“We need to bring the figure to at least 30-35 thousand rubles”
The state seeks to establish a minimum wage 1.3 times higher than the subsistence level of an able-bodied citizen by 2030, said the head of the Ministry of Labor Anton Kotyakov. According to him, one of these steps is the planned increase in the size of the “minimum wage” by 18.5%, to 19,242 rubles next year. But experts have a question: why do the authorities intend to move towards the goal at such a slow pace?
For the first time, the minimum wage equaled the subsistence level (ML) only in 2022. Its current figure is 16,242 rubles, and the minimum wage is 18,832 (for the working population). Over the past ten years, the minimum wage has more than tripled – from 5,205 rubles in 2013, but in real terms it remains a value with extremely low purchasing power.
Let us remember that the minimum wage is the cornerstone of the national social security system. Employers need it to calculate a number of payments to employees – salaries, vacation and travel pay, sick leave (the amount for a full calendar month cannot be lower than the minimum wage). Additional payments to pensions, benefits and monthly payments for children depend on it. Accordingly, an increase in the minimum wage automatically leads to an increase in benefits for low-income and socially vulnerable categories of the population.
According to estimates from the Federal Tax Service, about six million Russians employed in the economy officially receive wages below the minimum wage established by law. Moreover, their real incomes are still in the “gray” zone. These are mainly those who work part-time. They may have several jobs, but they are taken into account only at the enterprise where they are included in the payroll. The current status quo reduces the volume of the tax base for calculating the amount of personal income tax, as well as the amount of contributions to the social fund. And it allows unscrupulous employers to reduce the amount of payments that are calculated from the official salary specified in the employment contract.
Although the minimum wage is valid throughout Russia, regions also have the right to set its value, taking into account local coefficients and allowances. But at the same time – not lower than the federal indicator.
“Why should the minimum wage be increased? Only 10-12% of our working-age population officially works for the “minimum wage,” says Alexei Zubets, a professor at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation. – On the other hand, approximately the same number of people, if not more, receive salaries “in an envelope.” And there is every reason to believe that minimum wage recipients are the same ones who work for “gray” money. 20 thousand rubles a month can attract few people; people are looking for a source of permanent income of at least 40 thousand. And if the minimum wage is increased to 30-35 thousand, then all the gray salaries will automatically come to the surface, and budget revenues will increase, since the tax base will increase. Why the government is going to increase the minimum wage at such a slow pace until 2030 is not very clear to me; we need to act faster. The costs of this measure will clearly be covered by the high volumes of income tax collected.”