Are you eligible for social security in Russia? Learn about the Russian social security system and contributions, plus how to get a Russian social security number and claim social welfare in Russia.
The Russia social security system is the responsibility of the state, mainly overseen by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. In some cases, expats who have a temporary or permanent residency are entitled to benefits paid out by social security in Russia, if they have paid the necessary payments into specific government funds.
If you are living in Russia or working in Russia for more than 183 days in a calendar year, you are obliged to pay contributions towards the Russian social security system. The funds you pay entitle you to claim certain Russian social welfare benefits, such as unemployment benefits, basic healthcare in Russia, maternity and child benefits, and a Russian pension, although conditions apply.
This guide explains Russian social security for foreigners:
- Who has to pay Russian social security?
- Russian social security contributions
- Unemployment benefits in Russia
- Maternity benefits in Russia
- Pension benefits in Russia
- Russian healthcare and health insurance
- Retiring in Russia
- Other types of insurance in Russia
- Education and child benefits in Russia
There are two major funds financing the social security system in Russia:
Both funds are supported by obligatory Russian social security payments that are deducted from your gross salary, although some expenses and bonuses can be exempt from the calculation. You can also make additional voluntary contributions if you want to save for your pension in Russia or plan for a better retirement in Russia.
Expats are only liable to pay resident Russian taxes and social charges if they stay in the country at least 183 days during a calendar year. Your employer will typically arrange for your registration with the Russian tax office and secure your social security number. Self-employed workers will need to arrange their tax registration and Russian social security number themselves.
Employers are also responsible for deducting the compulsory amount from employee salaries and paying the state. Failure to do so before the 15th of the following month results in a 20 percent penalty. If employers are found to be avoiding tax contributions on behalf of their employees, they are fined 40 percent of the total amount of earnings.
Employees are not obliged to pay social security contributions in Russia, but rather the burden rests firmly on the employer, including self-employed individuals (such as entrepreneurs, notaries and lawyers) or anyone else employing a third party under an employment contract.
From 2017, the Russian tax authorities – instead of social funds – will be responsible for administering most social security payments. Russian social security contribution rates in 2017 can be broken down into the following categories:
- pension contributions – 22 percent of an employee’s salary, up to a maximum of RUB 876,000, plus 10 percent of any excess salary above this;
- social insurance contributions – 2.9 percent of an employee’s salary, up to a maximum or RUB 755,000, or 1.8 percent for foreigners temporarily staying in Russia;
- medical insurance – 5.1–5.9 percent of salary.
In addition, mandatory accident insurance contributions are paid at rates ranging from 0.2–8.5 percent of an employee’s salary, depending on the level of assessed risk of the employee’s occupation. This is paid separately to the above social security contributions, and still administed by the social funds.
In certain situations Russian social security may be exempt; for example, income earned by foreign employees hired under highly-skilled migrant schemes can be exempt from paying contributions, although accident contributions will still be mandatory. Most foreigners in Russia, however, including EU citizens, will be subject to the same mandatory contributions as Russian nationals.
In order to be entitled to Russian unemployment benefits, you have to be older than 16 years old, able to work, actively seeking suitable work, and don’t have any kind of income or pension in Russia. In Moscow, applications should be made to the Department of Labour and Employment of Moscow, while you need to visit your nearest Federal Labour and Employment Service if you live elsewhere in Russia.
To apply for unemployment benefits in Russia you must have been living in the country for more than 183 days in any 12-month period and supply the following documents:
- labour record card
- the last three-month salary document
- professional qualifications document.
All documents need to be officially certified – signed and stamped – by the institution that issued them. Those who have never been employed only need a passport and certificate of education indicating the level of qualification achieved.
Upon application, you will undergo a re-assessment procedure to help you find suitable jobs in Russia. If it still does not help an individual find a job, then they will be registered as unemployed and entitled to receive Russian unemployment benefits for a maximum of 12 months. If you are still out of work after 12 months, you can reapply for benefits.
Unemployment benefits in Russia are typically paid monthly and calculated on a percentage of past average salaries, which reduces throughout the 12-month period. Monthly payments range from RUB 850–4,900 depending on your savings. Low-income families are also entitled to discounts on medicine.
Under Russian labour law, employees are entitled to more protections that most other EU countries. Maternity leave in Russia is a good example of this, as pregnant women with employment contracts are entitled to 140 days maternity leave – 70 before the due birth date and 70 days post-delivery – and entitled to receive 100 percent of their salary. In the event of complications or giving birth to twins and triplets, the number of days is extended up to a maximum of 194 days.
When considering Russian maternity leave, it needs to be remembered that the total claimed salary payment should not exceed RUB 34,583. Maternity benefits are also granted to couples who adopt a child below the age of 16. Read more on the government website.
