Under the tribal system, the individual's basic welfare needs have traditionally been the responsibility of the group. Even now, the family remains the most important social welfare institution. There are social centers for women and youth. Missions help to look after orphans and the aged. For the small percentage of wage earners, there is a government social security system that insures against accidents and occupational diseases and provides old-age and disability pensions. According to the labor code of 1990, employers must pay workers two-thirds of their normal wages for up to three months of illness. Employers are also required to pay maternity benefits amounting to 50% of wages for up to 12 weeks. There is a family allowance for employees if they have a dependent wife and one or more children.
The Transitional Constitution Act guarantees equal protection for all citizens, but it has not been effectively implemented. and women suffer job discrimination and sexual violence, which is rarely reported to the authorities. Domestic violence is pervasive although no cases involving abuse of women has ever been heard in a Burundian court. Children are often used for forced labor, have been subjected to violence, and have lost family members to the civil war.
Hutus continue to suffer discrimination under the Tutsidominated government. Burundi's poor human rights record remains unchanged, with failure to control excesses by security forces, including reprisals against civilians following rebel attacks. Abductions are commonplace. Prison conditions are considered life threatening.