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Unemployment Early-Warning System Urged
Since the SARS epidemic has made the unemployment in some industries and regions reach the warning limit, experts have suggested that government quickly set up an early-warning system to strengthen the urgent countermeasures, People's Daily reported recently, quoting the words of an official with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

The SARS epidemic has exerted great pressures on job market this year, affecting millions of laid-off employees and graduates. During the SARS crisis, some regions in China adopted emergency measures, although these measures were not systematic enough. When suffering such unexpected incidents, some developed countries usually adopt emergency measures to prevent large-scale unemployment, such as providing unemployment aid, creating new jobs and adopting SME aid plans.

The proposed early warning and countermeasures system includes the following five aspects.

First, to establish an early-warning system and work out emergency plans. Experts hold that the system should monitor unexpected incidents, industries hit by these incidents and employment status in related regions. The indicators should include details of unemployment rate, unemployment cycle, status of laid-off employees, income of middle- and low-classes, industry prosperity and employment environment. Once the unemployment exceeds the warning limit, the system should hand an evaluation report to relevant departments and immediately send out warning signals.

Second, to adopt active measures to keep the stability of employment. Government should guide or intervene in the laying off of employees.

Third, to aid those that have suffered the most of unexpected incidents, offering necessary job assistance while ensuring their basic livings and medical care.

Fourth, be prepared for job-creating. Government should help those worst-hit industries to make revival plans. Meanwhile, all the preferential policies should be fully implemented. For those reemployed who have been seriously hit, preferential policies for them, like tax exemption and reduction and small-loan offering, should be continued. For those who have lost their jobs again, government should put them under the reemployment project and offer aids.

Fifth, to set up an emergency control system. The system should ensure all the rules in line with the law, and reduce the losses to the limit.

In addition, joint conferences between the central government and provincial governments should be held to ensure the smooth operation of the early-warning system and relevant budget.

Experts also suggested that the unemployment insurance system be improved. First, when unemployment status is warned, the provincial government should be authorized to use the dole to keep enterprise employment and aid people in need. At the same time, the provincial government can decide if they should suspend the enterprises' payment of unemployment insurance fees according to local conditions.

(China.org.cn by Tang Fuchun, July 3, 2003)

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