China to boost flexible employment through multiple channels
Updated: July 22, 2020 22:59

China will roll out a host of measures, including encouraging self-employed businesses and supporting part-time employment, to bolster flexible employment through multiple channels, and boost job creation and people’s income, the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on July 22.

The Chinese government places great importance on flexible employment. General Secretary Xi Jinping made important instructions on multiple occasions stressing the need to provide support for flexible employment via diverse channels. Premier Li Keqiang pointed to the important role of multiple forms of flexible employment in underpinning employment stability.

“Sustaining employment is our top priority in maintaining stability in the six key areas and enhancing protections in another six priority areas. Flexible employment is of particular importance,” Premier Li said. “The situation this year is particularly challenging, as the number of migrant workers staying in or returning to rural areas keeps increasing. Income and employment are closely related. Our people have infinite creativity. This is what makes the Chinese economy resilient.”

It was decided at the meeting that self-employed businesses will be encouraged. All relief policies introduced must be effectively implemented. Key populations including college graduates, rural migrant workers and laid-off workers who engage in self-employed business will receive start-up subsidies, guaranteed loans, tax relief and other support, according to regulations.

Part-time employment will be supported. Social insurance subsidies will be extended to those having difficulty finding jobs or college graduates yet to be employed two years after graduation when they engage in part-time work.

“Unwarranted restrictions on flexible employment must be removed, and the proportion of part-time employment needs to expand. New forms of industry and business models have played an effective role in our COVID-19 containment,” Premier Li said. “Government departments should exercise accommodating yet prudent regulations, abolish unreasonable charges and offer more convenient services.”

Accommodating and prudent regulations will be applied to new forms of employment, including online retail, smart mobility, online education and training, and telemedicine. Online platforms will be encouraged to create more flexible jobs.

“Flexible employment has enormous potential. To meet the overall employment need this year, related support policies already introduced, such as tax and fee cuts, must be delivered on the ground as quickly as possible,” Premier Li said.

The meeting underscored the need to strengthen public services for employment. The gig work market will be developed to meet employers’ needs for flexible workers. The rights and interests of flexibly employed people must be protected, including remuneration and occupational safety. No delinquent payments are allowed. Policies protecting platform workers will be developed.

Information on new professions in demand will be released whenever available. Targeted training programs will be carried out to enhance people’s capacity for flexible employment.

“Local governments, especially those at city and county levels, must earnestly fulfill their due responsibilities in protecting the lawful rights and interests of flexibly employed workers. At the same time, businesses should be allowed certain flexibility, so that more jobs will be created. Governments should work to bring down business costs and help increase incomes for those working flexibly,” Premier Li said.

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