Benefits shakeup on cards for civil servants

By Zou Le Source:Global Times Published: 2011-2-18 17:41:00

China is planning to conduct a trial run on bringing civil servants into the nation's general social security system in a broad scheme aimed at deepening reforms of the civil service system, a senior official said.

Li Yuanchao, head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remark at a recent conference marking the fifth anniversary of the implementation of the Civil Servant Law. He did not give details as to when or where the trial would start.

Civil servants have their own pension system, which brings more benefits than schemes used for regular employees.

If implemented nationwide, the proposal will have a significant impact as it would bring an end to a preferential social security system enjoyed only by government employees, thus saving the government from having to pour billions of yuan into their employees' social insurance every year, experts said.

"Bringing civil servants into the nation's general social security system changes the fact that people's treatment is determined by their identities, therefore helping to build social fairness," Zhou Hanhua, a professor of administrative law at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

"The change will make civil servants more proactive and facilitate mobility among different professions."

A job in the civil service is considered an "iron rice bowl" due to its generous benefits. Civil service recruitment exams have attracted over 10 million people in the past five years, of whom 620,000 people were recruited, the State Administration of Civil Service said.

Currently, the social security system for government employees is independent from the general social security system in various categories including pensions and insurance.

For instance, regular employees of enterprises pay certain amounts of money into their pension fund each month, but end up having a retirement income three times less than that of civil servants, whose pension premiums are completely covered by the State.

"Even the cafeterias for civil servants are better, and all the food is subsidized," wrote Tao Poluo in a commentary for the Chinese version of the Financial Times.

"No matter how much property prices soar, those civil servants can always buy a big house in the downtown area using money that others can only use to buy a toilet," Tao wrote.

In a recent online poll conducted by, netizens voted for "social security" as their top concern during the upcoming National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consulta-tive Conference, with 94 percent agreeing that civil servants should be brought into the general social security system.

"Even so, this is not going to quench the public's enthusiasm for civil service jobs, because they still have more benefits than other regular jobs," Zhou said.

The government is also seeking to improve other laws concerning civil servants. Over 50,000 civil servants were punished and 4,778 dismissed as a result of disciplinary violations in the past five years, the State Administration of Civil Service said.

Posted in: China Watch

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