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Russia: Receipt of Sick Leave Benefits Will Depend on Healthy Life Style

(June 1, 2015) On May 27, 2015, it was reported that Russian legislators had discussed the possibility of providing sick leave benefits only for those Russians who maintain healthy lifestyles and participate in government-sponsored health maintenance programs. The Vice Chairman of the Health Care Committee of the State Duma (the lower house of the national legislature), Sergei Dorofeev, stated that different options are under the legislators’ consideration. Proposals include payment of sick leave allowance only to those who are enrolled in government-funded programs aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle and the granting of additional sick leave benefits to such individuals. (Russians with Unhealthy Lifestyle Won’t Get State Support, MEDDAILY.RU (May 27, 2015) (in Russian).)

Other legislative proposals under consideration call for making employer funds spent on employees’ preventive care tax deductible if such care is prescribed by a physician (id.) and amending the Labor Code of Russia to obligate employers to reimburse 50% of the cost of fitness club memberships to employees who work more than three years for the same organization. (Bill No. 796390-6 on Amending the Labor Code of the Russian Federation and Promoting Sport Activities of Russian Citizens (registered May 19, 2015), Russian State Duma website (in Russian).)

At present all Russian employees are entitled to sick leave for the duration of an illness, with compensation of between 60% and 100% of their average earnings, depending on their length of employment. This benefit is paid by employers and the State Social Insurance Fund, which is mainly supported through the national budget and dedicated tax allocations. (Federal Law No. 255 on Obligatory Social Insurance in the Event of Temporary Disability and in Connection with Maternity, SOBRANIE ZAKONODATELSTVA ROSSIISKI FEDERATSII (official gazette), 2007, No. 1, Item 18.)

The Chairman of the Duma’s Health Care Committee expressed his support for the idea of amending legislation to make sure that payments to the State Social Insurance Fund will vary, depending on the health condition of the insured person. (Irina Reznik, Health Insurance Policy, MEDIMEDIA (May 28, 2015) (in Russian).)

As yet, no national health maintenance or preventive care program has been adopted.