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Legislators call for government to return extra pensions

2015-03-08 08:44 chinadaily.com.cn Web Editor: Si Huan
Senior citizens chat at a retirement home in Beijing. (Photo/Xinhua)

Senior citizens chat at a retirement home in Beijing. (Photo/Xinhua)

Deputies to the nation's top legislature body called for reform of the pension system, arguing it is unfair that the government would not return the excess amount of the pension money if a retired worker dies.[Special coverage]

According to Dahe Daily, the reform of the pension program became a hot topic at the annual "two sessions", as under the current system, most workers need to pay 8 percent of their salary toward pension.

However, if a retired worker dies before they are able to pick up enough pension equivalent to the amount paid during the lifetime, the government seizes the extra cash.

"The working class pays pension money for decades, but if the money is not collected before they pass away the government 'confiscates' the extra," said Ren Qinxin, a national legislator and president of Citic Heavy Industries Co. "So shall we pin hope only on that we would live longer?"

Ren said the relevant figures, like average life expectancy of retired workers, the total amount of pension they collected, and the total payment of the 8 percent pension money, is never revealed.

"I can't find these data. But I believe there is a considerable number of people who fail to pick up pension money," he added.

Other national legislators, including Ji Bingwei, Party chief of Kaifeng, Henan province, and Chen Xuefeng, Party chief of Henan's Luoyang, agreed.

"The total amount is a big sum," Ji said of the pension money in Kaifeng.

Another deputy to the National People's Congress Yang Shengdao, also the head of Henan's human resources department, said: "We should start to think about it."

Deputies to the ongoing meetings of the nation's top legislature body and political advisory body also proposed to raise the pension to improve the living standard of the retirees.

According to Citic Heavy Industries' Ren, China's pension replacement rate, an important measurement suggesting the percentage of a worker's pre-retirement income that is paid out by a pension program upon retirement, has dropped to 44.62 percent in 2013, much lower than the 55 percent warning rate given by the International Labor Organization.

It still keeps dropping, Ren said.

Based on his calculation, the pension paid out to retired group should grow at 15 percent each year, or 5 percentage points higher than the average growth rate of 10 percent in the past 10 years.

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