China to raise retirement age

By Zhang Yiqian Source:Global Times Published: 2013-12-11 1:28:01

China will raise the retirement age in progressive steps, a senior official of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said on Tuesday.

The public will be notified a few years prior to the actual implementation and the plan will be carried out step by step, said Hu Xiaoyi, deputy head of the ministry.

Early retirement will be strictly controlled and the government will explore employment opportunities that fit the elderly and won't affect youth, Hu said.

The progressive delay in retirement age is a gentler way of raising the retirement age, Yang Yiyong, director of the Institute for Social Development under the National Development and Reform Commission, told the Xinhua News Agency.

"It doesn't mean the retirement age increases from 60 to 65 all of a sudden," he told Xinhua.

"It means you add about one or two months delay each year. If the policy implementation starts this year, the retirement age would be 60 years and a month this year, and change to 60 and two months next year."

The current retirement age in China is 60 or 55 for men, 55 or 50 for women, according to Chinese regulations.

Shu Kexin, a research fellow with the Workshop of Institutional Analysis and Public Policy of the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that the progressive policy makes the policy more palatable to the general public.

"If you are 58 and only have a couple of years before you retire, then all of a sudden the retirement age is extended a few years, for example, of course I would oppose it," he said. "But I think they won't oppose this transitional change."

According to a poll published by in November, about 70 percent of 1,062 people interviewed oppose the delay.

Shu thinks most people who oppose this policy are near retirement age. He thinks the policy will be implemented nonetheless in the long run and is beneficial.

"It helps create more social wealth as well as more money contributed toward a retirement pension," he said.

According to Hu, the average retirement age for Chinese men and women working in a company is 54. "This is obviously too low," he said, adding that China's labor force is decreasing and the aging process is fast.

In 2012, the size of China's working population, aged 15 to 59 years old, dropped for the first time by 3.45 million from 2011, Xinhua reported.

Jin Weigang, deputy director of the Social Security Institute at the ministry, told the Global Times the proposed change is being discussed at the moment.

There is no timetable or details of implementation.

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