The social security system has been greatly promoted in China and will be further extended to the rural areas including the rural migrant workers. A number of new social security schemes have been operational, including the rural pension scheme, the medical insurance for urban residents, urban and rural minimum living standards as well as other social assistance policies for both urban and rural population besides traditional five social insurance schemes.
More importantly, China adopted the Social Insurance Law in October 2010, which will enter into force on 1 July 2011 and provides a legal regulatory framework for a further sound development of social security in the country. The key challenges are now how to implement the Law at workplace and local levels with active participation of all stakeholders.
Since 2003, the ILO has launched a Global Campaign for Social Security and Coverage for All. The Campaign promotes simultaneously the vertical and horizontal extensions and seeks to ensure a minimum set of social security benefits for all, called the social protection floor. Higher levels of social security should then be achieved when the economies develop and the fiscal space for re-distributive policies widens.
At the times of the global crisis and after the adoption of the Social Insurance Law, this workshop intends to facilitate discussions on the role of trade unions in extending the coverage of the social security schemes, in particular in times of the economic downturn on the one hand, and in effectively implementing the Law at workplaces and localities. This workshop is a follow up to the outcome of the ILO/ACFTU International Seminar on Social Security Promotion held in Xiamen on 21-22 October 2009.