Labor ministry working on ‘parasitism tax’ in Russia - official

© Aleksandr Kondratuk
The Russian deputy labor minister has said that to fight the black and grey market economy his agency was mulling a separate tax on people of working age, who neither have a job nor register with the authorities as unemployed.

Andrei Pudov was speaking at the international conference on social insurance on Thursday and said that Russian authorities were interested in the results of a similar measure taken recently in Belarus. “Our colleagues from Belarus could share their experience, they got serious innovations taking place in their country after they introduced the so-called tax on people of working age who do not take part in any work and do not make any insurance payments. This was a significant step. We are only discussing it now and they have already made the decision,” he said.

The deputy minister noted that he saw the legalization of the Russian labor market as a priority task, adding that his ministry has already achieved certain success in this field, mostly through administrative leverage.

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In early 2015, Belarus introduced a law 'On Preventing Social Parasitism', which penalizes people with an annual fee of about $240 if they live in the republic and use its infrastructure and social services yet fail to pay any taxes for over six months.

About a year ago, lawmakers in Russia’s second-largest city St. Petersburg proposed to punish people, who refuse to work even when acceptable jobs are available, with up to one year of forced community service. The bill passed by the St. Pete legislature described this offense as “parasitism” – the same word used in Soviet laws that punished such behavior with up to two years in a penal colony. The sponsors of the motion declared that they were targeting people working without legal employment contracts and thus evading taxes.

READ MORE: St. Pete MPs propose ‘anti-parasite’ constitution changes

According to a report by Russian Deputy PM Olga Golodets, 48 million Russian citizens are officially employed, 20 million work unofficially and 18 million people do not work at all.