St. Lucia - Social development
The National Insurance program provides all workers from age 16 to 60 with old age, disability, survivor, sickness, and maternity coverage, as well as workers' compensation. Civil servants are not included in this system. The program is financed by 5% contributions from employers and employees. Retirement pensions begin at age 60, provided that 10 years of contributions have been made. Those lacking the necessary years of contributions are entitled to an old-age grant equivalent to a refund of contributions with interest, plus 7.5% of earnings for each year of contribution. Maternity benefits are 65% of average salary for the preceding seven months, plus a cash grant and some coverage of medical costs.
There are no legal restrictions on the rights of women, but social discrimination is not uncommon. The Minister for Women's Affairs promotes and protects the rights of women, and addresses employment discrimination complaints. As part of increased awareness of violence against women, battering and sexual harassment are included as curriculum topics in some secondary schools. The St. Lucia Crisis Center in Castries and a second facility in Vieux Fort monitor abuse and act as advisors and advocates for women on a number of issues.
Human rights are generally well respected in St. Lucia, although there were reports of mistreatment of prisoners and generally poor prison conditions.