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The city’s promotion of employment, business start-ups and social security

Apr 19, 2017

The Shanghai Municipal Government’s Information Office held a press conference on March 22 on the promotion of employment, business start-ups and social security. The following are the highlights:

Zhao Zhuping, director, Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau
Zheng Shuzhong, deputy director, Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau
Fei Yuqing, deputy director, Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau
Zhang Dezhi, director, Shanghai Employment Promotion Center

STV: I have a question about employment. Just now director Zhao mentioned there is a program in Shanghai to help youth get jobs, what measures do you have in the Qihang plan? In the next step, what new policies will you have to help youngsters seeking employment?

Zhang Dezhi: It’s true that youth employment is a key area in our work, which is also the difficult point in the next step. I will explain to you the measures and effectiveness of the Qihang plan.

First is about the concrete measures in the Qihang plan, which aims to solve bottleneck problem for youth seeking employment and strengthen support for unemployed youth to get jobs. And we’re the first in China to start a program in 2012.

There are many concrete measures in the Qihang plan, including setting up a long-term unemployed youth database, setting up a team of tutors, exploring a set of employment guidelines for youth, helping draft an employment paper with clear targets, and carrying out a series of activities on the issue.

In recent years, Shanghai has put forward a series of measures to pursue accurate implementation of policies by insisting on tackling problems when carrying out the Qihang plan.

As for the problem of weak operational abilities of youth, we carried out vocational probation plan to raise youth’s operational and professional abilities. In recent years, around 20,000 youth have taken part in the program every year. And the employment ratio became stable at above 65 percent within six months after the probation period. Regarding difficulties in seeking employment for university graduates, we put forward subsidy policies for those seeking employment as well as business start-up subsidies. We have included long-term unemployed youth in a program to assist their employment. We also put forward subsidies on insurance and employment insurance for graduates in order to guide students to SMEs, or assist them in getting employed flexibly by more firms.

As for difficulties in financing, we have put forward policies on guaranteed loans for business start-ups and subsidy on loan interest to encourage youth to start their own business. To lower costs, we have also introduced policies on social insurance subsidy, subsidy on office rent and preferential tax on private business for college graduates. We have also set up a system to improve their abilities with capacity evaluation, training and probation service.

We have drafted a training catalogue to meet the demand of industrial, economic and social development and organize youth to take training sessions with the support of vocational schools and private professional training institutions. To improve the practical abilities of students, we also carried out test work on a new probation system via cooperation between colleges and enterprises. With the support of large enterprises, we have set up training bases for high-skilled talents and carried out technical training for posts which are in demand at enterprises.

Second, the Qihang plan has yielded some solid progress in terms of mechanism and statistics. 1. Job statistics: In 2011 the registered unemployed youth was 78,700; in 2016 it dropped 32 percent to 53,400, and among the unemployed the percentage point of youth also fell by nearly 7 percent. For unemployed youth with difficulties in finding jobs, 100 percent of them got a job within 3 months from the time of confirmation, and for families with no employment, at least one of the families got a job within a month. 2. Employment promotion mechanism: A long-term system covering the whole city with participation of all parties and at all levels has been set up, and the job environment for youth has improved with deepening of the measures. It should be pointed out that though the rise in youth employment is an obvious effect, the setting up of the mechanism has a more profound and long-term meaning.

We can say that at the turn of the century we paid little attention to youth employment, and most of the focus was on employment for those in their 40’s and 50’s. In recent years, the Qihang plan has effectively made up the shortcoming in public employment service. During the implementation of the Qihang plan, all public employment service institutions have explored and formed service models and brands of their own. For example, youth employment guiding class has been set up in Pudong New Area, employment training workshop has been set up in Yangpu District, and similar training lessons are regularly provided in Xuhui and Putuo districts to improve employment service capabilities and enrich means of service.

Last, our youth employment policy needs to be improved despite some achievements. Director Zhao has said that measures to promote youth employment will be enhanced in the first half of the year. In recent years, some districts have made some exploration and some have been tested at municipal level as well as some good practices and means from other parts of China. We will combine them this year as we explore mechanism construction and practice. We are determined and confident of doing well, thank you! With regards to the problem of high expense and difficulties in seeing a doctor, are there any measures planned to complete medical insurance and ease the burden on patients in Shanghai?

Zheng Shuzhong: Thank you for your question. It’s true that the above mentioned problems are the focus and hot topics for local residents. In recent years we have made some progress in solving the problems to ease the burden on patients.

