More Guangdong migrants to get dole

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 August, 2002, 12:00am

Guangdong will expand its unemployment insurance programme to cover migrant workers in the private sector from October 1 in an effort to bring more stability to the province, which has the country's largest private economy and migrant population.

The current scheme only covers migrant workers in government organisations and state-owned enterprises.

Under the new policy, workers who have spent at least one year with an employer will qualify for at least one month's unemployment benefit - equivalent to 80 per cent of the monthly salary.

Qualified jobless people can claim for compensation for up to a maximum of 24 months.

Beneficiaries who turn down jobs recommended by government placement agencies either twice in a row or three times in total will lose their benefits.

Private enterprises which choose not to join the new programme will be required to offer a lump-sum severance pay equivalent to 160 per cent of the worker's monthly salary.

However, critics doubt whether the new scheme is enforceable.

Guangdong has introduced several social insurance policies in the past few years, most of them covering migrant workers.

There are around 10 million migrant workers in Guangdong, but statistics released in September by the Social Insurance Fund Bureau revealed that only 4.9 million had enrolled in the social security programme.

Many enterprises had also tried to avoid contributions, citing high costs. Employers are already required to set aside up to 12 per cent of a worker's salary for social security schemes.

Some local officials concede that the new system will increase the cost of doing business in the province, which is already among the costliest on the mainland.

However, Wang Jun, deputy director of the Guangdong People's Congress, told the Southern Daily this week that such concerns were 'short-sighted'.