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Fair retirement extension

Updated: 2013-12-12 08:16
( China Daily)

Given the longer life expectancy and 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.