On the one hand, we have optimized the system to consolidate the fundamental security effect of medical insurance.

In recent years, we have worked on completing the basic medical insurance policy system according to the principle of expanding the coverage and improving equity. First is to include migrant employees in the medical insurance for company staff so that the social welfare of migrant workers is in line with locals. Second is to reach the target of urban and rural overall development on basic medical insurance. From the beginning of 2016, we have integrated the medical insurance of urban and rural residents in Shanghai, covering 3.36 million of them. Third is to push forward the inclusion of people enjoying township medical insurance into medical insurance for company employees in order to improve the medical insurance of people who are relocated. Fourth is to carry out medical care plan for aged people to promote the combination of medical insurance and care for the elderly. Since 2013 we have had a test on medical care plan for the aged under the framework of medical insurance for the elderly. The burden of nursing cost is lowered by including the medical care cost occurring at home into medical insurance.

On the other hand, we have carried out several policies to ease the burden on the masses, including:

First is to improve the medical insurance coverage. From 2012 to 2016, Shanghai raised the maximum medical insurance pay several times from 280,000 yuan to 420,000 yuan, and the excess part can be reimbursed by up to 80 percent. Meanwhile, the minimum payment threshold remains unchanged, so their burden is eased.

Second is to improve the reimbursement of medical insurance for residents. In 2014, the part of medical insurance for inpatients was raised by 5 percentage points from around 70 percent to around 75 percent. At the same time, a critical illness insurance system has been set up to reimburse 55 percent on the part shouldered by individuals.

Third is to push forward the collective purchasing by invitation in bidding for medical care products. Purchase price of nine varieties of drugs has been lowered by over 60 percent. We have also tried to include some molecular-targeted drugs for tumors into the medical insurance system to ease the burden on people with serious illness.

Fourth is to get rid of premiums on drug prices and set reasonable price of diagnosis and treatment. In order to improve the sense of gain, the medical insurance of Shanghai plans to include all the items with the changed prices into the payment scope to ensure that the cost for the insured does not rise in general.

Fifth is to set up long-term prescriptions for chronic diseases and extended prescriptions covered by medical insurance. In combination with the family doctor system, the insured people can enjoy more convenience with extended prescription period and more medicine varieties.

Sixth is to push forward purchasing commercial medical insurance with the fund in private accounts of medical insurance as a test. Individuals can buy two specific products, e.g. in-hospital medical insurance covering the self-paid part and serious disease insurance, with accumulated balance of private accounts. The move can better protect employees with their individual account balance and ease the burden on the insured to cover the medical bills they have paid themselves.

Seventh is to strengthen the supervision of medical insurance to protect the rights of the insured. We will join hands with healthcare departments to listen to complaints and extend the supervision subject from medical institutions to medical service.

Caixin magazine: I have two questions about township medical insurance. On April 1, township medical insurance will be merged with employee medical insurance. After that the insurance standard for residents with employee medical insurance will be raised. In 2016 the subsidy on employee medical insurance was raised by the financial department, now it will be hiked further, does it mean that the financial subsidy will be retained in future? The second question is about a detail of the merger, the balance of insurance for elderly in township medical insurance in 2017 is in the black, as per the budget. Is it because the township medical insurance fund has been put into the account of urban medical insurance?
Fei Yuqing: Yesterday the municipal government unveiled relevant documents on township medical insurance with a clear policy framework. In fact, the reform of the township medical insurance is to transfer insured people with insurance to employee medical insurance as much as possible so as to include more people into the system.

Currently we are transferring the benefit of the policy together with system transfer, which is to include township medical insurance into employee medical insurance program directly. After the transfer, the adjustment of the beneficiaries of township medical insurance will be carried out according to those of employee medical insurance. From this point, the benefit of beneficiaries of original township medical insurance will be raised after April 1. The burden on these people will be eased as they can enjoy employee medical insurance directly.

Wenhui Daily: Could you please give details about the application for the 46th WorldSkills Competition in 2021 and how do you plan to upgrade the professional skills of talents with high techniques during the application process?

Zhang Dezhi: This is a key work of us this year, and it needs the extensive participation of people from all walks of society.

