2nd Seminar on Social Security for Workers in Non-standard Forms of Employment

Press release | 16 June 2021
Beijing(ILO News)—The EU-China Project “Improving China’s Institutional Capacity towards Universal Social Protection” (“the project”) organized the second seminar of the study “Assessing China’s social security coverage of workers in non-standard employment (NSFE), with a focus on platform workers, migrant workers and women” on 16 June 2021 in Beijing. The objective was to present and discuss its preliminary findings. More than 40 representatives from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) and 10 provinces, experts and social partners attended the seminar.

Mr Ma Hezu, Deputy Director-General of International Department, MOHRSS in his opening remarks emphasized the high-level political commitment to improving social insurance system for migrant workers, the flexibly employed and workers in new forms of work. The study brings evidence to inform new policy and regulatory initiatives to increase their access to social security.

The research team of the Chinese Academy of Labour and Social Security (CALSS) presented the findings concerning literature review, pensions, employment injury insurance and administrative bottleneck analysis. The research included a survey of 3,145 Chinese workers in NSFE, 70% of which were platform workers. Among others, the research revealed that the social insurance participation rates of workers in NSFE are generally low, and less than 30% participated in the basic pension scheme for urban employees as enterprise employees, the scheme that provides a better income security after retirement.

Mr Lui Kai, Director at Pension Department of MOHRSS appreciated the constructive suggestions in the study. He said the mutual assistance and solidarity function of pension system would be strengthened to provide adequate protection. Tailored schemes need to be considered for flexible workers without labour relations. Innovations in social security administration and services will also help these workers access to social security.

Mr Zhou Yongbo, Deputy Director-General of Employment Injury Insurance Department, MOHRSS indicated the importance of a balanced combination of market oriented initiatives and government interventions in the area of employment injury protection for workers in NSFE.

Mr Xu Yanjun, DG level Counsel of Social Insurance Administration, MOHRSS suggested to consider long-term institutional arrangements rather than temporary measures. The study has captured well the progress on automation and digitalization of social security administration, which is crucial for extending social security coverage to workers in NSFE. Social insurance administrations shall explore collaborations with platform companies for the purpose of data sharing and policy advocacy.

Mr Yan Yutu, Deputy Director of Zhejiang Social Insurance Administration shared local practices of providing human resources and social security services to workers in NSEF.

Ms Zhao Ting, Deputy Director at Employers’ Department of China Enterprise Confederation (CEC) expected that any new regulation and policy would consider the balance between workers’ protection and vitality of enterprise development.

Chinese experts from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Renmin University, and CALSS also shared their insights to the issues under discussion.

Four ILO specialists from Geneva, Bangkok and Beijing made presentations on global perspectives on pensions for the platform economy and the self-employed, general principles and country examples of employment injury insurance for workers in the platform economy, strategies to adapt and modernize social security administration for digital platform workers, and international perspective on closing the gaps for universal social security.

Q&A sessions were organized by using an online Q&A tool to collect participants’ inputs.

The CALSS research team will finalize the report based on inputs from the participants.