Zimbabwe - Social development
The Ministry of Labour, Manpower Planning and Social Welfare deals with child welfare, delinquency, adoption, family problems, refugees, the aged, and public assistance. There are some government and industrial pension programs. Voluntary welfare organizations providing facilities for the aged, the handicapped, and care of children receive some government assistance. Workers' compensation is provided to all private-sector employees except domestic workers; government employees are covered under a state plan.
In 1993, a social security system was introduced; it provides old age, disability, and survivor's pensions. The program covers all employees between the ages of 16 and 65. Retirement is normally allowed at age 60. Free health care is provided for low-income families (about 75% of the population). Maternity benefits provide 70% of regular earnings for 90 days. Workers compensation insurance is provided for private sector employees. The State Disability Act provides coverage to public sector employees.
Despite some legislative advances, women are bound by traditional customs which are discriminatory in areas of property ownership and inheritance. Sexual harassment in the workplace is prevalent. Domestic violence and abuse is common, and is on the rise due to economic stress and high unemployment. Rape, including politically motivated assaults, remain a huge and underreported problem. There are hundreds of thousands of orphans due to the large number of deaths from HIV/AIDS.
There are numerous reports of human rights violations. Abuses included police killings, beatings, and torture, violation of privacy rights, and persecution of journalists. The government has generally failed to take action against those responsible for human rights abuses.