【英语中国】中国让在华外籍员工相信政府

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所属分类:双语中国

2011-11-1 08:56

小艾摘要: China passed a law this summer requiring foreign workers and their employers to contribute to a social security fund. The result has been confusion among business and bureaucrats alike about how it wi ...
China passed a law this summer requiring foreign workers and their employers to contribute to a social security fund. The result has been confusion among business and bureaucrats alike about how it will work.

Underscoring the uncertainty, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said in a press briefing Friday that it doesn’t quite have the plan all in place. Many of the details of the law are still being ironed out, said Xu Yanjun, the deputy director of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

Still, the details offered Friday represent the best information yet on the burden employers particularly foreign companies will face as China moves to create the sort of social safety net commonly found in other countries and long demanded by its population.

The lack of clarity has caused a stir among China watchers and foreign residents in the country as the social security plan which covers pension, medical expenses, unemployment, work-related injuries, and maternity will have a significant financial effect on businesses with foreign staff.

To date, no city in China has begun to collect the taxes, despite the law having gone into effect on Oct. 15. But all local governments will begin collecting by the end of the year and the payments will be retroactive. That means that no matter when the system actually launches, payments will be required from the date of Oct. 15 forward, said Mr. Xu.

City governments decide the level of contributions to be paid by the company. Beijing, for example, would require payments of 20% of a worker’s monthly salary for pensions as well as another 10% for medical.

Nationwide, individuals can expect to pay 10% of their monthly salaries, Mr. Xu said.

But then there’s the cap. Some businesses have been reassured by the fact that payments will be capped based on the local minimum wage. For example, Beijing would cap the payment at 12,603 yuan ($1,981). Other places, however, would offer their own cap levels, further complicating the process. The city of Dalian, for example, has no cap at all, potentially making foreign employees quite expensive.

Another component the government has yet work out is unemployment insurance. Foreigners who lose their jobs in China typically also lose their right to live in the country, making it difficult for them to actually collect their unemployment.

“We’re aware there’s a disconnect and we’re informing the employment and visa bureaus so that we can address the problem,” Mr. Xu said.

There are an estimated 600,000 foreigners living in China, nearly 232,000 of which have work permits, according to 2010 Census data. For most of those workers, the country’s plan duplicates insurance programs that employers already provide them.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security claims that duplication is not a problem. Foreigners who are from countries that have bilateral social security agreements with China can opt out of the program, provided that their home countries send proof that insurance has been paid at home, Mr. Xu said.

To date, only Germany and South Korea have bilateral agreements with China. Japan, Sweden, France, and Belgium have approached China to negotiate such deals, Chinese officials said.

The U.S. “has not expressed a wish to carry out bilateral agreements,” said Mr. Xu, adding that the Ministry gave advanced notice to all countries prior to the law’s passage.

China is quick to defend its new system. Officials point out that most other countries have similar social security plans for foreign workers. “Some people are worry that this will impede international talents from working in China,” said Mr. Xu. “But we believe this will bring welfare to those talents.”

Leaders have been emphasizing the rise of their own domestic social security scheme, which demographers say is necessary because of a ballooning aging population.

When asked if China is using foreigners to help fill a deficit needed to care for its aging citizens, Mr. Xu said, “We have no intention of grabbing money from foreigners, and the money of these 200,000-plus workers is insignificant when we’re talking about the welfare of China’s entire population.”

While Mr. Xu said the plan is still being formulated, he also said that foreigners have been too skeptical. “Trust China,” he said. “Trust the Chinese government.”

Zuma Press
今年夏季中国通过了一项法律,要求外籍就业者和外国企业缴纳社保基金。然而该如何操作,企业方面和有关部门一样无所适从。

人力资源和社会保障部在上周五的新闻发布会上称,具体方案尚未全部出台,这更进一步加深了各方面临的不确定性。人力资源和社会保障部社保中心副主任徐延君称,该法律的具体细则尚在完善之中。

不过,上周五新闻发布会上提供的细节仍然是迄今为止最详尽的说明,介绍了各企业特别是外国公司将面临怎样的负担。当前,中国正积极创建国内呼声很高的社会保障网络,而该网络在一些其他国家已经非常常见。

由于该法律不够明确,观察家们和身在中国的外国居民纷纷表达了关切,因为社保方案(涵盖了养老保险、医疗保险、失业保险、工伤保险和生育保险)在财务上会对有外籍员工的企业产生重大的影响。

Reuters尽管该法律已经于10月15日生效,但截至目前,中国还没有哪个城市开征该项税收。不过,所有地方政府都将于年底前开征,而且此项支付是溯及以往的,也就是说,不管这一制度最终何时开始执行,所有税费的起算日期都是10月15日,徐延君说。

公司缴纳多少份额的决定权在市政府。比如,北京就要求按月工资的20%缴纳养老保险,按10%缴纳医疗保险。

徐延君说,从全国范围来看,个人上缴的费用约占月工资的10%。

此外还有关于最高限额的规定。根据当地最低工资情况,将规定缴费基数的最高限额,这让一些企业吃了一颗定心丸。比如,北京规定,社保缴费基数最高为12,603元(约合1981美元)。不过,其他省市有权自行确定缴费基数,此举令整个体系更趋复杂化。比如,大连市就没有规定缴费基数最高限额,这就可能令雇佣外籍员工的成本变得十分高昂。

此外,政府还要解决有关失业保险的问题。通常而言,如果外国人在中国丢了工作,也就丢掉了在中国的居住权,因此失业保险对他们而言形同虚设。

徐延君说,我们知道两者之间确实衔接不够,我们会向就业部门和签证部门反映,解决这个问题。

据估计,目前在中国居住的外国人约为60万人,根据2010年的普查数据,其中约有232,000人持有工作许可证。对大多数外籍员工来说,中国的社保方案与公司为他们提供的保险项重合,出现了重复缴费的问题。

人力资源和社会保障部声称,重复缴费不是问题。徐延君说,对于那些来自与中国签订了双边社会保障协议的国家的外国人来说,可以选择不参加社会保险,前提是由他们国家需出具已在该国缴纳保险的证明。

迄今为止,只有德国和韩国于中国签订了双边协议。中国官员称,日本、瑞典、法国和比利时等国都曾与中国接触,协商签订互免社会保险费双边(多边)协议有关事宜。

徐延君说,美国并没有表达出想要签订双边协议的愿望。同时他还说,中国在通过该法之前已经提前向所有国家发出过通知。

有关部门也在积极为这一制度辩护。中国官员指出,大多数其他国家在外籍员工的社会保障方面都采取了类似的做法。徐延君说,有的人担心这会阻止国际人才到中国来工作,但我们认为这会给这些人才带来保障。

中国的领导人一直在强调推出国内社会保障方案的重要性。人口统计学家称,这非常有必要,因为中国的老龄人口数量正在不断增加。

当被问及中国政府是否是在抢外国人的钱来充实中国国内的社保这一问题时,徐延君说,我们绝不是要从外国人身上拿钱,在华就业人员也就20多万人,对我们要覆盖13亿人的社会保障体系来说,是微不足道的。

尽管徐延君称方案仍在制定之中,但他也说外国人的疑心太重了。要相信中国,相信中国政府,他说。

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