China considers measures to encourage re-employment of retirees

To encourage more seniors to re-enter the workforce, authorities have been urged to invest in this group and create regulations to protect their rights.
By: | June 1, 2023

China is intensifying its efforts to encourage more retirees to re-enter the workforce as the country grapples with a shrinking and ageing population. The state-run Economic Daily recently called on authorities to promote the re-employment of people aged over 60, describing it as an “urgent and realistic problem”.

The People’s Daily echoed these sentiments, recognising China’s 137 million healthy senior citizens as a valuable “new dividend” that should be developed. To address the issue, Zhao Biqian, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Labour and Social Security, highlighted successful models from countries like Japan and France, which established universities for senior citizens, provided incentives for hiring individuals over 70, and offered community services to help seniors find employment.

China’s retirement age is currently 60 for men, 55 for female employees, and 50 for female blue-collar employees, while the average life expectancy is 77.93. Beijing is considering postponing the retirement age, but specifics are yet to be finalised.

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As of 2022, China had over 280 million people aged over 60, comprising 19.8% of the population. However, only 8.8% of the total workforce falls into this age group. Zhang Chenggang, Director of the Research Centre for China’s New Employment Patterns, highlighted the need for better protection of the rights of re-employed elderly individuals. Currently, employers only need to pay remuneration without contributing to their social security fund, leaving them vulnerable in labour disputes or work-related accidents due to exceeding the retirement age, reported SCMP.

To facilitate the reintegration of senior employees, organisations are encouraged to accommodate their preferences for flexible working hours and consider their physical limitations. Additionally, Zhang called for policies against age discrimination and the safeguarding of elderly employees’ rights.