If you are on a foreigner contract with different conditions than the Russian Labour Law, you may not be entitled to all the benefits of a Russian national. Although this is uncommon, look out for discrepancies before signing a contract of employment in Russia and check conditions against your entitlements. If you do encounter any issues or for more information, check out the website of the Social Insurance Fund (in Russian). This organisation is responsible for maternity leave and the corresponding benefits in Russia. The Russian pension fund provides information in English.
There are several one-time, maternity benefit payments for pregnant women under the following conditions:
- when you register the pregnancy in the first 12 weeks;
- after giving birth, available for every child born (or adopted) in the same family;
- if you adopt a child or a pregnant spouse of a serving soldier;
- if a child of a soldier was born while the parent was serving, the family gets a special benefit.
Read Expatica’s guide for more information on maternity leave in Russia.
In 2002, Russia approved a reformed pension system that encompasses three types of pensions: state, compulsory occupation pension and non-state pensions. The compulsory pension rewards workers in three categories – old age, disability, and survivor pension. Before you are entitled to receive a Russian pension, you must have contributed to the compulsory Pension Fund of Russian Federation (PFR) for at least eight years.
After two price rises in 2017, the national pension in Russia stands at RUB 13,655 as of April 2017. In previous years, the average pension in Moscow was estimated at around RUB 13,470, and RUB 13,600 for St Petersburg.
People who develop a disability caused by general illness, work injury, occupational disease or military services are entitled to a disability pension. To be entitled to a Disability Labour Pension you must have been in employment.
Survivor pensions are granted to: widows older than 55 (or widowers and parents older than 60) or unemployed and taking care of a child younger than 14 or disabled; children up to 18 years old; sisters and brothers of 18 years old; and grandparents aged 60 and 55 or older or disabled.
Additional pensions are paid by non-state private pension funds. To become a beneficiary you should make an agreement with the fund and make voluntary contributions during your career.
For more information about the types of pensions available in Russia and your entitlement to benefits, read Expatica’s guide to the Russian pension system.
Russia is considered as one of the best countries to retire to. The age of retirement in Russia for men is 60 and 55 for women, although these ages are up for review in 2018. The national average pension in Russia also currently stands at RUB 12,400 while in Moscow the average pension is RUB 13,470 and RUB 13,6000 for St Petersburg.
The Pension Fund of the Russian Federation has nearly 2,500 regional offices in the country. To see what are your options and if you’re entitled to a Russian pension, read Expatica’s guide on retiring to Russia.
Russian authorities make it compulsory to pay health insurance in Russia to the social security system. This entitles everyone to basic medical care covering emergency services, and is free to everyone living in Russia.
The quality of public healthcare in Russia is low compared to other developed countries and lacks English-speaking doctors, although there are many private healthcare centres providing medical services equal to international standards. Learn more about the Russian healthcare system and Russian health insurance with Expatica’s useful guides.
Foreigners visiting Russia or staying for the short term need to have private travel insurance before entering the country. If you plan to stay for the long-term and apply for a temporary or permanent visa, foreign residents are legally required to purchase healthcare insurance. Without it you will not be awarded a Russian visa. Expats can then benefit from the same public healthcare access as local citizens.
Besides mandatory health insurance, there are other types of insurance in Russia that expats should be aware of. For example, business insurance is fundamental if you are a business owner. Policies cover you for vehicles, personnel, public liability together with building and content insurance.
If you plan to drive in Russia, you are required by law to take out car insurance. It is also advisable to have personal insurance to cover you for injury to yourself and others. You should also consider home insurance that covers fire, water damage, theft and vandalism, whether renting in Moscow or buying Russian property. In some cases, it may be a condition for getting a Russian mortgage.
There are several education benefits in Russia worth looking at. For instance, Russia is among a few countries that offer free tuition for foreign nationals. Each year, the government awards several thousands of Russian scholarships to international students seeking to study in Russia.
After the birth of a child, Russian child benefits are paid out in certain circumstances, for example, for low-income families, children born while a parent was serving as a soldier or parents on maternity or child-rearing leave (although parents who return to work can receive a higher amount of up to 40 percent of an average salary).
Low-earning families may be entitled to other benefits under certain conditions. The amount of the award will be based on your salary statements for the previous three months. Together with people on disability benefits, you are entitled to certain legal and medical benefits.
Russian social security authorities (Moscow and St Petersburg)
- Ministry of Labour and Social Protection
- Pensions Fund of the Russian Federation
- Department of Labour and Employment in Moscow
- Department of Labour and Employment in St. Petersburg
- Social Welfare Office in Moscow
- Social Welfare Office in St. Petersburg
- Mandatory Health Insurance Fund of Moscow
- Territorial Mandatory Health Insurance Fund of St. Petersburg
Click to the top of our guide to social security in Russia.