Russian Duma employees looking forward to New Year’s bonuses

Today’s Vedomosti.ru reports that the employees of the Russian Parliament („Duma“) stand to receive premiums in the amount of up to 50 average monthly base pays. One of the Duma members stated that the department heads will have the authority to decide on the actual amounts to be awarded to their employees.

According to other sources from the Duma, annual bonuses could be closer to 20 average monthly base pays, which is comparable to last year’s bonuses. As Duma employees receive only base pay in January and February, bonuses should help them get through the beginning of the year. However, some Duma employees already received bonuses at the end of the spring session and at the beginning of December. One of the committee consultants is said to have received a bonus of 234,000 rubles (USD 7,650), and other departments allegedly paid even higher bonuses. One of the Duma members said that after the new assembly, the premiums were paid only to administrative staff, while previously the bonuses were awarded to the Duma members and their assistants as well.

According to the Russian Statistical Bureau, Duma employees received an average monthly salary of 61,000 rubles (USD 1,993) in the period from January to September 2012, while the employees of the Russian Council of Federation (the upper house) earned 70,000 rubles (USD 2,287) per month during the same period. The average monthly salary in the ministerial cabinet (including both the ministers and supporting staff) was 107,000 rubles (USD 3,497). Duma employees’ monthly base pay is lower than in other branches of the government administration and can be as low as 15,000 rubles (USD 490). Quarterly and semiannual bonuses are awarded to balance that inequality. Sources from the Duma state that the New Year’s bonus will be awarded to assistants of the Duma members as well. Assistants receive their paycheck from a special fund; each Duma member is entitled to hire up to five assistants, for which he is awarded a monthly budget of 150,000 rubles (USD 4,902). Members of the Duma are entitled to individually set the salaries for their assistants, whose base pay can be as low as 5,000 rubles per month (USD 163; however, the base pay is usually increased by premiums in accordance with the length of service and extra working hours). If there is any money left in their budget, Duma members can decide to use the money as they please – pay out a bonus to their assistants, use it to help their constituency or keep it to themselves.

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