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Shanghai Workers to Get Injury Compensation

Shanghai took another step toward establishing a comprehensive social security system with the release Wednesday of a regulation to provide workers with compensation insurance in event of a job-related injury.

Together with existing programs such as pensions, medical insurance, childbirth insurance and unemployment insurance; the new workers compensation regulation will help create a more reliable working environment and better protect individuals' interests.

"A comprehensive social security system will play an important role in bolstering Shanghai's economic development, maintaining social stability and protecting workers' rights," said Jiao Yang, spokeswoman for the city government.

Set to go into effect on July 1, the occupational injury insurance will cover all local establishments that are part of the city's employee social security system, ranging from state-owned enterprises and government organizations to public institutions and private businesses, said Jiao.

Employers will be expected to pay workers compensation insurance fees and tell their employees about the policy.

The insurance will cover various types of injuries, including those suffered during business trips, vehicle accident injuries incurred while en route to and from work and injuries sustained during emergency rescues undertaken to protect State or public interests.

The insurance will cover medical treatment and economic compensation for injured workers while helping to strengthen injury prevention mechanisms, Jiao said.

Migrant workers could be among the biggest beneficiaries, experts say.

On-the-job injuries are the second largest cause of casualties in Shanghai, second only to traffic accidents.

Official statistics put the number of migrant workers now in Shanghai at more than 3 million, many of whom still work in poor environments lacking sufficient protection.

About 4.6 million workers were covered by the city's pension insurance system at the end of last year. More than 6.9 million employees, plus 231,100 owners of private businesses and self-employed people, joined the local medical insurance system. More than 4.4 million people in the city are beneficiaries of the local unemployment insurance.

Jiao also announced that the city will soon launch a comprehensive insurance scheme for 300,000 household service workers.

As a non-compulsory form of commercial insurance provided by Ping'an Insurance Property and Pacific Insurance Property, the policies are expected to help minimize risk of injury to domestic employees.

While employers are expected to pay 30 yuan (US$3.6) as an annual premium for each household worker, the injured could get up to 100,000 yuan (US$12,000) in compensation, said Jiao.

(China Daily June 24, 2004)

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