A provident fund system provides old age, disability, and survivor benefits for all employees over 14 years old with the exception of domestic workers. It is funded by employee contributions of 5% of earnings and the employer paying an equal percentage of payroll. Retirement is allowed at ages 45–50 and benefits are paid as a lump sum. Workers' compensation is compulsory for employed persons earning A $4,000 a year or less. The cost is covered by the employer.
Migration and missionaries have proved to be the principal agents of social change. Mission lands are still used for social welfare purposes. The majority of the population still clings to traditional village life and the extended family system, which renders state welfare largely unnecessary. Problems exist mainly in the rapidly urbanized south Tarawa area, where some juvenile delinquency has developed. Women's clubs, organized by the women's section of the Ministry of Welfare, have raised funds for local projects. Rural training centers have also been established.
Women are accorded the same legal rights as men, but have traditionally been relegated to a subordinate role in society. However, they are gradually breaking out of their traditional role and entering both skilled and unskilled occupations. There have also been signs of affirmative action in government hiring and promotions. Violence against women is not a widespread problem and is usually related to alcohol abuse. Child abuse appears to be a growing problem.
There were no reports of human rights abuses or of the systematic discrimination of minorities. Corporal punishment remains legal for some crimes.