Social safety net widened

Updated: 2011-12-30 08:11

(China Daily)

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BEIJING - China took more steps this year to build up its social security net to benefit more people in rural and urban areas while creating more than 12 million new jobs in non-farming sectors, Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, said on Thursday.

With the addition of those new jobs in cities and towns, China was able to keep its registered urban unemployment rate below the government's full-year target of 4.6 percent this year, Yin said at a national conference on human resources and social security.

Compared with 11.68 million new jobs created in 2010, jobs created this year also exceeded the government's target of 9 million, according to data from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

"The employment situation has stabilized in our country," Yin said, citing a couple of figures in the job market.

The State Council this year adopted a string of measures, including offering tax breaks, subsidizing vocational training and offering small loan guarantees, to help 5.2 million laid-off workers get back to work.

The government also boosted support to university graduates, who make up a large portion of the new labor force each year.

Aside from the improved employment sector, the country's pension insurance system was extended to cover 300 million people in rural and urban areas by the end of this year, with about 85 million senior citizens claiming their pensions every month, Yin said.

China's social security funds that insure pension, medicare, unemployment benefits, work-related injury compensation and maternity pay collected 2.35 trillion yuan ($372 billion) in revenues this year, up 24.7 percent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, spending by social security funds will rise 21.5 percent from a year ago to 1.8 trillion yuan this year, according to ministry data.

Thanks to the extension of the social security net, 468 million urban residents now enjoy medicare insurance, with 280 million residents receiving a pension, 142 million getting unemployment benefits, 174 million work-related injury compensation and 138 million maternity pay, according to the ministry.

China has raised the basic pension standard for retired corporate employees for seven consecutive years, and the per capita monthly pension has hit 1,531 yuan.

Across the country, 24 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities raised their minimum wage standards by an average of 22 percent year-on-year in 2011, Yin said.

The minister also said an Internet-based employment training system for retired commissioned officers had been put in place across the country.

More than 40,000, or 95 percent, of those who retired this year had received training through the system, he said.

The system particularly targets retiring high-ranking officers who choose to start their own businesses or find employment on their own instead of taking offers to join government agencies or public institutions.

A considerable sum of retirement payments and systematic employment training will be provided if they choose not to take governmental reallocations through the traditional channel.

An official report in August indicated that about 116,000 commissioned officers, or 42 percent of all qualified officers, have chosen the new way of settlement in the first 10 years since the introduction of the policy.