A social security system was established in 1972 under the Western Samoan National Provident Fund. It provides for employee retirement pensions, disability benefits, and death benefits. Employees contribute 5% of their earnings, and this amount is matched by their employers. Retirement is allowed at age 55. Workers' compensation is funded by employers and is compulsory. This program covers reasonable medical expenses, and is paid for entirely by employer contributions.
In Samoan society, obligations to the aiga, or extended family, are often given precedence over individual rights. While there is some discrimination against women, they can play an important role in the traditional social structure, especially female matai, or heads of families. Domestic abuse is common and considered culturally acceptable, except in the most extreme cases. Universal suffrage was enacted in 1990, and the following year a Women's Affairs Ministry was established.
Human rights are generally well respected in Samoa.