on Prevention and Combating of Domestic Violence and Gender-based Violence up to 2023 (December, 2017),
  • Strategy of the State Policy on Healthy and Active Longevity of the Population for the Period up to 2022 (January, 2018),
  • The Concept of Reforming of the System of Labor Protection Management in Ukraine (December, 2018).

General situation across all policy areas

Main challenges across all policy areas

In order to continue the course to achieve the goals and priorities set out in the Medium Term Plan of Priorities of the Government of Ukraine by 2020, the Government Action Plan for 2019 was approved in December 2018.

Medium Term priorities of the Government up to 2020 are the following:

  • Economic growth
  • Good governance
  • The development of human capital
  • Rule of law
  • Security and defense.

The goal set by the Government is to ensure growth of the people’s standard of living and improve life quality due to sustainable economic development.

Social policy specific situation

Significant social trends

Ukraine continues to move steadily and step-by-step towards structural reforms. For this the Government Action Plan clearly defined steps to improve all aspects of people’s lives by achieving economic growth, promotion of productive employment, labor market reform, pension reform, poverty reduce, improve of the accessibility of the population to public services.

Ukraine continues to move slowly and step-by-step towards structural reforms. To do this, Action Plan defined clear steps to improve all aspects of citizen’s lives in terms of achieving an economic level, promoting productive consolidation, reforming the labor market, pension reform, reducing poverty, and improving access to public services.

Human well-being, dignity of life in a safe environment is the key goal of the reforms in our country. Over the past three years, the tasks have been set in social policy to reduce the poverty level, to reform the labor market, to introduce pension reform, and to improve access to public services.

Unfortunately, Ukrainians have become a part of the world that is experiencing the horrors of war. In Ukraine, almost 1.4 million people have become internally displaced persons. The lack of peace affects social development and requires a systematic, purposeful joint work of all stakeholders.

The important task to protect the workers is to reform the sphere of labor and employment, which requires the approximation of the national legislation of Ukraine to the international standards.

The labor and employment policy aims at expanding employment opportunities for older workers, ensuring flexible working time; promotion of reconciliation of work and family responsibilities, empowerment of people with disabilities for a full life.

Increase of prices and tariffs for gas and housing requires streamlining and improving the administration of the subsidy to improve targeting them.

Several social support programs and new services for children for persons with disability and for elderly were introduced.

The Government of Ukraine is devoting substantial efforts to combat trafficking in human beings, to reduce the level of violence in society.

Services for victims of trafficking in human beings, domestic violence, gender-based violence and violence towards children are provided for this purpose.

Key challenges specific to social policy

The main challenges are the following:

  • deficit of the Pension Fund of Ukraine
  • high level of informal employment
  • low motivation for employment of beneficiaries of social benefits/ assistance
  • anti-terrorist operation on the temporarily occupied territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts caused by Russian military aggression against Ukraine during more than 5 years leads to numerous losses of lives of Ukrainian citizens,
  • forced displacement of citizens from the temporarily occupied territory in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts caused 1.4 million Ukrainians to lose their jobs, incomes and property.

Main approaches to address social policy challenges

In 2019, the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine continued the process of reforming the social sphere directed towards the achievement of the priorities:

  1. Labour market reform, promotion of productive employment, labour market reform.
  2. Creation of a fair pension insurance system.
  3. Ensuring effective state social support of the population.
  4. Development of social and rehabilitation services in the united territorial communities (UTCs).
  5. Ensuring the protection of children’s rights.
  6. Combating of trafficking in human beings and domestic violence.
  7. Equal rights and opportunities for women and men.

To activate the state policy in the labour market, aimed at accelerating the return of the unemployed to work, meeting the needs of employers in skilled personnel, new forms and methods of work of the State Employment Service were introduced. In particular, employment centers offer their visitors modern forms of job search using the Internet, video resume, where the bank of such resumes was created, online job interviews with employers, computer occupational testing are provided.

Since the 1-st January 2019 a career advisor institute has been established, the procedure of profiling registered unemployed persons, individual plan of services provision has been introduced.

The situation in the labor market in 2018 was characterized by rising employment and falling unemployment, which was observed for the first time since 2013.

The number of the employed population aged 15-70 in 2018 compared to 2017 increased by 204.5 thousand to 16.4 million people.

The employment rate increased from 56.1% to 57.1%.

The unemployment rate (according to the ILO methodology) decreased from 9.5% to 8.8% of the economically active population.

The number of employed in the informal sector of the economy decreased by 154 thousand people and amounted to 3.6 million people.

State social standards and guarantees were increased.

Since January 2019, the minimum wage is 4,173 UAH, which is 12,1% higher than in 2018.

There is a steady tendency towards the growth of the average monthly wage, in particular, in 2018 it increased by 24.8% and amounted to UAH 8,865, while the real wage during this time increased by 12.5%, that is, it exceeded the growth of consumer prices.

The average monthly salary for January-May 2019 amounted to UAH 9,878, which is 20.8% higher than the corresponding period in 2018.

Ukraine has been reforming pension system since October 2017, in order to ensure stability of the pension system, enhance the protection of the most vulnerable groups and introduce a unified and fair approach to the calculation of pensions.

