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Chinese government prioritizes employment policy in 2019

YANG WEIGUO | 2019-04-01
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)

The Report on the Work of the Government in 2019 highlights the role employment plays in the macro economy while continuing to stress how employment is the cornerstone of wellbeing and the wellspring of wealth.The first item in the tasks for 2019 proposes to “make good use of countercyclical macro policy regulation, add to and use flexible financial, monetary, and employment policy instruments, make regulation more forward-looking, targeted, and effective and create the conditions for ensuring a stable economic performance.” This is the first time that the central government has included employment policy into macro policy instruments, indicating the macroeconomic function of employment policy.


Given that in both current and future periods the pressure on aggregate employment will continue unabated, structural issues will continue to become more prominent, and new factors affecting employment will continue increasing, the report proposes “to prioritize increasing employment” and “use multiple channels to achieve stable and expanding employment.” The employment policy in the report focuses on the following points.


Special attention should be paid to key groups such as college graduates, decomissioned military personnel and rural migrant workers. Attention should also be given to urban jobseekers facing difficulties in securing employment, rural poor people and urban residents registered as unemployed for at least six months.


Enterprises hiring staff from rural poor people or urban residents registered as unemployed for at least six months will be entitled to a fixed amount of tax and fee deductions for three years.
A sum of 100 billion yuan will be allocated from the surplus in unemployment insurance funds to implement a vocational skills training initiative.


Training will be provided for over 15 million people, upgrading their skills or preparing them to switch jobs or industries. Vocational colleges will achieve a large-scale expansion of 1 million student enrollments. The coverage of scholarships and grants for vocational college students will be expanded. A state scholarship for secondary vocational education will be established.


The country encourages not only more high school graduates but also decomissioned military personnel, laid-off workers and rural migrant workers to apply for vocational colleges. The central government will greatly increase fiscal support for vocational colleges, and local governments should also strengthen their support. Enterprises and private actors are encouraged to provide vocational education.


The report further requires strengthening support for flexible employment and new forms of employment. This is a scientific decision based on the country’s accurate judgment of major changes in the employment field. Under the digital economy, with the transition from the job market to the gig market, from the labor market to the human capital market, and from the labor relationship to the human capital relationship, it is necessary to rethink the rationales and sustainability of the traditional employment model and open up and explore new forms of employment under the new economic paradigm.


The core of the employment policy under the digital economy should focus on work ability and social security system construction. The government should establish a work ability improvement and migration system and cooperate with universities and industrial departments, promoting the optimization of teaching, major setting and the educational system. It should also enhance the building of facilities for virtual learning platforms and popularize a distributed lifelong learning model based on the combination of the internet and educational institutions. Meanwhile, the government should speed up the exploration of the new social security system based on job exchange platforms.

 

This article was edited and translated from Guangming Daily. Yang Weiguo is dean of the School of Labor and Human Resources at Renmin University of China.

 
edited by BAI LE
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