China is seeking to roll out a number of measures, including encouraging self-employed businesses and supporting part-time employment, to bolster flexible employment through multiple channels, boost job creation and people’s income. This was revealed by President Xi Jinping at an executive meeting carried out by the State Council.

“Sustaining employment is our top priority in maintaining stability in the six key areas and enhancing protections in another six priority areas. Flexible employment is of particular importance. The situation this year is particularly challenging, as the number of migrant workers staying in or returning to rural areas keeps increasing. Income and employment are closely related. Our people have infinite creativity. This is what makes the Chinese economy resilient,” Li said.

As of this week, self-employed businesses will be encouraged and all relief policies introduced will be effectively implemented. Key populations including college graduates, rural migrant workers and laid-off workers who engage in self-employed businesses will receive start-up subsidies, guaranteed loans, tax relief and other support, according to regulations.

Along with this, part-time employment will also be supported. Social insurance subsidies can expect to see an extension towards those having difficulty finding jobs or college graduates yet to be employed two years after graduation when they engage in part-time work.

“Unwarranted restrictions on flexible employment must be removed, and the proportion of part-time employment needs to expand. New forms of industry and business models have played an effective role in our COVID-19 containment. Government departments should exercise the accommodating yet prudent regulation, abolish unreasonable charges and offer more convenient services,” said Li.

Accommodating yet prudent regulation is set to be applied to new forms of employment, including online retailing, smart mobility, online education and training, and telemedicine. The government expects that under the new regulations, online platforms will be encouraged to create more flexible jobs.

“Flexible employment has enormous potential. To meet the overall employment need this year, relevant support policies already introduced, such as tax and fee cuts, must be delivered on the ground as quickly as possible,” Li said.

The meeting highlighted the desperate need to strengthen public services for employment. This includes the gig market; an often overlooked part of the economy, which will also be developed to meet employer’s need for flexible workers. The rights and interests of those flexibly employed will be protected, including remuneration and occupational safety.

“Local governments, especially those at city and county levels, must earnestly fulfil their due responsibilities in protecting the lawful rights and interests of flexibly-employed workers. At the same time, businesses should be allowed certain flexibility, so that more jobs will be created. Governments should work to bring down business costs and help increase income for those working flexibly,” Li said.

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