A growing cash flow into the social security fund reserve, including pension and unemployment insurance, officially shows that the far-reaching social welfare reform - which is closely related to the welfare of millions of urban workers in China - is receiving a wider embrace.
Officials and experts on a recent social welfare workshop in Dalian, northeast China’s Liaoning Province, said the steady flow will pave a smooth way for the far-reaching reform on the previous cradle-to-grave welfare system in the planned economy period.
China’s pension fund reserve is expected to witness a bulging increase of 60.8 billion yuan (US$7.36 billion) this year, compared with three years ago, while there will be a 12 billion yuan (US$1.45 billion) increase in the unemployment security fund.
That forecast was based on the growing public affiliation to the dual programs, the core of the country’s ongoing social security restructuring, officials said.
By the end of June, more than 105 million people signed up for contributions to the pension fund - approximately 20 million people more than in 1998.
The same period also saw the same amount of increase in the unemployment security program, which comprised more than 102 million by the end of June.
A recent survey by the National Bureau of Statistics on 10 major cities in China found that topping the concerns of the people are medical care and insurance reform, as well as unemployment and jobs, which all relate to social security issues.
According to the forum, 95 percent of the 23 million workers laid off from state-owned enterprises nationwide have been guaranteed basic living allowances over the past three years.
At the same time, 15 million of them were re-employed. Last year, 99.3 percent of the 30 million retired workers received their pensions on time.
Wang Jianlun, vice-minister of labor and social security, said the fund collection effort should be strengthened to make sure all the participants can have ample access to pension and unemployment relief when they retire or leave on the corporate payroll.
(China Daily 09/25/2001)