Since 1955, a system of family allowances for wage earners has provided modest maternity and child benefits. The system is financed by employer contributions at the rate of 7% of gross salary; an additional 1–5% contribution finances a fund for occupational health and accident coverage. Shared equally by employer and employee is a 6% contribution to a fund for general medical and hospital expenses. In addition, employees contribute 4.8% of gross salary to a retirement fund and employers contribute 7.2%. The retirement age is 55. This program covers employed persons, including domestic, seasonal and day workers.
According to the UN only 20% of women participate in the work force. Discrimination against women is widespread in both education and employment. Although prohibited by law, female genital mutilation is practiced by ethnic groups in rural areas. Women in urban areas, however, are making progress in the workplace. The government adopted legislation mandating fines and prison terms of up to 3 years for sexual harassment.
Although minority religions are protected under law and are free to practice their religions, non-Muslims may face discrimination in civil, political, or economic matters.
Despite the vigorous multiparty political activity, there have been charges of human rights violations and electoral irregularities, as well as restrictions on freedom of press and association. Security forces commit abuses including arbitrary arrest and detention, beatings, and torture. The government set up a Human Rights Office to address violations.