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Excerpts from State Council policy briefing on April 7

Updated: Apr 7,2017 9:07 PM

Zhang Yizhen, vice minister of human resources and social security, talked about new policies and guidelines that could boost employment and entrepreneurship during the State Council policy briefing on April 7.

According to Zhang, official data shows China provided new jobs to 1.88 million urban residents in the first two months of 2017, a growth of 160,000 from last year. And China’s registered urban unemployment rate remained consistently low at five percent.

Surveys also showed hiring increased 7.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, which indicated the market demand for labor was relatively high.

Zhang explained three major considerations for new employment policies. First, the policy was designed to target the management of unemployment risks of key regions, sectors and groups, to ensure people’s fundamental well-being. Second is to adapt to economic and social development. For example, coordinative employment efforts will be carried out for emerging industries and new employment patterns. Third, the policies were part of the implementation decision of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on boosting employment.

Regarding the increase of employment pressure created by new college graduates, Zhang said the policies contained a series of new measures to support their job hunt. The new measures include favorable policies to encourage social organizations to recruit more recent graduates, extra financial support for internships, job subsidies for new graduates from impoverished families, enhanced financial support for graduates to start their own businesses and simplified procedures of authentication certificates for returning overseas students.

Concerning the dilemma that skills of new graduates or job hunters don’t match employers’ requirements in emerging businesses, the new employment policies will step up efforts on vocational education and training to help more workers adapt to new employment demands.

Zhang said the government has been attaching great importance to the resettlement of laid-off workers in the process of cutting excess capacity. Last year, about 726,000 laid-off workers were resettled. Premier Li Keqiang said during the two sessions that potentially almost one million people could be reemployed this year.

Recently, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the National Development and Reform Commission and three other departments jointly issued a circular on tasks in 2017 for the resettlement of workers laid off due to capacity cuts.

The State Council’s new policies this year emphasize resettling laid-off workers in two respects. First, increase channels for resettlement. The government encourages enterprises to resettle their employees to other posts or other enterprises, or help workers start their own business. Those enterprises with fewer layoffs or offer jobs to laid-off workers will be entitled to subsidies. Laid-off workers who start a business will be given priority in access to incubators, while those who find it difficult to get a new job can be provided with a public-service position. The second task is to lawfully deal with labor relations. This year, people who obtain one-off compensation payment can enjoy related preferential policies in individual income tax.

On new emerging businesses, such as the delivery industry and sharing economy, which are creating many new jobs, Zhang said that the government will offer financial and credit preferential policies to support these enterprises. Government departments should take the lead in purchasing products and services from such enterprises. Adjustments should be made in employment methods, while labor relations and social insurance need to adapt to new businesses. Practitioners who sign labor contracts with enterprises of new businesses can participate in social insurance and flexibly pay housing accumulation funds.

The new policies also call for better online services to facilitate cross-region transfer of social insurance and housing accumulation funds.