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Dec. 11, 2006
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Minimum Wage to Raise in Russia Next Year
The State Duma voted on Friday to raise the minimum wage in Russia from 1100 rubles per month to 2000 rubles on September 1, 2008. The authors of the law, members of the United Russia Party, say that the minimum wage may be raised to the minimum subsistence level in 2008. Observers are not optimistic about that possibility, however. They say that employers will raise official salaries to the required minimum, but not increase the portion of salaries paid under the table, and the minimum-wage level will have no effect.
Chairman of the Duma Committee on Labor and Social Policy Andrey Isaev told the Duma on Friday that, according to official Rosstat data, about 10 percent of workers, or 6.6 million people had incomes under 2000 rubles in the fall of this year. The new minimum wage will be almost half of the subsistence level.

The government had prepared a bill to raise the minimum wage to 1400 rubles on September 1, 2007. The opposition Rodina Party proposed gradual increases to bring the minimum wage to 3200 rubles, 74 percent of subsistence level, by January 1, 2008. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov expressed the government's opposition to Rodina's measure, saying that it would increase the deficit and have an un predictable effect on inflations. Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin said that the government would support the United Russia proposal and that the necessary funds for it could be found in the budget. Rodina legislature Ivan Kharchenko accused the government of lobbying for the interests of United Russia.

United Russia responded that the higher official wages will allow a 26-percent increase in single social tax collection and a 13-percent increase in income tax collection, 4.4 billion rubes for the federal budget and 2.2 billion rubles for the budgets of the regions. Independent analysts point out that people who make that level of wage work mainly in sales and agriculture and earn most of their income in cash, untaxed. Dina Krylov of the Enterprise Expertise Center of the Opora Rossii small business organization predicted that the measure would have no effect on real wages or on general economic indicators.

All the Article in Russian as of Dec. 11, 2006

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