Oct 13, 2014 08:10 PM

Study Finds Migrant Workers Excluded from Insurance Coverage

(Beijing) – The majority of migrant workers do not receive social insurance provisions, said a report released by a joint team of researchers from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Peking University published on October 11.

China's laws stipulate that employers must pay into five social insurance systems, which include pensions, unemployment, maternity leave and sickness and injury insurance.

Around 96 percent of migrant workers had healthcare insurance, but only 30 percent of migrant workers were eligible for benefits, said the report.

Researchers faulted limited training on social insurance among workers for the lack of access to benefits.

The report surveyed over 300 migrant workers in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Dongguan and Shanghai. In April, tens of thousands of workers in Dongguan, Guangdong Province staged a strike over unpaid insurance benefits.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that by the end of 2013, there were a total of 268 million migrant workers and only one-fifth had joined the social insurance system.

The survey found that about 50 percent of workers said if laws were not in place to mandate payments, they would not participate in the system because they do not feel they will receive benefits later on.

A migrant worker said that a few workers could receive benefits from healthcare insurance because such programs typically do not cover minor medical needs.

Only one-third of workers that reported being injured at some point said they were able to receive insurance benefits, says the report.

The report said less than 4 percent of workers received benefits from unemployment insurance and maternity leave coverage.

Individuals are entitled to draw from pension savings after at least 15 years of payment in China. However, many of the migrant workers surveyed had only paid into the programs for less than 15 years.

Migrant workers can only transfer individual contributions to pensions when moving from one province to another, but only 60 percent of a company's payments for a worker can be moved due to separate administration among provinces.

(Rewritten by Guo Kai)

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