Fifth Russian Works for Free
20 per cent of Russia's population is
paid a "black" wage which means that 100 per cent of the income
This is the information obtained
after sending notifications about the status of pension accounts to the
population. Eight million people, obviously those who are paid
"black" wages, have received the notifications informing the
pension account status is zero for them. To be paid normal pensions, these
people will have to be at law with their employees. But if these workers
do institute legal proceedings against their employers they may lose not
only their prospective pensions but also the present-day positions.
Last week, the RF Pension Fund finished
printing of 42 million notifications to the citizens of
to inform them of the pension accounts status.
Eight million of the notifications stated the pension account status was
zero. Thus, the official statistics says that every fifth Russian is
working for free. At that, the reported information is not final at all.
Yesterday, RF Labor and Social Development Minister Alexander Pochinok
said that as soon as the information on the status of pension accounts
provided by the Pension Fund is analyzed, the number of people having
actual "zero" pension accounts may even increase. The minister
says these are going to be "huge figures". What is more, the RF
Pension Fund does not have complete information because "many
employers do not register their employees as workers."
The "zero" pension account means
that citizens do not have savings to invest with a view of increasing
prospective pensions at he expense of the savings and the investment. This
situation may have drastically sad consequences for the youth: those who
are to become pensioners in 30 years could have accumulated monthly
pensions at the rate of 40 per cent of their wages if the wages were
Yesterday Alexander Pochinok said that he
hoped that as soon as people realize what they are losing they will have a
stimulus to defend their rights.
According to the RF legislation, employers
must pay at least the minimum wage to workers (last year it made up 450
rubles) and make deductions from the minimum wage for the Pension Fund.
Otherwise it turns out that employers use free labor (which is prohibited
by the law) and informs the Pension Fund about the fact himself. Lawyer
Pavel Astakhov told GAZETA: "This is absolutely impossible according
to the legislation. Employers must declare at least minimum wages of their
employees. So, if 8 million people in
are officially working "for free",
this is flagrant violation of the constitutional rights."
However, lawyers from the Consumer Associations Confederation say that the
information about employers' deductions to the Pension Fund was lost
through the fault of revenue inspections or the Pension Fund itself. But
it is hardly likely that the trouble could have happened to 8 million
people. In any case, it is necessary to appeal to local departments of the
Pension Fund and present the income record over 2002 from all positions
where people have worked legally, the information about the recent
deductions made by employers to the Pension Fund and any other documents
that may help prove the actual amount of income.
This may be a contract or a labor contract concluded between an employer
and an employee, the document where the wage amount is fixed.
At the same time, lawyers
do not expect that lots of employees will appeal to the Pension Fund and
to court to find out the exact amounts of their accumulations on pension
accounts. It is rather risky to institute legal proceedings against
employers as in this case people may lose not only their prospective
pensions but also the present-day wages, even those "black"
ones. Pavel Astakhov comments: "According to the RF Labor Code
institution of legal proceedings against employers cannot be used as the
ground for dismissal. But it is perfectly clear that employers may invent
lots of other reasons to dismiss those who are at law with them."
But the lawyer emphasizes that employees must choose the priority
themselves: whether they prefer adequate pensions or job that cannot
guarantee even the minimum of social guarantees. What is more, unfair
employers will hardly go unpunished if at least one employee manages to go
to court and proves that employer concealed the information about wages
and did not pay the single social tax. If this happens, the court will
oblige the employer to make all necessary payments from the concealed
wages; the fact itself will attract attention of the Fiscal Police to the
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