“We were threatened with lawyers”: unemployed Russians told about the horrors of dismissal
VietReader 16-01-2021, 11:35

In the coronavirus crisis, all Russians were united by one fear: to lose their jobs. When the entire economy is paralyzed, even the most reliable employer can be crippled. People are massively deprived of their salaries in various, not always legal ways. However, the authorities do not want to notice the catastrophe: according to state statistics, unemployment is normal. We have collected real stories of Russians who have lost their jobs and left without a livelihood.

Officials’ reports on the state of the labor market are surprisingly upbeat. The head of the Ministry of Labor Anton Kotyakov reported to the President that there are fewer unemployed now than last spring. His data is the number of people registered with employment services. So there are 44 thousand more of them, and not in March-April, but since the beginning of the year. Sheer nonsense, in a word. “Now there are 735 thousand unemployed registered in the Russian Federation. A year earlier, at the same time, 813 thousand people were registered in employment centers, ”the minister reported.

The Central Bank was also concerned about the number of unemployed. In a study conducted by his order, “InFOM” noted: “The share of those who lost their jobs in March is still small, 2%.” This figure sounds like a mockery. Sociologists interviewed Russians by telephone: is it worth talking about the objectivity of this method. Meanwhile, the sad news about layoffs, going on vacation at their own expense, the introduction of downtime at enterprises with a cut in wages is shared almost daily by relatives, friends, acquaintances of acquaintances. There is no doubt that Russians are afraid of being left without work and livelihoods, and many have already experienced this horror.

“We were threatened with lawyers”

Victor (name has been changed) worked in the IT department of a hotel holding in Moscow. The holding includes seven luxury hotels in the city center. In short, the organization is solid. But this did not save our interlocutor and his colleagues from being fired.

Here is what Victor said: “With the beginning of the quarantine, we went on forced leave. In mid-April, the IT director called me and offered three options for further labor relations with the employer.

The first is to take another three months off. The second is the introduction of downtime when you receive two-thirds of your salary. The third is reduction by agreement of the parties.

I was in no hurry to answer. All three options did not suit me. Later he called again and started pressing. I contacted the HR department, tried to negotiate through them. We parted company on the fact that I was paid vacation pay, my salary for April and one more salary. I will live on this money for now.

I know that some employees wrote a vacation application at their own expense. They were forced. Someone asked for more than one salary. But they were threatened with lawyers. They gave something – it’s already good. I heard that the owner of the holding does not want to finance hotels. It seems that the state bank will buy them out. “

Dismissals during the weekend announced by the president are illegal, explains Tatiana Putilina, a lawyer at Borodin & Partners law firm.

“In the period before April 30, and now until May 11, employers have no right to fire an employee if he is on sick leave or on vacation. Even in the absence of profit from the company during the pandemic.

The Labor Code provides several options for dismissal that are available to employers during the weekend. Companies can ask an employee to write a letter of resignation “of his own free will” (Article 80 of the Labor Code). In this case, you should refuse, enter into negotiations. If dismissal is inevitable, insist on dismissal through “reduction” (clause 2 of article 81 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation) or “by agreement of the parties” (article 78 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation). In these cases, you should be paid severance pay, ”the lawyer advises.

But what about those who are openly threatened or pressured by employers to force them to make a decision not in favor of the employee? For example, an offer to write a vacation application at their own expense is considered a violation of labor rights, as Viktor’s colleagues were forced to do. Lawyers in such cases recommend contacting the labor inspectorate.

As it turned out, this is not difficult: you can complain about the employer online. The portal “Online Inspection.rf” has a special service “Coronavirus: hotline”, where you can leave a statement on violation of labor rights, get online consultation.

“Apply via digital channels to the labor inspectorate, the Federal Tax Service, the prosecutor’s office, and also to the court with a claim to declare the dismissal illegal (no later than a month after the dismissal). Inspectors initiate a check on the fact of the appeal, identify violations, issue an order to eliminate them, and can also impose an administrative fine on the violating company. If the court finds the termination of the employment contract illegal, the employee will be reinstated at work, and the employer will have to pay the average earnings for the entire period of the forced absence, compensation for moral harm and reimbursement of legal costs, ”explained Tatyana Putilina.

“The leader conveyed regret and fired”

Alesya worked at a Moscow advertising agency. Since the end of March, the authorities have dismissed 48 people, the girl was among them.