In recent years, the vocational training of Shanghai has focused on two tasks: promotion of employment with service, and the transforming and upgrading of the service industry. We have focused our attention on setting up a vocational training system for all laborers, actively carrying out a new type of apprentice system test, further strengthening the construction of a talent team with high techniques, carrying out vocational skill competition extensively and actively forming a good atmosphere to cultivate the growth of technical talents.

Recently China formally decided to apply for the 46th WorldSkills Competition in 2021 following approval from the CPC Central Committee, and selected Shanghai as the host city, which is a major decision made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. The hosting of the competition by Shanghai shows the trust and support of the Party and the state. It will also be a major opportunity for Shanghai to showcase the city’s image, promote innovation and development, and create a social atmosphere to raise the cultivation level of technical talents.

Currently the application process has been carried out in good order. Next we will try our best to make the application according to the timetable with three heavyweight activities. First is the reception of the WorldSkills Organization in April; second is to hold the WorldSkills China Competition and symposium in June; and the third is to join the application convention of the WorldSkills Competition in October and make our best presentation in order to win the hosting rights. The ultimate target of application is to expand the influence of China, and the influence of technical talents to form an atmosphere of respecting technical talents in society, and promote employment of higher quality. Thank you, media friends, for your support.

Zhao Zhuping: Shanghai will compete against Basel, Switzerland in Abu Dhabi in October.

Laodong Daily: What improvements can we see in social security benefits during the last five years? Is there any institutional adjustment? Besides, will the minimum wage standard of employees be raised this year?

Fei Yuqing: Many people are concerned about improvements in social insurance benefits. In recent years, Shanghai has been steadily improving social security in the following three aspects.

Firstly, the pension adjustment mechanism has been improved. In 2011, the city improved the calculation and payment methods of enterprise pension to steadily finish the transition to average indexed monthly earnings. The city established an institutional adjustment mechanism. In recent years, Shanghai has adjusted benefits of various pensions. The enterprise pension, town resident insurance pension and basic pension of urban and rural residents insurance (formerly new agriculture insurance) have increased from 2,341, 982, 370 yuan in 2012 to 3,558, 1,549 and 750 yuan at the end of 2016, up 52, 58, 103 percent, respectively. Especially in employee pension adjustment, the city has adopted the growth system of “general + special” increases. In 2016, government organs, public institutions and enterprises were also included in the unified pension growth system.

The second is easing residents’ burden on receiving medical services. In 2012, the city adjusted the payment method of employee medical insurance of outpatient emergency treatment to narrow the disparities of benefits and optimize the use of personal accounts. The insurance benefit standards started to be classified by ages.

In recent years, the city has raised the ceiling of medical care payment many times. The maximum payment limit of employee medical insurance increased from 280,000 yuan in 2012 to 420,000 in 2016. At the same time, the city raised reimbursement ratios of outpatient emergency treatment and hospitalization expenses. Since January 2017, the reimbursement ratio of resident’s expense on serious illness treatment has risen from 50 percent to 55 percent.

Also, a bidding purchase mechanism for medicines covered by medical insurance was initially formed. The city has started the open tender for medicines in big and simple packages, and has implemented a pilot to purchase certain medicines in coordination with the medical treatment reform to further strengthen the management of self-paid medicine and medical devices in designated hospitals. A long-term management mechanism integrating chronic disease prescription covered by medical insurance and family doctors’ chronic disease management was also established.

The third is the improvement of unemployment, injury and maternity insurance benefits. In recent years, the city has adjusted social security insurance on unemployment and work-related injury every April. The three benefit standards of work-related injury insurance have been raised from 755, 810 and 860 yuan in 2012 to 1,415, 1,470 and 1,520 yuan in 2016. The average maternity insurance for employed women has increased from 24,742 yuan in 2012 to 34,189 yuan in 2016. The work-related injury insurance has been raised from 35,000 yuan in 2012 to 45,000 in 2016. In recent years, the city has also implemented work-related injury prevention and injury rehabilitation systems to complete the functions of work-related injury insurance. In July 2015, the city issued a policy to offer jobless insurance subsidy to enterprises which stabilize job positions. In January 2013, the city extended the maternity leave period from 90 to 98 days in accordance with the nation’s relevant provisions. In July 2016, the city increased the medical subsidy for maternity from 3,000 yuan in 2004 to 3,600 yuan to reduce the medical burden on female employees.

Zhao Zhuping: The minimum wage standard will be mainly adjusted by the Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau. Details will be released on April 1.

