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Russia – Staffing legislations are needed, says leading recruiter

19 September 2012

One of Russia’s largest recruitment firms has called for the introduction of legislation covering the staffing market in the country, following ongoing violations seen in industry and calls to ban this kind of labour altogether.

The Russian staffing market is characterised by credible recruiters but also by a sizeable ‘black market’ made up of small operators prepared to pay temporary workers in cash to duck taxes and social charges.

Coleman Services, the fifth largest recruitment agency in Russia, wrote in the Moscow Times today that legislations are urgently needed to combat fraudsters and encourage labour market flexibility.

“Despite the wide use and quick development of secondment and a lot of attempts by major international staffing agencies to legalize agency labor, Russia still does not have any legislation in this area,” said Chairman of the staffing company, Olga Bantsekina.

Secondment in Russia includes agency work, personnel leasing, outstaffing, as well as temporary and seasonal staffing.Today, 0.1% of the economically active population work legally through agencies.

But trade union leaders last year tried to put forward a draft law on banning secondment and agency labour in Russia, something the government will discuss further this autumn.

Ms Bantsekina criticised that prohibition is not the way forward and argued for amendments in the labour code, also to protect workers from fraudsters.

“Due to the absence of legislation in the field of outstaffing and secondment (the only reference to secondment we can find in three articles of the Russian Tax Code), there are huge numbers of violations of law from dishonest agencies and companies, which are discrediting these services and ruining the image of reliable service providers as well,” she said.

“All this illegitimacy needs to be put into legal framework in order to protect both employees and the government from the breaches of law. From our point of view, it should not be done via prohibition of a huge part of the Russian HR services market. It seems much more reasonable to establish certain rules and borders in the frames of the Labor Code, which should take proper care of the whole market.”

She said that introducing agencies' accreditation or licensing, and the adoption of new articles to the labour law regarding the flexible workforce would signal a major step in the right direction. However, if a ban on using secondment agreements should be implemented, this would bring “huge damage” to the industry and the Russian economy, she warned. 

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