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China will gradually extend the retirement age

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CNTV, December 11, 2013
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A top pension's official has voiced support for raising the retirement age, to make the welfare system more sustainable. Hu Xiaoyi, vice-minister of human resources and social security, said during an exclusive interview with CCTV that China will gradually extend the retirement age.

Big challenges for China's aging population.

Chinese senior citizens will surpass 200 million by the end of this year, and will reach 480 million by 2053.

At present, seven workers support one pensioner aged over 65. The worker-to-retiree ratio will be 2-to-1 in 2035 if the mandatory retirement age remains the same.

Hu Xiaoyi says China will gradually extend the retirement age.

"First we must give people at least several years of notice. We can't announce a policy this year and force people to immediately follow next year. Secondly, we need to take separate steps by starting with people who are the youngest pensioners at the moment. And thirdly, we need to extend people's retirement age little by little, say, several months year by year." Hu said.

The current retirement age set in the 1950s, is 60 for men, 55 for female white-collar workers, and 50 for female manual laborers.

The fertility rate has fallen while average life expectancy has increased to about 76.

Hu Xiaoyi says all these figures suggest the urgent need to have a new retirement plan. If China keeps the current policy, less and less people can create wealth for society.

As for the question whether extending retirement age will cause more young people to lose their jobs, Hu Xiaoyi says it also creates opportunities.

"The current labor supply is much larger than labor demand in the job market. Relevant authorities are making plans to help young people find jobs. An aging population has challenges, but also creates more opportunities. More social services are needed for senior citizens, in this way, more jobs will be created." Hu said.

Skeptics say the extension of retirement age will benefit public servants whose pensions are paid by the State. But Hu Xiaoyi says government employees will not be given more years to work to enjoy more state benefits.

Hu adds that the ministry will deepen social insurance reform to make it more fair, more sustainable, and able to adapt to labor needs.


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