Taiwan - Social development

A social insurance system provides medical, disability, old age, survivor, and other benefits, with employers paying 4.6% of payroll and workers contributing 1.3% of earnings. Benefits are paid in lump sums depending on years of contribution. The National Health Insurance Bureau provides medical care for all workers and dependents. Firms with five or more employers are required to fund a workers' compensation program, contributing up to 3% of payroll, depending on risk level of work. Unemployment benefits are funded by employers, employees, and the government.

All enterprises and labor organizations must also furnish welfare funds for workers and "welfare units," such as cafeterias, nurseries, clinics, and low-rent housing. Fishermen, farmers, and salt workers have their own welfare funds. Government programs include relief for mainland refugees, calamity-relief assistance, and direct assistance to children in needy families.

Most laws discriminating against women in regard to property, divorce, and child custody were only eliminated in the latter part of the 1990s. Among other measures, laws passed during this period allowed married women to retain their maiden names, gave them an equal voice in child custody disputes, and clarified their property rights. The law now provides for equitable distribution of conjugal property in divorce cases. In the workplace, women tend to receive lower salaries and less frequent promotion, and are often denied federally mandated maternity leave. Taiwanese women married to foreigners may not transmit their citizenship to their children. Violence against women, especially domestic abuse, is extremely widespread. Child abuse is also a serious problem. The Child Welfare Act mandates that any citizen aware of child abuse or neglect must report it to the authorities.

Human rights are generally well respected, but some cases of police abuse continue to be reported.

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