The noncontributory social insurance program, administered by
state organizations, included retirement pensions and compensation
for disability and maternity leave. Funds for social insurance
payments came from the state budget. Total expenditures increased
from 13 million leks (for value of the lek--see Glossary) in 1950
to almost 1.8 billion leks in 1987, according to official statistics.
The government had granted retirement benefits to workers, including
employees of state farms, since the late 1940s. Depending on job
type, full retirement pensions (70 percent of an individual's
average monthly earnings during any three consecutive years within
the last ten years worked) were awarded to male workers between
the ages of fifty and sixty after twenty to twenty-five years
of work, and to female workers between the ages of forty-five
and fifty-five after fifteen to twenty years of work. Pensions
ranged from L350 to L700 (US$52 to US$104) monthly. Workers who
reached retirement age but had worked less than the number of
years required to receive full pension payments were eligible
for partial pensions, computed on the basis of time in service.
After the full collectivization of agriculture in 1972, social
insurance benefits were extended to the peasants. Retirement pensions
were granted to male peasants at the age of sixty-five, after
twenty-five years of work, and to female peasants at the age of
fifty-five, after twenty years of work.
Disability payments were made at the rate of 85 percent of average
earnings for the last month worked; persons with less than ten
years' service received 70 percent; temporary or seasonal workers
got less. When a disability was directly workrelated , compensation
was granted at the rate of 95 percent for most trades and 100
percent for miners.
Pregnant women were entitled to a total of six months' leave.
During that period, they received 75 to 95 percent of their regular
earnings, depending on length of service, and were permitted to
work reduced hours after returning to their jobs. Subsidized day-care
facilities were provided for children six months of age or older.
A woman could remain at home for limited periods to care for a
sick child and collect 60 percent of her average pay. If it was
considered medically necessary for a mother to stay in the hospital
with her sick child, she received 60 percent of her average pay
during the entire hospital stay.
In the early 1990s, although the rebirth of religion appeared
well underway, the education and health care systems, indeed the
structure of Albanian society, continued to deteriorate. Albanians
began looking toward democratic opposition groups to replace their
communist rulers and to lead the country toward a modern, civil
* * *
Albania: A Socialist Maverick, by Elez Biberaj, contains a good
overview of contemporary Albanian society. A broad range of statistical
data on past and present social structure may be found in the
Statistical Yearbook of the People's Socialist Republic of Albania,
and occasionally also in articles published by the English-language
monthlies New Albania and Albania Today. Albania's diverse cultural
history is explored in Stavro Skendi's Balkan Cultural Studies.
Conscience and Captivity: Religion in Eastern Europe, by Janice
A. Broun, provides valuable insights into the country's religious
heritage and describes the communist regime's campaign against
religion. Human rights violations are meticulously documented
by the Minnesota Lawyers International Human Rights Committee
in its 1990 report, Human Rights in the People's Socialist Republic
of Albania. For a comprehensive analysis of Albania's postwar
rural transformation, Örjan Sjöberg's Rural Change and Development
in Albania is recommended. The RFE/RL Research Report (formerly
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Report on Eastern Europe) regularly
reviews recent sociopolitical and socioeconomic developments in
Albania and neighboring Kosovo. (For further information and complete
citations, see Bibliography.)
Data as of April 1992