Public welfare

China expands welfare jobs for vulnerable groups for common prosperity – Xinhua

File photo taken on April 19, 2022 shows Wang Junru (1st L) helping people record information at a nucleic acid testing site in Linqing, east China’s Shandong Province. (Xinhua)

JINAN, May 11 (Xinhua) — After four years without a stable income, 43-year-old Wang Junru from east China’s Shandong Province now works at a local nucleic acid testing site.

“Please use your cell phone to scan the QR code and fill in your information,” Wang, dressed in a white hazmat suit, told people queuing at a testing site in the city of Linqing.

Wang got the job after submitting an application to a local public employment program in March. Now she earns about 2,000 yuan (about 297 US dollars) per month, which is enough to cover her basic living expenses.

Created and funded by the state, welfare jobs refer to management and service positions that serve the public interest. The policy, implemented in China for decades, has effectively helped the long-term unemployed find jobs and helped absorb excess rural labor and improve the livelihoods of low-income people. from the country.

In 2020, China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and six other departments jointly issued a notice on better use of welfare jobs to enhance job security. Last month, the ministry once again highlighted the policy at a press conference, saying more public social jobs will be created as part of efforts to improve the employment situation of vulnerable groups.

In Linqing, a city of about 800,000 people, more than 3,000 people have benefited from social jobs this year, most of them from low-income rural households or “jobless families”, whose members are all unemployed.

The policy also helps those at risk of falling into extreme poverty due to illness or disability. Ma Xiuzhong, a 31-year-old resident of Zhaoguanying East Village in Linqing, suffers from uremia and is unable to do heavy labor. Through the welfare jobs scheme, he got a job as a “river keeper” in March, primarily responsible for patrolling the river in his village and clearing floating rubbish from the water.

“This job does not require heavy labor and suits me well,” Ma said, adding that this job means a lot to him and his family, especially economically.

Some public welfare jobs have arisen as a result of urgent new societal needs, such as Wang’s job at the nucleic acid testing site amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Elsewhere in Shandong, the city of Linyi, which has a forest cover rate of over 23%, has registered nearly 3,000 people for forest patrol and fire prevention, while the city of Yicheng district of Zaozhuang proposed seven kinds of social jobs related to ecological protection. , such as mountain afforestation and wetland restoration.

To date, Shandong has created a total of 409,700 such jobs, 80% of which are based in rural areas where job opportunities are scarcer and public services are often scarce.

“Social welfare posts attract more people to participate in rural community-level governance and engage in major public affairs such as epidemic prevention and agricultural infrastructure protection,” said Yi Junqiang. , director of public service center for employment and talents of Shandong province.

In December 2021, Shandong presented a new plan to create about 1.2 million public sector jobs between 2021 and 2025, mainly for vulnerable social groups and the elderly.

“China’s active promotion of public welfare jobs will not only help offset the negative impact of COVID-19 on employment, but also give hope to more low-income and low-skilled people.” in their quest for a better life,” said Sun Tao, an economics professor at Shandong University.

As China has set an ambitious goal of achieving “common prosperity” for its 1.4 billion people, Sun said, going forward, government spending on public services and payments for transfer to first-level governments should increase further, in order to improve both the quantity and quality of public social jobs.