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Law targets work discrimination
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The Employment Promotion Law, to take effect on January 1 next year, is expected to boost employment by banning job discrimination, a senior labor official said yesterday.

The law highlights the government's role in ensuring equal opportunities in a fair employment environment and combating work discrimination, Zhang Xiaojian, vice-minister of labor and social security, said in an online interview.

The nine-chapter and 69-article law, adopted in August by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, has a chapter explicitly outlining the government's responsibility for employment aid.

He said the enterprises - labor-intensive small-and-medium ones in particular - that hire people with living difficulty will be subject to tax reduction and exemption and social security subsidy under the new law. Disadvantaged people, too, will be entitled to three years of tax reduction and exemption and micro-credit loans in entrepreneurial activities.

Meanwhile, seniors unable to start their own businesses and are not otherwise employed will be offered public welfare posts such as patrollers and cleaners and receive work subsidies as well as social security funds accordingly from local administrations, Zhang said.

He asserted that the law will urge all levels of government to "significantly expand communities' public welfare posts" for those individuals identified as the most needy. Likewise, free professional education and training will be prioritized for children from zero-employment households.

A lifelong training system of employment and re-employment for urban and rural workers alike, already set up with packages of national training plans for employees and professional training instructors, will be strengthened by the law's enactment. Earlier reports also said the law would oblige employers to offer training to their recruits.

In effect, the relevant content on improving such a training mechanism is "the most important aspect of the lawand will prove vital to China's long-term employment situation in the future," Zhang said.

(China Daily October 10, 2007)

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