The Social Welfare and Labor Ministry is active in a number of programs dedicated to the public welfare, participating in such cooperative efforts as the Andean Indian Mission of the UN.
Ecuador's social security program is administered through the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute. All workers in industry and commerce are covered. There is a special system for peasants. The benefits, for those who fulfill the requirements, consist of health and maternity insurance with free medical service, accident and occupational disease insurance, old age pensions, survivors' pensions, funeral expenses, and unemployment insurance. Workers' contributions to the pension system ranged from 6% to 8% of earnings, depending on the type of employment; employers contributed 2% of payroll. Unemployment benefits are given as a lump sum payable after at least 60 days of unemployment.
Despite equal legal status, women have fewer educational and employment opportunities than men. There are fewer women in the professions, and salary discrimination is common. Social, economic, and cultural change is promoted by the Ecuadorian Women's Permanent National Forum. The Law Against Violence Affecting Women and Children criminalized domestic abused including psychological abuse. It also created family courts and gave authorities the power to remove an abusive spouse from the home.
Indigenous peoples in the Amazon area are increasingly demanding that the government take into account their interests before making decisions that affect their land. Human rights organizations reported cases of mistreatment of detainees and incommunicado detention. The judicial system is slow and pretrial detention may be lengthy.