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Residents of Novosibirsk at the local employment office. April 22, 2020.

More than 1.9 million Russians are officially unemployed — here’s how the government plans to help them

Source: Meduza
Residents of Novosibirsk at the local employment office. April 22, 2020.
Residents of Novosibirsk at the local employment office. April 22, 2020.
Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Scanpix / LETA

President Vladimir Putin has announced new support measures for Russians who lost their jobs during the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. During a video conference on the current state of the Russian labor market on May 27, he supported the relevant proposals put forward by Labor Minister Anton Kotyakov.

The official number of registered unemployed workers in Russia has surpassed 1.9 million people, Kotyakov reported. Most of them are living in Moscow, the Moscow region, and Krasnodar Krai (one of Russia’s most populous regions, located in the North Caucasus). The employment situation is also deteriorating in the Tuva republic (southern Siberia), as well as in Chechnya and Ingushetia (North Caucasus): the share of registered unemployed people in these regions has reached 9–11 percent of the working population. In April, the actual number of unemployed workers in Russia was an estimated 4.3 million, according to the methodology of the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO).

The Russian government’s plan to support these millions unemployed workers is as follows:

  • Increasing the minimum monthly unemployment benefit from 1,500 rubles to 4,500 rubles (upping it from approximately $21 to $64) beginning on May 1, and continuing these payments until August 1, 2020.
  • Extending unemployment benefit payments for citizens who lost their right to benefits after March 1, for three months. This measure will remain in effect until October 1, 2020.
  • Extending child benefit payments of 3,000 rubles ($42.50) for parents who lost their jobs before March 1. This benefit will be paid for each minor child within the family.
  • Establishing a maximum unemployment benefit of 12,130 rubles (approximately $172) for individual entrepreneurs, who stopped working after March 1. These payments will begin within a three month period. 

More than 35 billion rubles (approximately $495 million) will be allocated to fund these support measures, reported Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. This includes $9.5 billion (nearly $135 million) allocated for extending benefit payments to those who lost this right. This costs about as much as tripling the minimum monthly unemployment benefit, which would raise it to 4,500 rubles (about $64). This also includes 17 billion rubles (more than $241 million) set aside for payments to individual entrepreneurs who have stopped working. The cost of additional benefits for children have yet to be calculated, the Finance Ministry representative told Vedomosti

Text by Alexander Baklanov

Translation by Eilish Hart

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