Shanghai Radio: You mentioned the medical care plan for the elderly. What are the effects of the pilot program on long-term elderly care insurance launched this year?

Zheng Shuzhong: To meet the increasing demand of nursing service for the elderly, the Municipal Human Resource and Social Security Bureau launched a trial of the elderly medical care plan which offers home-based medical care service to aged residents who qualify health-wise for the service. In January 2016, the pilot was expanded to all districts and counties in Shanghai.

The achievements of the three-year pilot program are mainly reflected in the following aspects. Firstly, the city has established the standard and the scope for medical insurance payment. Secondly, it has built assessment and nursing teams as well as training systems. Thirdly, an assessment standard of care needs for the elderly has been set up. Fourthly, the city has made clear the procedures of the whole program, from application to implementation. Fifthly, the city has improved the referral system of hospital and home-based care services, taken advantage of and integrated the existing medical care service resources. Sixthly, the Third Party Liability Insurance for nursing institutes has been developed.

With the promotion of the pilot program, the medical care project has covered all districts in Shanghai, totaling 102 neighborhoods and towns. The elderly medical care now covers people aged over 70. Self-paid expense ratio of home-based health care service has decreased from 20 to 10 percent. Different standards of home-based health care service hours have been set up.

In June 2016, the National Human Resources and Social Security Bureau issued the opinion on the long-term elderly care insurance and made clear that Shanghai was among the cities chosen for the long-term care insurance pilot program. Since January 1, 2017, Xuhui, Putuo and Jinshan have implemented the pilot program.

The long-term care insurance pilot program is a strategic approach to promote economic development and improve the social security system. The program can also promote the development of the elderly care service industry and improve the employment of nursing personnel. The program will be formally implemented at the end of this year or early next year around the city.

Jiefang Daily: Many changes have taken place in the city’s social security system. What benefits has it brought to citizens? Could you share with us the reform progress of the public institutions endowment insurance system?

Fei Yuqing: Generally speaking, the adjustment and improvement of the city’s social security system is in accordance with the requirements of “integrated development of urban and rural areas, complete system, moderate level and advanced management”. In recent years, we have fully implemented the requirements of social insurance in the light of the actual circumstances of the city to protect legal rights and interests of the insured people. The city has gradually improved relevant social insurance policies and systems which mainly involve the following five aspects:

The first is that migrant workers have been gradually included in the employee social insurance system. Since July 2011, urban residents from other cities have been participating in the five employment insurances while rural residents from other cities have been participating in the occupational insurance. In April 2015, the city finished the transition from comprehensive insurance to occupational insurance. Since April 2016, migrant workers have been also allowed to participate in the maternity and unemployment insurance. The city realized the unified insurance method of migrant workers and employees who hold the city’s household registers.

Secondly, the residents whose land has been expropriated will be included in the basic social security system. By the end of 2012, the city unified the social security payment method of those whose land has been expropriated and ordinary employees. Besides, the town insurance system will cease and these formerly insured people will be included in the national basic social security system. The city will also implement an adjusted policy from April 1.

The third is realizing a unified social security insurance system of urban and rural residents. In May 2015, rural residents with flexible employment were included in the city’s social security insurance system. In April 2014, the city finished the transition from town insurance to occupational insurance which covered a total 617,000 suburban enterprises employees. Since April 2015, farmers’ cooperatives and family farms employees with the city’s residential register have been able to participate in the employment endowment and medical insurance. The unemployment insurance methods of the city’s urban and rural employees were also unified.

The fourth is building an integrated social insurance system. Since May 2014, the city has integrated the new rural social endowment insurance for rural residents with social endowment insurance for urban residents to establish an integrated social endowment insurance system. In October 2015, Shanghai issued the Notice of the Municipal Government on Promulgation of Procedures of Basic Medical Insurance for Shanghai Urban and Rural Residents to integrate the residents’ medical insurance with the New Village Cooperative Medical Service and establish a unified system of basic medical insurance for urban and rural residents.

The fifth is promoting the reform of the endowment insurance of public institutions and enterprises. In July 2015, the city launched the reform of the endowment insurance, established the “basic insurance + occupational annuities” system, carried out real account accumulation of public institution occupational annuities and realized pension system unification of enterprises, government organs and public institutions.

Generally speaking, Shanghai has integrated all social security systems into two national insurance institutions which are employee social insurance as well as insurance for urban and rural residents. The city has improved insurance benefits and generally realized urban-rural integration in the social security system.