The State provides for the well-being of its citizens through social allowances and services, and labour market opportunities. Social protection schemes have been established to prevent temporarily non-employed people from quickly falling into poverty.
Social security benefits provided by the State ensure a certain level of income in case of old age, illness, loss of a provider, childbirth, and unemployment. If a family has fallen into need in spite of the existing social security schemes, the State will provide social assistance.
The benefits provided must ensure the adequacy and viability of the system. Adequacy means that the level of benefits provided must prevent the person from falling into poverty. Social protection expenses make up a significant part of the state budget, meaning that the balance of means and liabilities, or the sustainability of the system, must be ensured.
The more people participate in the labour market either full or part-time, the better the opportunities for maintaining and developing social protection. Maintaining the level of welfare and ensuring the desired standard of living in an ageing society is a difficult task for most governments: the viability of pension and healthcare systems is widely debated all over Europe. Activating social protection is becoming increasingly important, and better balance between working life and family is being sought.