A guide to minimum wage in Russia

A guide to minimum wage in Russia

Home Working in Russia Employment Law A guide to minimum wage in Russia
Last update on December 11, 2018

Minimum wages in Russia vary significantly between Russian cities, although the government also sets a federal Russian minimum wage. What wages in Russia can you expect as an expat?

While the minimum wage in Russia set by the federal government has grown significantly in the last couple of years, it still remains well below minimum wage levels across Europe. If you’re looking at jobs in Russia, however, you will find many high-level positions advertised with wages in Russia that are significantly higher than the minimum wage.

From 1 May 2018, the Russian minimum wage will rise to ₽11,163 per month, from ₽9,489. This increase might sound significant, especially given the minimum wage was only ₽7,500 in 2017 – but it still actually only equates to around €150 each month.

The low Russia minimum wage reflects an economy that shrank between 2014–17 with wages in Russia dropping by more than 9% in 2015 alone. While the Russian government said the economy grew by between 1.4 and 1.8% in 2017, concerns remain about GDP growth in a country where some 14% of people live in poverty, according to official state statistics and the World Bank.

There is some consolation for workers in Russia living in the biggest cities, however, as local governments can set their own minimum wages. As such, Russian minimum wage levels in cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg are considerably higher than many other regions.

Russia minimum wage

Russian minimum wage 2018

The minimum wage in Russia is reviewed every six months, and there have been significant increases on each of the last three reviews.

The latest increase, which raises levels to ₽11,163 in May 2018, represents an increase of nearly ₽2,000 a month – with the Russian government claiming that lower income earners will make 43% more than they earned last year.

A report in the Moscow times in spring 2018 suggests that while there are good news stories coming from the government about the country climbing out of recession, real wages in Russia have actually decreased for four straight years.

Minimum wage in Russia per hour

With an average 40-hour work week, a minimum wage in Russia per hour can be estimated at around ₽64.40 (around $1.04 or €0.85 per hour).

Minimum wage in different Russian regions

While there is officially a federal Russian minimum wage, the levels vary significantly across the country due to local government agreements. Major cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg and regions with significant natural resources receive the highest wages in Russia, while the lowest average wages are typically paid in regions such as North Caucasus and South Siberia.

Minimum wage in St Petersburg

From January 2018, the minimum wage in St Petersburg increased to ₽17,000 (approximately €250), from the previous rate of ₽16,000.

Any employers in St Petersburg (excluding those financed by the government) must pay the minimum wage unless they have an agreement with the trade unions.

Minimum wage in Moscow

The minimum wage in Moscow is currently ₽17,561 per month (€278 per month). The mayor announced the current minimum wage in September 2016, and the wage represented the first increase since November 2015.

The minimum wage in Moscow is based on local government calculations on the cost of living, which it claims is ₽17,561 a month for able-bodied adults, ₽10,833 for pensioners and ₽13,259 for children.

Conditions for wages in Russia

Although minimum wages in Russia are considerably lower than Europe, workers have certain rights to generous holidays and overtime wages in Russia.

Employees who work weekends are usually given an additional day off, or on some occasions are instead entitled to a double-time wage for the day. In terms of working overtime, the first two hours of an overtime shift should be paid at time-and-a-half, and any hours thereafter should be paid at double time.

According to the Russian Federation’s Labour Code, the full-time working week shouldn’t exceed 40 hours. Some groups of workers (such as students, disabled people and single parents) are allowed to take on part-time or temporary jobs, and in some cases have their salaries supplemented from the state’s Social Insurance Fund.

In addition to paid Russian public holidays (including the 10 days between New Year and Orthodox Christmas), Russian employees who work full-time are allowed 28 days of paid holiday each year, as long as they have been in their roles for six months. While employees can generally choose how many days to take off if they request in advance, a single 14-day period off work each year is mandatory.

Read Expatica’s guides on finding jobs in Russia, Russian business culture and how to get a Russian work permit.

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