Slovakia's social security system was first introduced in 1906. The current program was initiated in 1988 and amended in 1990, 1994, and 1995. Old age, disability and survivor's pensions are funded by employee and employer contributions as well as government subsidies. Retirement is set at age 60 for men, and age 53–57 for women, depending upon the number of children raised. A family allowances system provides benefits for children in families below the poverty line. There are also sickness and maternity benefits, a workers' compensation program, and unemployment benefits.
Women and men are equal under the law, enjoying the same property, inheritance, and other rights, however discrimination persists. Women on the average earn 22% less than men. Despite legal safeguards, the small number of women in private and public leadership roles is evidence of continuing cultural barriers to full equality. The Coordinating Committee for Women's Affairs has not been successful at protecting women against violence, health risks, or economic disadvantages. Domestic abuse and sexual violence against women remains an extensive and underreported problem.
Roma minorities suffer from high levels of unemployment and housing discrimination. Attacks against Roma and other minorities by skinhead extremists were reported. Human rights were generally well respected, but some democratic freedoms were not respected. These include the intimidation of political opponents and interference with the media. There were also reports of police abuse of Roma.