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

China News Service:

Several schedules on the delaying retirement age have recently circulated online. I want to ask Minister Yin if there is such a schedule. Why should China launch the delayed retirement policy? You mentioned last year that a draft plan on the issue will solicit public opinion this year. To what extent does the work proceed? When will the policy be implemented? Could you give us some hints? Thank you.

Yin Weimin:

People are very concerned about the progressive delay of the retirement age policy and there are also many interpretations of the issue. I remember that I made a special reply to this question at the press conference at last year’s two sessions of the NPC and CPPCC, but l’d like to share more of my opinions with you today. First of all, why should China delay the retirement age? To put it simpler, the existing statutory retirement age of China can hardly meet the needs of the current situation in the context of an aging population. The existing statutory retirement age was formulated in the early days after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, 60 years ago when the life expectancy was still very low. In the past 60 years, both the economy and society have changed dramatically and life expectancy has been greatly increased. Moreover, the aging of the population will grow faster in the future. As of last year, the number of senior citizens over the age of 60 reached 220 million, accounting for more than 16 percent of the total population. Therefore, either the development of human resources or the sustainable sound operation of pensions and medical funds demands change to the statutory retirement age. It is also a common practice around the world. People in developed countries basically retire between the ages of 60 and 65 or higher. So, I think we should look at the issue in response to the trend of aging population, on which social consensus is being formed after discussions in recent years.

We have a basic plan in formulating the policy on progressively delaying retirement age. First, we will delay the retirement age for a few months year-by- year until it reaches the target retirement age in a fairly long time. For example, you are supposed to retire at the age of 60 in five years, but when the policy is implemented, you probably have to retire at the age of 60 years and 3 months. This is more acceptable. Another person is supposed to retire the next year and he/she may have to retire at the age of 60 years and 6 months. This is the first point. Second, from a practical standpoint, we will classify people into different groups by their existing retirement ages and implement the policy step-by-step. Third, once the draft plan comes out, we will solicit public opinion widely as it involves the fundamental interests of citizens. All the policies involving public interest shall solicit opinion from the public and embody a social consensus.

Now, we have made a draft plan, but we have to submit it for approval by related procedures before soliciting public opinion. We mentioned a schedule earlier and will work out a plan this year. Thank you.

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