Further improvement of the pension system and establishment of the fair pension insurance system is provided within the pension reform in 2019.

The pensions of military servicemen were increased since the 1-st January 2019 for almost 500 thousand people, the average amount of the increase was 1,5 thousand UAH.

The first automatic indexing of pensions was made by the Pension Fund of Ukraine for 10.2 million pensioners in March 2019. The Government defined the procedure of the annual indexing and the coefficient of increase of the average wage rate amounted 1.17.

Average pension as of 01.04.2019 was 2 899,66 UAH, which is by 15% higher compared to the same period in 2018.

The increase of gas prices and tariffs for housing and public utility services demands a new system for subsidizing.

The system of targeted social services was improved, the Unified State Register of Subsidy Recipients was created, and subsidies in cash were introduced.

Measures to develop the provision of social service continues. Innovative social services in UTCs have been introduced, in particular, service for the residents of villages in „mobile social office”, support of young families and children, social taxi, social barber, rental of rehabilitation, social and psychological support of children with disabilities.

A new program of stimulation of territorial communities for the establishment of transportation services for people with disabilities has been introduced. 25 above-mentioned vehicles were received by territorial communities in April 2019.

For its realization in 2018 30 million UAH was provided in the State Budget of Ukraine.

Social protection of children. Realization of the National Strategy for the Reform of the Institutional Care and Keeping of Children for the period of 2017-2026 contributed to the optimization of 59 residential institutions for children (22 of them were liquidated, 12 were reformed in day care institutions, 25 were reformed into in-patient facilities).

At the end of 2018, there were 514 institutional care facilities for children. In 2019, it is planned to reorganize 38 institutions.

A new type of social benefit has been introduced – assistance for children from large families. (From 01.04.2019 the Government will pay to parents for every third and next child $ 1,700 monthly until the child is 6 years old. There are 160,000 large families in Ukraine. As of May 1, 2019, the above mentioned assistance was appointed to 70,600 families.

In order to increase the level of respect for the principle of equal rights and opportunities for women and men, appropriate governmental decisions have been adopted, in particular the National Social Program for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men for the period up to 2021 and Ukrainian National Action Plan for the Implementation of the Recommendations Contained in the Final Conclusions of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to the Eight Periodical Report of Ukraine on implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women for the period up to 2021.

Strategy to overcome the poverty

In order to reduce the poverty gradually and to introduce new mechanisms for its prevention and overcoming social exclusion, the Poverty Reduction Strategy was approved. It identified the main directions of poverty reduction for the period up to 2020. For its implementation action plans are being developed annually. The Action plan for 2019 was approved on 20.02.2019, which provides for the implementation of a set of measures aimed, first of all, at raising the incomes, expanding of opportunities for productive employment, creating a fair pension system, creating easy access to social services, social protection of children.

Monitoring shows a positive change of the poverty situation. For the first time since 2013, there has been a significant reduction in the level of absolute poverty.

In 2018 the absolute poverty (incomes below the actual subsistence level) decreased comparing to 2017 by 7.3 p.p. (from 34.9% to 27.6%).

Improvement of material welfare of workers, in particular by increase minimum wage contributed to substantial decrease of the poverty rate (incomes below the actual subsistence level) among workers from by 5.5 p.p. 23.7% to 18.2%.

However high poverty rates remain among households with children, where the poverty rate is 32.9% (in 2017 – 42.5%), among elderly – 34.3% (in 2017 – 40%).

Target groups

Citizens of Ukraine.

Good practice

Policy area

Social protection of families with children.

Description of the practice

Ensuring social protection of families with children and support the development of responsible parenthood

The Government introduced new initiatives, in particular:

  • the provision from 1 September 2018 of a one-time in-kind assistance at birth „baby box” within the framework of state benefits for families with children;
  • the reimbursement from January 2019 of childcare services up to three years for „municipal nanny” in the amount of the subsistence minimum for children under the age of six years established on January 1 of the respective year, on the condition of co-financing from different budgets;
  • support of cities, united territorial communities that have joined the international initiative „Child and Youth Friendly Communities” and will receive the status of a community that is friendly to children and young people.

Governance & funding

The Resolutions of Cabinet of the Ministers of Ukraine №. 427 Some Issues on Realization of the Pilot Project in Social Protection of Families with Children and Support the Development of Responsible Parenthood dated May 30, 2018 and № 512 Some Issues on Realization of the Pilot Project of Provision of the one-time assistance in kind at birth dated June 20, 2018.

Outcome(s) and impact

From 01.09.2018 to 24.07.2019 252 237 children received baby boxes (98% of the total number of born children).

In 2019 156 410 children received baby boxes (out of 156 343 already born children).

Main partner(s)/ stakeholders

Government of Ukraine, regional state administrations, local self-government authorities

Name of the partner& contact

Ms Olena Tarasiuk
State expert, Directorate for Strategic Planning, Coordination and European Integration
o.p.tarasiuk@mlsp.gov.ua

Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine
8/ 10, Esplanadna St., 01601 Kyiv, Ukraine