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Public opinion on social security law
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Sunday was the deadline for gathering public opinion on China's social security draft law. Suggestions by the public mainly focused on improving the management of social security funds as soon as possible, and allowing migrant workers to participate in specialized pension plans.

The draft clearly defines the methods of transferring pension payments, stating that pensions will gradually come under national level control. This is no doubt good news for migrant workers, who still have difficulty transferring their social security payments when they move about.

A migrant worker says, "I've worked here for a couple of months. I want to change cities to work. I will just withdraw the money I paid for social security, because it's a lot of trouble to transfer it."

Many migrant workers withdraw their insurance payments when they move to work in another city.

The current social security system allows workers to receive an annuity after paying into the pension fund for 15 years in one place.

But migrant workers are very unlikely to stay in one place for 15 years. So it has been suggested migrant workers' pensions are transferred automatically when they move to another company or city.

Analysts say national-level management of social security will facilitate free movement of the labor force, and make it easier to maintain and build up the social security fund.

Zheng Bingwen, researcher of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says, "now the fund is under county and city-level control, and it's a very small amount of money. It's not good for increasing returns."

Public opinion also called for more government investment in social security.

Currently, social security only accounts for around 12 percent of the country's fiscal expenditure.

In most developed countries, the figure is between 30 and 40 percent.

(CCTV February 17, 2009)

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