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Putin vows to instruct prosecutor's office to deal with wage arrears

According to Putin, the volume of arrears in wages in Russia exceeds $52 mln

MOSCOW, October 25. /TASS/. President Vladimir Putin said he would instruct the law enforcement agencies to deal with wage arrears in Russia.

Speaking at a meeting with members of the cabinet the head of state drew attention to the fact that in agriculture the debt level is 6%, and in the extractive industries it is 12%.

"Do they have less money there than in agriculture? Of course, they don’t. This is an indication to lack of discipline, indifference to people," the President said.

Putin concluded that it is necessary to strengthen the regulatory framework in this area and, in general, pay more attention to this problem.

"I'll give the relevant instructions to the prosecutor's office, to the Investigative Committee," the President said addressing to Labor Minister Maxim Topilin.

According to the head of state, the volume of arrears in wages in Russia exceeds 3 billion rubles ($52 mln).

"60 000 people in the country do not receive wages on time, debts are over 3 billion, almost 3.5 [billion rubles]," Putin said.

Total amount of debt

Topilin specified that the total amount of wage arrears in Russia is 3 billion 387 million rubles. According to him, the peak of the debt level this year was registered in May - about 3.8 billion rubles. Last year, the figure was about one billion rubles more. Thus, the minister concluded, the debt is decreasing, but the problem is still relevant.

According to the Labor Minister, the lowest level of wage arrears was in 2013 - 1.5 billion rubles. He added that it is quite feasible to reduce the current amount of debt.

Most cases of wage arrears are related to the activities of companies, budget organizations have wage arrears only in exceptional cases, the minister said.

He told the president about the measures which are being taken to solve the problem. They include supervision and amendments to the legislation, in particular, higher fines for nonpayment of wages on time. In particular, amendments imply that when debts are written off from companies, wage arrears to their employees will be repaid on a priority basis.

Topilin also said that since the beginning of the year data about 1,200 cases of wage arrears has been transferred to law enforcement agencies.