Morocco - Social development

The social security system covers employees and apprentices in industrial and commercial fields and the professions, as well as agriculture and forestry. There is also voluntary coverage for persons leaving covered employment, and voluntary complementary insurance is available. Benefits include maternity allowances, disability pensions, old age pensions, death allowances, and allowances for illness. Employees contributed3.04% of earnings, and employers contributed 6.08% of payroll. Most of the country's voluntary social welfare societies are subsidized by the government and coordinated by the central and regional offices of the National Mutual Aid Society. Private groups include the Red Crescent, an affiliate of the International Red Cross.

Women comprise about 35% of the work force and are employed mostly in the industrial, service, and teaching sectors. They have the right to vote and run for office. However, women do not have equal status under Islamic family and estate laws. Civil law for woman is based on the Code of Personal Status, also called Moudouwana, which is based on the Malikite school of Islamic law. Under this code, a woman can only marry with the permission of her legal guardian, which is usually her father. Women are rarely allowed to act on their own behalf. Women obtained the independent right to a passport without the husband's permission only in 1995. Under the Code of Personal Status, husbands may initiate and obtain a divorce more easily than women, and women inherit less than male heirs. In 2001, the government created a new commission to work on greater reforms to the Code and the king has publicly encouraged the commission to make substantial changes both in the laws themselves and in enforcement. Child labor is common, particularly in the rug making and textile industries. Young girls often work as domestic servants. Employment of children under the age of 12 is prohibited by law. Domestic violence remains a widespread problem.

Progress was made in reducing human rights abuses by the authorities. The government organized the first human rights conference ever held in the Arab world.

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