In Russia, employee benefits account for 35% of total national income, and corporate voluntary (personal) medical insurance is the most desirable benefit. This is mainly because the state-provided medical care is not deemed sufficient and corporate insurance gives employees access to commercial medical clinics. When asked to rank four common benefits in order of importance, the average Russian employee will respond with medical insurance, death & disability, travel insurance, and retirement.
For a group of 25 people an average of 50,000 rubles is fair and it would include a standard employee benefits program.
Mandatory employee benefits in Russia include health, accident, and pension insurance as well as statutory leaves and additional days off. Supplementary employee benefits in Russia include voluntary medical, life, and accident insurance as well as retirement. Common employee perks offered in Russia include housing, educational support, meal vouchers, and mobile phones.
Mandatory Employee Benefits in Russia
There are five key benefits that are required:
- Compulsory Health Insurance (CHI) is financed by social taxes. All citizens of Russia are covered by CHI.
- Mandatory Accident Insurance covers accidents happening at work (during working hours).
- Statutory Pension Insurance is funded through employers’ contributions to the State Pension Fund (I Pillar).
- Statutory leaves and allowances (annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, parental leave, childbirth allowance, monthly allowance for a child under 1.5 years old).
- Additional days off are mandatory and, according to the labor law, employees are granted additional days off due to work on weekends or public holidays, or this work must be paid twice.
Group employee benefits in Russia generally include medical insurance, group life, accidental death & disability, injury, critical illness, and pensions.
Group Voluntary Medical Insurance (VMI)
There is a wide range of State hospitals and clinics throughout Russia that can be visited under the State Health System. Sometimes State medical facilities are insufficient to meet the demands of the population (particularly in rural areas). Voluntary Medical Insurance (VMI) based on commercial clinics is a key component for multinational and local employers to offer as part of their employee benefits in Russia.
Today VMI ranks in the top three products for insurance lines in Russia. It duplicates and complements CHI and allows employees to access higher quality and well-equipped clinics of choice. However, even VMI does not usually cover some serious illnesses such as cancer, transplantations, or some types of cardiac surgery.
100% of a company’s employees are usually covered under a VMI plan. Benefits often vary by seniority in the organization. Medical plans for executives are usually different and more sophisticated (as per medical services covered and level of clinics provided) than ones for the main staff.
The Group VMI plan may be extended to include dependents. In this case, an employee may partially fund the coverage.
Typical Group VMI plan includes:
- Out-patient care (at several clinics) that offers a full range of medical services in higher quality facilities.
- Dental care.
- Ambulance services including urgent medical manipulations, fast diagnostic, and transportation to medical facilities.
- Doctor’s home visits which are used when an insured person is feeling too bad to visit the clinic.
- In-patient care in better quality facilities compared to ones of CHI (emergency treatment and/or planned hospitalizations).
- Medical care when traveling over the territory of Russia.
- 24-hour call center to access medical assistance.
Some plans typical of large, local employers may include free annual medical examinations (check-up), full pregnancy coverage, annual influenza vaccinations, and other services upon request.
As a part of medical insurance, local travel insurance policies are usually issued covering multiple trips abroad (duration of each trip must not exceed 90 days). These policies are often considered a bonus to medical insurance coverage.
Life and Personal Accident insurance
All employees usually are included in a group life insurance plan and employers normally fund 100% of it. The plans may cover group life (GL), accidental death, total permanent disability (TPD), injury benefits and critical illnesses.
The GL sum insured is typically equal to one- or two-times annual salary although some employers may provide a fixed sum. The TPD sum insured is normally equal to the GL sum insured. Sickness benefits or hospitalization risk may also be covered.
Supplementary short-term sickness benefits are financed 100% by employers and normally increase the temporary disability allowance to 100% of salary. Multinational employers typically provide sickness benefits for up to two weeks per year.
The hospital cash benefit is a lump sum equal to a percentage ranging from 0.1% to 0.5% of the GL sum insured. It is usually paid when a hospitalization lasts not less than 5 days.
The TPD rider benefit is usually linked to the State assessment of disability, and a typical benefit structure is as follows:
- 100% of the sum insured for group I
- From 70% to 80% of the sum insured for group II
- From 50% to 65% of the sum insured for group III
The Pension system in Russia is a multi-level one (3 Pillars).
Employees are eligible for a state-managed pension (1st Pillar), which is increased by the ‘insured’ portion and paid for through the social tax. In recent years the 2nd Pillar has undergone various reforms, which have dampened growth prospects for this segment of funded pensions.
Though the level of State pensions is rather low, currently there are no obligations for employers to organize any supplementary/corporate pension plans. In general, demand for such corporate pension insurance schemes in Russia is insignificant. That is why, while expected to grow, private, voluntary 3rd Pillar pensions schemes are still not common.
Very few companies (usually top multinational companies) participate in such voluntary pension insurance schemes. Typically, membership in a pension scheme is restricted to senior employees, but some companies may provide coverage for other grades of staff depending on some factors (e.g. how long an employee is with a company, how good is his/her performance).
Employer contributions are variable but typically range between 3% and 5% of total pensionable salaries (higher for senior executives). The more generous plans range between 5% and 10% of total pensionable salaries.
Employee contributions are required in approximately 75% of plans and are typically equal to 2%-3% of pensionable salary.
In Russia, employers offer various fringe benefits to the staff since the labor market is quite competitive.
The most diverse employee benefits in Russia are typical of the IT industry or pharma where you should be able to offer a little bit more than others in your field to be an attractive employer to your staff.
Although the list of common perks in Russia is quite long, the most popular ones are education and service awards (not to mention mobile phones and meal vouchers, which are taken now for granted).
- Mobile phones – Around 97% of multinational companies provide mobile phones to all employees for business and private use.
- Meal vouchers – More than 70% of multinational companies provide meal allowances for employees. The typical monthly meal allowance and/or voucher amount is RUB 5,000 – 6,000 in Moscow and RUB 3,000 – 4,000 in other regions.
- Workplace Canteens – This includes catered lunches for employees. Large employers often have an onsite cafeteria with discounted food prices.
- Supplemental sick pay – In accordance with current Labor Law, days 1-3 of sick leave are paid by an employer based on an average salary and seniority of an employee. From day 4 payments are made from the Social Security System based on a minimum wage. To top-up statutory sickness benefits employers provide additional sick pay (at company expense or by extending Life insurance policies with this option). In this case, salary continues at 100% up to a 14-day maximum. Approximately 50% of companies provide such supplemental sick pay.
- Gym memberships – These are popular with companies whose average employee age is under 30. Such companies sometimes prefer the benefits of a gym membership to group medical insurance.
- Company cars – More than 80% of companies provide a company car to some or all executives and senior managers.
- Education – More than 90% of multinational companies provide training and education. One-third cover expenses for an MBA.
- Transportation – If a company office is in an inconvenient location (far from metro or train station), a scheduled corporate transport is usually provided to employees to get to and from work.
- Service awards – About a fourth of companies provide jubilee awards at important birthdays. Some provide retirement and a third provide length of service awards.
- Bonus schemes – It is very common to pay bonuses at the end of a reporting period (usually once a year but some companies practice quarterly or semi-annual payments of bonuses) to those employees who achieved relevant KPI.
- Well-being programs – Some companies provide various activities for employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Employee assistance programs – These are provided for the whole company, but only by top-tier employers. Usually, EAPs can be implemented as psychological support for those employees who work under stressful conditions (e.g. call-centers), or at company sites where there are problems with absenteeism or presenteeism.
- Employee loans – Some organizations provide employee loans with the majority being for an emergency, housing, or education.
- Company-provided housing or housing allowances – Varying amounts of housing allowance are typically provided to relocated employees. Some employers (especially the IT sector) reimburse rent to highly valued employees.
- Additional days of annual leave – Employers may grant all their employees extra days off (on average – not more than 10 days) or offer such a benefit to employees who achieved significant success in a reporting period.