Denmark was one of the first countries in the world to establish efficient social services with the introduction of relief for the sick, unemployed, and aged. Social welfare programs include health insurance, health and hospital services, insurance for occupational injuries, unemployment insurance and employment exchange services, old age and disability pensions, rehabilitation and nursing homes, family welfare subsidies, general public welfare, and payments for military accidents. Maternity benefits are payable up to 52 weeks.
According to the constitution, any incapacitated person living in Denmark has a right to public relief. Benefits such as maintenance allowances for the children of single supporters, day care, and others, involve neither repayment nor any other conditions; some others are regarded as loans to be repaid when possible. Family allowances are paid to families with incomes below a certain threshold; rent subsidies require a means test. Denmark has a dual system of universal medical benefits for all residents and cash sickness benefits for employees. All Danish citizens over 67 years of age may draw old age pensions. Disability pensions, equal in amount to old age pensions plus special supplements, are paid to persons with a stipulated degree of disablement.
Women make up roughly half of the work force. Laws guarantee equal pay for equal work, and women have and use legal recourse if they feel discriminated against. There are crisis centers that counsel and shelter victims of domestic violence. Children's rights are well protected.
The Constitution provides for freedom of the press and speech, assembly and association, and for religious freedom, and generally respects these rights. Discrimination based on sex, creed, race, or ethnicity is prohibited.