Fair re­tire­ment ex­ten­sion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - ED­I­TO­RIAL

rapid de­crease in the la­bor-age pop­u­la­tion, ex­tend­ing the re­tire­ment age is an in­evitable choice for the gov­ern­ment. This is why at the Third Plenum of the 18th Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China it was agreed there should be a study on the is­sue.

When Hu Xiaoyi, vice- min­is­ter of hu­man re­sources and so­cial se­cu­rity, ex­panded on this on Tues­day, he said that the ex­ten­sion will be in­cre­men­tal and the pol­icy will be pub­lished sev­eral years be­fore its im­ple­men­ta­tion, which will be in dif­fer­ent stages for dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sions.

It is un­doubt­edly nec­es­sary for the gov­ern­ment to ad­just its poli­cies to meet the chal­lenge of an in­creas­ingly ag­ing so­ci­ety. Ac­cord­ing to the min­istry, China’s se­nior res­i­dents above the age of 60 will reach 200 mil­lion, about 14.8 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, by the end of this year, and the fig­ure is ex­pected to grow to 248 mil­lion by the year 2020 and more than 400 mil­lion by 2050, when they will ac­count for 30 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion.

And ex­tend­ing the re­tire­ment age will yield mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits — slow­ing the rapid in­crease of pen­sion­ers, re­duc­ing the rapid de­cline in ex­pe­ri­enced work­ers and keep­ing the la­bor-age pop­u­la­tion at a con­sid­er­able size for sta­ble eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

How­ever, be­fore the pol­icy is drawn up there will need to be thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the reper­cus­sions for work­ers in all walks of life, so there can be care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of the in­ter­ests of all par­ties to en­sure that the new pol­icy does not in­fringe upon the in­ter­ests of work­ers in dif­fer­ent jobs.

There are 112 mil­lion work­ers in the Chi­nese main­land in the in­dus­trial sec­tor. Ac­cord­ing to la­bor reg­u­la­tions, men who do heavy phys­i­cal la­bor or are on cer­tain risky oc­cu­pa­tional po­si­tions re­tire at the age of 55 and women at 45, while those male work­ers with dis­abil­i­ties and se­ri­ous dis­eases may re­tire at 50. Th­ese work­ers, though their ex­act num­ber is not easy to find out, may not be will­ing to post­pone their re­tire­ment to a later age.

The opin­ions of gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees and other white col­lar work­ers will also need to be so­licited be­fore a pol­icy is in­tro­duced to ex­tend their re­tire­ment to a later age.

No doubt it will be im­pos­si­ble to please all, but it should be pos­si­ble to make the pol­icy ac­cept­able to the most.

Any ex­ten­sions that will hope­fully help off­set the neg­a­tive influences of our in­creas­ingly ag­ing so­ci­ety also need to be fair.

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