Insurance should cover all
Updated: 2012-04-27 08:05
A steel worker in Jiangxi province sliced off his finger at work, but his boss was "too busy" to provide him with the money he needed for finger replantation surgery. This heartrending story again underlines the fact that many migrant and rural workers are still not covered by work injury insurance, says an article in Worker's Daily. Excerpts:
The cold-blooded boss is the first to blame, as finger re-attachment is a common medical procedure today. But we should also ask why there is still a lack of insurance to cover the work injuries of migrant and rural workers.
Data from the State Bureau of Statistics show that in 2010, the country had some 230 million workers with rural birthplaces, 145 million of them migrant workers. However, only 55.8 million of them had compensation and medical treatment guarantees should they suffer an injury at work. The majority had to rely on their bosses to pay for any treatment.
As an indispensable part of social insurance, work injury insurance is supposed to provide injured workers and their relatives help with their medical treatment and recovery, as well as compensation and a subsistence allowance. It is a safety net the country owes its workers, and is their basic right.
Regretfully, this important insurance has yet to be extended to cover all migrant and rural workers. These workers are less educated and have less awareness of their rights. Due to their high mobility, they are often offered short-term contracts that offer them few guarantees. Many enterprises and employers, meanwhile, are quite indifferent to the injuries their workers suffer and will try and dodge their responsibilities.
The current situation brings grave uncertainties to these workers. The government should revise the laws and regulations to meet the needs of rural and migrant workers and strengthen the supervision of enterprises' insurance participation. In addition, a reserve insurance system should be established, in case a worker without cover is injured, to advance funds for medical treatment.
(China Daily 04/27/2012 page9)