Costa Rica - Social development

The national Social Security Fund administers social insurance and pension programs. Most of the population is covered by these social services, which have been extended throughout the country and include workers' compensation and family assistance benefits. A family allowance program provides pensions for persons, employed or not, that are not covered under the national social insurance system. The social security program is compulsory for all employees under 65 years of age. Pensions are generally set at 60% of average earnings during the last five years of coverage. Medical coverage is provided for all residents, and maternity benefits are provided for a total of four months.

Women have equal rights under the law. The Law for the Promotion of the Social Equality of Women further obligates the government to promote political, economic, social, and cultural equality. Although women remain underrepresented in senior government positions, progress has been made. The law stipulates that women receive equal pay for equal work, but men usually have higher earnings. The Women's Council and the Women's Delegation, two government agencies, act as advisors and advocates for women who have suffered abuse or harassment. The government is taking action to protect women against domestic violence and abuse, including passing laws and providing services to victims.

Prisons are overcrowded, but conditions are generally considered to be humane. Human rights are respected by the government.

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