She shared her story: “Our company has halved the number of existing clients, revenues dropped three times, and reductions began.

The manager conveyed regret and simply fired me. True, they paid three salaries. It’s still good! Acquaintances in other offices were not offered this. I started looking for a job, but there are no offers, despite my seven years of work experience. So far I live on paid salaries, but I need to pay rent and pay off loans.

I know there are unemployment benefits. But I’ve heard too many stories about the fact that it is almost impossible to arrange them. I decided not to even try. “

But the state has offered “tempting” conditions for unemployment benefits. According to the government’s decision, Russians dismissed after March 1 can apply for a maximum allowance of 12,130 rubles, which is the minimum wage. True, this allowance will be paid only for April and May. To obtain, you need to register with the state employment service. The applicant immediately kills two birds with one stone: he applies for benefits and leaves his resume at the labor exchange, that is, he will be looking for a job. Benefits must be awarded within 11 days.

You can go through the procedure online using a simplified scheme on the Work in Russia portal. In the application form, they will be required to indicate personal data, information about the company and the number of the order of dismissal. You do not need to attach scans of your employment record, you do not need a certificate of income – the employment service itself will request information from the FIU. You can also contact the employment center, where additional documents can be requested.

Ivan from Nizhny Novgorod tried to issue an anti-crisis unemployment benefit in the size of the minimum wage, but was refused. “I got a job in early February 2020. In early April, I was asked to resign of my own free will due to the pandemic. That is, I worked at this place for two months.

The employment center refused to pay 12 130 rubles, arguing that I had not worked long enough. They did not explain anything in detail. It looks like the state has deceived again. They promised maximum benefits to all those dismissed during the crisis, but in reality they give nothing. “

As it turned out, not everyone is really entitled to anti-crisis benefits. On the portal “Work in Russia” everything is detailed. In particular, those who have worked less than 26 weeks in the year preceding registration with the employment service cannot qualify for the maximum allowance. Our hero Ivan was among them.

Also, individual entrepreneurs and self-employed people “fly by”. These statuses, in principle, do not allow them to qualify for unemployment benefits. To receive them, you need to close the individual entrepreneur and deregister the professional income tax payer. But even in this case, the minimum unemployment benefit will be assigned – 1,500 rubles. The regional coefficient can be added to the payment. Conditions in all regions are different, you need to contact the employment center.

Natalya from the Tula region had to close the sole proprietor at the end of March: there were no buyers, there was nothing to pay for the rent: “I went to the employment center for an allowance. As it turned out, I was entitled to a minimum allowance of 1,500 rubles. I have been an individual entrepreneur for more than 20 years, I paid taxes, but I have no right to social benefits. IE is the most unprotected type of activity! It’s a shame very much. “

It’s a shame, but everything is according to the law. The portal clearly states: “The minimum allowance will be assigned if you have not worked for a long time, are looking for a job for the first time, have stopped self-employment (like our heroine Natalia – I. D.), fired for violation of labor discipline or other culpable actions” …

Networking against coronavirus

It seems that the true figures about how many Russians lost their jobs during the crisis, we will not learn from the state. But one thing is clear: the army of the unemployed is growing, although the authorities prefer not to notice it. When the economy starts to recover, millions of people will have to look for new jobs or start their own businesses.

Networking expert Alexei Babushkin believes that the old rule will help here: “Don’t have a hundred rubles, but have a hundred friends”. According to the analytical center NAFI, 54% of Russians look for work through acquaintances. “In a crisis, this value may grow even more. In difficult times, people tend to seek help and support from people close to them, whom they know and trust, ”he added.

The expert gave five tips on how to quickly find a quarantined job.

Strengthen your business relationship. Call old acquaintances, classmates, fellow students. Maintain relationships with former colleagues and superiors.

Look for new acquaintances online. Add to business communities on social networks, participate in online trainings, use video conferencing. Each contact you make is a potential chance to find a new job or join an interesting project.

Communicate widely and publicly about your dismissal. Down with pride! Post on social media pages that you are out of work and are ready to consider new offers. At the same time, it is better not to scold the former employer.

Update your resume. Send it to the addresses of the companies where you want to work and post it on recruiting sites.

Keep improving. The Chinese word for “crisis” is indicated by the characters for “danger” and “opportunity.” There are a lot of opportunities in quarantine: at least study English, at least knit, at least study carpentry.