Honduras - Social development

The social insurance program covers accidents, illness, maternity, old age, occupational disease, unemployment, disability, death, and other circumstances affecting the capacity to work and maintain oneself and one's family. Social security services are furnished and administered by the Honduran Social Security Institute and financed by contributions from employees, employers, and the government. Workers contribute 1% of their earnings toward retirement, disability, and survivor insurance, while employers paid 2% of their payroll. Old-age and disability benefits equal 40% of basic monthly earnings and an increment for contribution beyond 60 months. Retirement is set at age 65. These programs exclude domestic and agricultural workers.

Traditional attitudes prevent women from obtaining full access to the educational and economic opportunities guaranteed by law. Women account for 51% of the work force and are represented in most professions, although career opportunities are often limited. Violence against women remains widespread. The penal code was amended in 1997 to criminalize domestic violence and sexual harassment. The government committed 32% of its budget to public education and health care in 2000. Many Honduran children, however, remain severely disadvantaged. There is a growing problem of child abuse resulting in many homeless children.

The government's human rights record has improved since 1995, but serious abuses still occur, including torture and killing by police. Human rights groups have challenged the existence of organized death squads.

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