(Nov. 9, 2018) On September 25, 2018, the State Duma of the Russian Federation (the Russian legislature) in its third and final reading adopted a bill criminalizing groundlessly terminating or refusing to hire persons of preretirement age. The bill is incorporated into the current Criminal Code of the Russian Federation as article 114, “Groundless Denial of Hiring and Firing of Persons of Preretirement Age.” (Federaljnij Zakon Rossijskoj Federatsii N 352-FZ O Vnesenii Izmeneniya v Ugolovnij Kodeks Rossiskoj Federatsii [Federal Law of the Russian Federation No. 352-FZ on Amending the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation], Oct. 3, 2018, official version on ConsultantPlus website; UGOLOVNIJ KODEKS ROSSISJSKOI FEDERATSII [CRIMINAL CODE OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION] art. 114, as amended through Oct. 23, 2018, ConsultantPlus website.)
Current legislation defines the preretirement age as five years before the statutory retirement age (60 for women and 65 for men).
Persons convicted of the offense (e.g., the head of an organization) are punishable by fines of up to 200,000 rubles (RUB) (about US$3,000) or a sum equal to their salary or other income for a period of up to 18 months. They may also be required to perform compulsory work for up to 360 hours.
The current legislation is part of a controversial pension reform enacted by the government. (Federaljnij Zakon ot 03.10.2018 No.350-FZ o Vnesenii Izmenenij v Otdeljnie Zakonodateljnie Akti Rossiskoj Federatsii po Voprosam Naznachenia i Viplati Pensiij [Federal Law No. 350 of 10-03-2018 on Amending Selected Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Concerning Assigning and Paying Pensions], Pravo official legal information website.) The purpose of the act is to provide labor security safeguards for persons of preretirement age and protect employees from age-based discrimination. Additionally, President Putin proposed doubling the amount of unemployment insurance for persons of preretirement age beginning in 2019. (Gosduma Prinjala v Tretjem Chtenii Putinskij Zakonoproekt ob Ugolovnom Presledovanii za Uvoljnenie “Predpensionerov” [State Duma Adopts Putin’s Bill on Criminal Liability for Firing of Persons of Preretirement Age in Third Reading], NEWSRU (Sept. 25, 2018).)
The legislation was met with criticism from the unions and representatives of the business community, who claim that it introduces additional roadblocks and limits their freedoms. However, the government maintains that the legislation will deter employers from discriminating against employees and potential new hires of preretirement age.
Critics are also of the opinion that this legislation could have a discriminatory effect on the hiring and firing of people who are close to the cut-off date for preretirement age. This would allow the employers to technically comply with the requirements of the legislation while still engaging in discrimination.