SCIO briefing on China's employment and social security

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Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security

Hu Kaihong, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

Feb. 29, 2016

Phoenix TV:

Minister Yin, you just mentioned that addressing the overcapacity issue will result in a few laid-off workers. Have you any idea about the projected number? And what measures will be adopted to boost their reemployment? Thank you!

Yin Weimin:

As I said just now, addressing overcapacity is the priority of supply-side structural reform this year. During the process, the resettlement of laid-off workers is the key aspect. The State Council has made arrangements regarding how to resolve overcapacity by issuing “1+8” documents, namely, the guidelines and eight related supporting documents. One of them concerning opinions on the resettlement of workers was formulated by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and other relative departments. In this document, we have defined a few principles, channels, and requirements of resettlement, that is, guided by local governments, enterprises should take the leading role in accordance with laws and regulations.

Regarding the specific resettlement channels, there are four aspects. First, encouraging enterprises to tap their potential to resettle the workers within themselves. This means the enterprises should create new jobs for those laid-off with the present equipment and technology. Second, supporting workers to find new jobs or start their own businesses. We will launch employment support programs covering vocational training, job agency services and employment guidance. Third, implementing internal retirement. That means employees who will reach the statutory retirement age within five years can choose to retire based on their wishes and their companies’ approvals. Fourth, creating public service posts for those who cannot find jobs in the market. Both the central government and local governments will provide support in funds and policy. The central budget will grant 100 billion yuan (US$15.27 billion) as awards and subsidies to support this channel. Meanwhile, unemployment insurance and employment special funding will provide capital for those who are qualified. Also, we will properly deal with the employees’ labor relations as well as their social insurance transfer and continuation during the process.

We have also defined a very important principle that each employee’s resettlement plan must be studied and approved by the workers’ congress. This means that the employee is not only a receiver of the plan but also an active participant in this process. As for the good experience and successful practices in some regions, we will spread them in time all over the country.

You just asked how many workers on earth need to be resettled. Now, we take the steel and coal industries as the breakthrough point for resolving overcapacity. Preliminary statistics show that about 1.8 million workers need to be resettled. More specifically, 1.3 million are from the coal industry and 500,000 from the steel industry. Although this task is very difficult, we have the confidence to complete it actively and steadily with joint efforts from all concerned parties.

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