China to raise statutory retirement age

Beijing, Oct 15 (IANS) China is set to gradually enhance its statutory retirement age from the present 55, as the country’s workforce retires the earliest in the world, the media reported on Thursday.

The human resource ministry and social security will publicise a reform plan on raising the statutory retirement age, said minister Yin Weimin.

According to Yin, the current policy was formulated in the early 1950s when average life expectancy was less than 50, the Global Times reported.

With average life expectancy expected to surpass 70, the retirement policy seems to be out of date and “unreasonable”, Yin said.

Currently, people retire aged no more than 55, compared to the mid-60s of many other countries.

The reform plan will enhance the retirement age “step by step until it reaches a reasonable level”, he added.

China has 210 million people aged 60 or above, accounting for 15.5 percent of the population.

It is estimated that by 2020, this section of society will make up for 19.3 percent of the population and 38.6 percent in 2050.

This will weigh heavy on government endowment insurance expenditure, as individual pensions have increased from 700 yuan ($110) 10 years ago to over 2,000 yuan.

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