A social insurance system provides benefits to employed persons with a special system for public employees. It is funded by contributions from employees and employers. It provides pensions for old age, disability, and survivorship. Maternity benefits, worker's compensation, and a family allowance program, financed entirely by employers, are also offered. The majority of the population, however, are self-employed or work in the agricultural sector and fall outside the scope of these programs.
Although the law provides for equality for women, they are victims of discrimination in most areas of society. Domestic violence and spousal abuse are common and the police generally hesitate to interfere. Female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation, remains legal and is still widely practiced in Benin. This practice is both physically and psychologically harmful to girls and women, and in some cases may cause death. Some traditional practices inflict hardship and violence on children, and child labor remains a serious problem.
Human rights are somewhat protected in Benin. Reports of killings and beatings by police, arbitrary arrests and detentions continue.