Gov't set to tackle pension fund woes

(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-11-28 07:48

The current regulation stipulates that male workers in factories retire at 55, female workers retire at 50, while male officials, engineers and professionals with special expertise retire at 60 and females in this category retire at 55. Average retirement age in China is 51.2 years - 10 years younger than that of other countries.

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As a result, many people have to quit their jobs when they are both physically capable and very experienced. This is a waste of their talent as well as a loss for the nation.

From this perspective, allowing people to put off their retirement would not only satisfy the need for talent, but would also fulfil the wish of these people to extend their professional lives.

According to statistics from Shanghai, 78 per cent of people with high-end professional expertise aged between 60 and 70 are invited back to work, and most of them are willing to do so.

Such a phenomenon happens in many other places and it has a long tradition dating back one or two decades.

Given this fact, it would be a practical move to face the reality and put off the retirement age.

More importantly, extending the professional life of high-end talent may also help prepare for the ageing population issue that is looming.

In the next 10 to 20 years, China will become an ageing society. It would be inevitable for the country to put off people's retirement and let them stay at work.

By extending the working time for part of the labour force, the authorities will find out what consequences this decision would incur, what problems may surface and how to solve the problems, drawing precious experience for future decision-making.

There is the opinion, however, that when retirement is put off it will worsen unemployment and make young people lose jobs.

But sociological research also indicates that a social group may become prematurely senile both physically and mentally if people retire too early. Moreover, setting the retirement age at a low level would add a heavy burden for the State and the working population to support the pension fund.

Admittedly, individual choices should be respected on the issue of retirement. While many people would like to work for another couple of years, others may want to enjoy their lives in retirement. Hence, another option is to set up a flexible retirement age.


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