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Migrant workers need flexible insurance policy
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Yi Chengfang, a 55-year-old first generation migrant worker has been insured for 10 years in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province. But she cannot receive benefits from her pension plan, because Guangzhou requires migrant workers to be continuingly insured for 15 years in the city before they can receive pensions.

Meanwhile, men older than 60, and women over 55 can only take their personal savings back home without any compensation, if they have not been insured in Guangzhou for 15 years by those ages.

A commentary in the Shanghai-based Dongfang Daily says the Guangzhou government should allow migrant workers to continue participating in the insurance program until their fifteenth year as members or distribute retirement benefits proportionally.

It notes that because Yi Chengfang had been insured for 10 years, she should have received two-thirds of what someone who participates in the plan for 15 years would have received.

The commentary points out that the fundamental reason for this problem is that social welfare plans are connected with local tax-collection and budgets and thus cannot be transferred. It suggests that the government set up a unified endowment insurance system for rural migrant workers, which will ensure that they receive pension benefits no matter where they reside in China.

(CRI September 14, 2009)

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