Customers buy vegetables at a supermarket in Yunmeng county, Xiaogan, Hubei Province, on Jan 29. (HU XUEJUN/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Li leads State Council executive session that details measures during epidemic
China will make substantial efforts to facilitate agricultural production and keep employment stable. A series of policies will be introduced, including temporarily lowering or waiving employers' social insurance contributions, and deferring employers' payments to the housing provident fund.
The issues were decided on Tuesday at the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.
"In advancing both epidemic control and economic and social development, one pressing task is to stabilize employment. It is important to promptly introduce policies to bolster businesses, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Sound development of such businesses is vital to stable employment," Li said.
To cushion the impact of the outbreak on enterprises and allow them some respite following the resumption of normal production, the meeting decided to temporarily lower or exempt employers' contributions to pension, unemployment and workplace injury insurance plans, provided they meet employees' pension payments on time and in full.
In provinces and municipalities other than Hubei, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises will be eligible for the waiver from February to June. Large companies will see them halved from February to April.
Companies of all types in Hubei that have participated in the insurance plans will be exempted from contributions from February to June.
The meeting required efforts to facilitate the employment of key groups of people. Plans for extending the time line for the recruitment of college graduates should be promptly worked out. Multiple means, including online hiring, should be used to boost recruitment.
It was also decided that before the end of June, companies may apply for deferring payments to the housing provident fund, which helps people save for homes. Failure by employees to repay their loans due to the epidemic will not be seen as a default.
"Household businesses are crucial to flexible employment and we must swiftly work out supporting policies. Unemployment insurance benefits should be promptly paid in full to the jobless to meet their essential needs. Pension payments must also be met on time and in full," Li said.
The meeting also urged ensuring spring-season farming as they pursue rural epidemic control. Guidance and support should be extended to farmers doing spring tilling.
Livestock farming must be facilitated in all respects, including accelerated resumption of hog production.
"At this critical moment of epidemic control, we must ensure spring plowing and farming preparations go well," Li said.