Recommendations for Achieving Universal Social Security in China

Sep 26, 2014

A dissemination workshop for “Universal Social Security in China: Challenges and Measures” study was held on 26th September 2014 in Beijing. The workshop shared report findings on achieving social security for all in China.  The report was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE) of the Ministry of Commerce.

The Social Security Research Institute under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) produced the report that analyzes challenges of achieving universal social security in China and proposes measures to address them. In 2012, the Report to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China proposed the objective of achieving “social security covering all the people” by 2020. While China’s social insurance system has made remarkable achievements in recent years, there is still a lot to do to achieve full coverage as the report indicates.

Mr. Lv Xiaoping, Deputy Director-General of MOHRSS International Cooperation Department, Ms. Hannah Ryder, UNDP China Head of Policy and Partnerships, and Mr. Zhao Zhongyi, CICETE Deputy Director, gave opening remarks at the workshop. Ms. Hannah Ryder, from a South-South perspective, believes the Chinese experience of expanding its social protection coverage could serve as a useful reference for other developing countries. 

Despite the admirable progress in establishing a comprehensive social security system with rising benefit levels, China’s social insurance system still fails to cover a sizeable population, especially low-income groups such as the rural migrant workers. The report probed into the main challenges faced with insurance participation and premium payment, including the fragmentation feature of the social protection system, the relatively high level of premium, and insufficient enforcement of social protection policies, among others.

The report clarified the principles for expanding social security coverage, and made targeted proposals for achieving full social insurance coverage and enhancing the fairness of social protection. Policy recommendations of the report include prioritising and improving the social insurance enrollment policies for Internet-based start-ups, self-employment, and other alternative forms of employment, and strengthening registration management, pushing forward the plan of “social insurance registration for all”.

The report also calls for strengthening the implementation of labor supervision laws and social insurance audit, governmental responsibility of premium collection, and collaborations among relevant government departments. Moreover, it puts strong emphasis on improving the management and services of social insurance, which would require standardising operation processes that will both improve institutional efficiency and provide quality services for social insurance participants. The possibility of exploring options for outsourcing in social security service delivery was also discussed.

The workshop brought together government officials and experts from research institutes and international organizations, providing opportunities for participants to share their views on achieving universal social protection coverage to promote equity and inclusive growth.



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