Bolivia - Social development





Social security coverage, through private insurance, is compulsory for all workers, and voluntary coverage is available to the self-employed. Those covered by the program receive medical, hospital, dental, and pharmaceutical care for themselves and their families. Old age pensions begin at age 65. A worker's family is eligible for survivors' benefits of 70–80% of the insured person's pension. Maternity benefits cover female workers and workers' wives. Family allowances include cash payments for birth, nursing, and burial and monthly subsidies for each unmarried child. Employers contribute 2% of payroll for workers' compensation and are also required to grant two months' severance pay to dismissed employees.

Although guaranteed equal protection under the Constitution, women by and large do not enjoy the same social status as men due to limited political power and social traditions. In most cases, women earn less than men for doing similar work. Spousal abuse and domestic violence are widespread in Bolivia. The government is providing legal services for women and has created a special family protection unit within the police force.

Although the constitution prohibits sexual discrimination, women are prohibited from working at night and are limited to a shorter work schedule then men. These laws, however, are rarely enforced. A law providing federal protection against sexual harassment was signed in 1999, and the adoption of a new criminal code provided additional protection by classifying sexual harassment as a civil crime.

The government launched a national network to prevent and treat child abuse. Government surveys show that nearly one in three children are physically or psychologically abused. Corporal punishment is used widely both at home and in schools. The government is collaborating actively with nongovernmental agencies and the UN to address the issues facing children in need.

Human rights are generally respected by the government, but prolonged detention by police still occurred and the judicial system was plagued by corruption and inefficiency. The prison system is harsh and life-threatening.

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