Netherlands - Social development

A widespread system of social insurance and assistance is in effect. All residents are provided with old-age and survivorship benefits. Disability pensions are available to all employees, self-employed workers, students, and those disabled since childhood. Unemployment, accidents, illness, and disability are covered by insurance, which is compulsory for most employees and voluntary for self-employed persons. Maternity grants and full insurance for the worker's family are also provided, as are family allowances for children. Women receive 16 weeks of maternity leave with full pay. Exceptional medical expenses are covered for all residents.

Legislation mandates equal pay for equal work and prohibits dismissal due to marriage, pregnancy, or motherhood. However, cultural factors and lack of day care discourages women from employment. Many women work in part-time positions and are underemployed, and on average women earn less than men. Domestic violence is a problem, especially among ethnic minorities. The government provides programs to reduce and prevent violence against women.

Human rights are fully respected in the Netherlands. There were incidents of discrimination against religious minorities and some immigrant groups.

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