Business Ombudsman Says State Should Pay Minimum Wages for Employees on Leave

Russia’s business ombudsman Boris Titov believes businesses are to be allowed to put employees on indefinite leaves to be paid monthly statutory minimum wages by the state in order to save jobs, SM News reports.

In a letter to President Vladimir Putin, the ombudsman has formulated this initiative and a number of other measures aimed at changing the regulation of the economy in the time of the crisis. The measures proposed are elaborated as a result of a massive survey of businesses across the country’s regions, Titov said.

Among them is a significant extension of the list of enterprises affected by the coronavirus crisis in need of support beyond the range set forth by the governmental commission on higher sustainability of the economy, which businesses believe to be too narrow.

In particular, it is proposed to put on the list retailers and wholesalers trading in non-food products, automobile passenger transportation organizations, public utilities, private dentists, automobile maintenance centers, and firms engaged in repairs of electronic goods.

The letter also contains proposals as broadening of practices to make advance payments under state procurement contracts with small and midsized businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs, as well as to lower requirements to be met by such economic agents when making state contracts. Those failing to meet their obligations under state procurement contracts because of the pandemic are not to be held responsible, the document reads.

Titov believes that the range of enterprises allowed to operate in the current situation is to be clarified at the governmental level since businesses still encounter problems in this respect.

The ombudsman’s press service says that Titov’s office has launched weekly monitoring of the situation at the regional level and timely collection of proposals put forward by businesses with regard to the current situation.

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