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 Daily:

My question concerns China’s Labor Contract Law. Recently, some have argued that the current Labor Contract Law should be adjusted, since it has undermined the flexibility of the Chinese labor market and decreased labor productivity. Minister Yin, what’s your position regarding this issue? Thank you.

Yin Weimin:

Labor Contract Law is an important law on adjusting labor relations in China. Since first being put into effect eight years ago, it has played an active role in regularizing employers, ensuring lawful rights for employers and employees, and establishing harmonious labor relations. It also has some problems, mainly two aspects, namely, a lack of flexibility in the labor market and high labor costs for employers. Of course, there are other issues, but these two aspects are the main problems.

Meanwhile, as both the economy and society develop, a range of new commercial activities and employment forms have emerged, which didn’t exist when creating the current Labor Contract Law. Therefore, in order to deal with such problems, as the authorities, we are busy with our research. We will widely listen to public opinion, including what you mentioned regarding adjustments of the current law, conduct thorough research, and provide advice in good time. Thank you.

China Xiaokang Magazine:

I have a question for Vice Minister You. Could you talk about this year’s general plan for building a unified basic medical insurance system for urban and rural residents by integrating the medical insurance system for urban residents with the new rural cooperative medical care system?

You Jun:

China has set up a new rural cooperative medical care system for rural residents and a basic medical insurance system for non-working urban residents, which played a great role in ensuring basic medical care for the two groups of people. As China’s medical care systems are covering over 1.3 billion people, we have ushered in a new era of universal health care. With deepening urbanization and the mobility of the people, division between the new rural cooperative medical system and the medical insurance system for non-working urban residents has caused institutional imbalances and a disparity of resources. Therefore, the State Council issued a specific document early this year, requiring the unification of the basic medical insurance system for both urban and rural residents. It refers to the unification in six aspects mainly on the policy level, including coverage, financing policies, medical benefits, the directories of insured drugs, the management of designated hospitals and the management of insurance funds. Before the State Council released the document, many places around the country, like Tianjin Municipality, Shandong Province, Guangdong Province and Zhejiang Province, had been exploring means of institutional unification of the two medical insurance schemes. Generally speaking, the result is quite good. The new adjustments have given urban and rural residents a sense of fairness, and the benefits of medical insurance have improved.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security is actively implementing the requirement of the State Council. After the release of the document, we immediately held a conference on this matter, distributed related guidelines and supervised its implementation in a regular manner. We hope different parts of the country can implement the plan by June and complete the unification of the two schemes by the end of the year. Thank you.

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