08.04.20
Declaration of the Executive Committee of the Confederation of Labour of Russia

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Declaration
The Executive Committee of the Confederation of Labour of Russia

On necessary measures to protect social and labor rights in the Russian Federation in extreme economic conditions of the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the lives of tens of millions of Russian citizens. The life and health of people is a priority that is why the authorities justifiably take quarantine and other restrictive measures.  In the absence of effective medicine and due to insufficient capacity of the health system under conditions of the current epidemic, this is the only way to stop the spread of the disease.

But the quarantine, the termination of trade, the closure of public eating places and places for recreation activities, and freezing of construction means that millions of people are left without earnings and even without the financial ability to buy food. During the first week of the quarantine the employers could be requested to pay for the enforced non-working days, but if the employers are forced to pay further, this would lead to the ruin of enterprises and to massive lay-offs. The vulnerability of workers is an additional factor in the spread of the epidemic, especially if they are migrant workers.

The Confederation of Labor of Russia - an association of independent trade unions of the country - invites public authorities to make the following decisions:

(1) To reimburse employees who have been quarantined or restricted in the form of a self-isolation regime, for the period of non-working days from the Social Insurance Fund of the Russian Federation, since in fact we are talking about leave due to disease spreading across the country, namely about disability certificates;
(2) for workers employed without an employment contract, to introduce a full unemployment benefit at the minimum wage level or basic income or to provide the necessary set of food products and at the same time to exempt from the housing and communal services, which means to provide a minimum living standard by cash or products for the period of quarantine or restriction in form of mandatory self-isolation;
(3) To exempt completely small businesses from taxes, that have closed down due to quarantine and other restrictive epidemiological measures, because this measure could reduce the risk of job losses;
(4) To ensure legislatively that an employee, via individual application, can switch to remote work mode, if the working function performed by the employee, allows to do so or to work on part-time.

These measures regarding workers should also apply to the citizens of the Eurasian Economic Union who work in Russia.

In our opinion, all the measures should aim both to prevent the spread of the epidemic, and to slow down the rate of economic decline and to prevent the deterioration of the socio-economic situation of working Russian citizens.

The Confederation of Labor of Russia has put forward the above-mentioned initiatives to the Parliament and the Government via the Vice-President of the Confederation, member of the State Duma (lower house)  Mr. Oleg Shein and urges to support them.

Moscow, 31 March 2020

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