Social Welfare

Algeria Table of Contents

The social system that prevailed before the coming of the French had little need for public welfare. Extended families, clans, and tribes cared for their elderly and needy members, and granaries maintained by villages or tribal units stored grain for use in years of poor harvest. During the French colonial period, the old way of life was substantially altered, but in the early 1990s enough of the old system remained for the traditional sense of personal responsibility to rank high among accepted social values.

The fabric of the socialist system, however, was based largely on the concept of public responsibility for welfare, and during the first years after independence the government of Algeria set about extending the public welfare program. A system of family allowances for employed persons had been instituted by the French in 1943, and in 1949 a limited social security program had been initiated for urban employees and some agricultural workers. These systems remained in effect after independence. In 1971 a new social security ordinance extended to all agricultural personnel the benefits already enjoyed by industrial and service sector workers. This program has provided sickness and disability insurance, old age pensions, and family allowances and has been financed by contributions from employees, employers, and the government.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress