BEIJING, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The government in the southern city of
Shenzhen, one of China's major special economic zones, has lowered the income
benchmarks for the first time since 1999 to soften the impact of the financial
crisis on local companies, China Daily reported Thursday.
The municipal labor authority issues the income benchmarks annually to
serve as a reference for 566 types of jobs in the city.
The highest-level and medium-level benchmarks stand at 23,700 yuan (3,470
U.S. dollars) and 2,460 yuan per month, respectively, decreasing by 8.5 percent
and 3.9 percent each from last year.
However, the low-level income benchmark gained a 7 percent year-on-year
rise this year to 1,102 yuan per month, which labor officials said should be
attributed to the government's measures to protect low-income laborers.
"Our payment adjustment policy is to control the high-income group, expand
the medium-income group and protect the low-income group. It's a way to narrow
down the income gaps," Wu Liyong, director of the income division of Shenzhen
Labor and Social Securities Department, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Workers are encouraged to use the benchmark when negotiating their wage
Last year, the official surveys showed that the lowest-level salaries on
average were 25 times less than the highest salaries. This year, surveys showed
that gap has narrowed to 21.5.
The authority also recorded the biggest income gap in the financial
industry, including security houses, insurance companies and banks, where the
highest-paid person could be earning 80 times what the lowest-paid person earns.