Government to Up Jobless Benefits

The government plans to increase unemployment benefits starting next year, when it estimates that about 350,000 more people will lose their jobs.

The minimum monthly unemployment benefit will rise to 850 rubles ($31.05) from 781 rubles, Rossiiskaya Gazeta said Friday. The maximum will go up to 3,400 rubles from 3,124 rubles, it added. The average monthly wage was 17,847 rubles in September.

"The government decree set the minimum and maximum unemployment benefits according to the estimated level of inflation," Yury Gertsy, head of the Federal Labor and Employment Service, said in Rossiiskaya Gazeta. Inflation will probably slow to 8.5 percent in 2009 from this year's 13 percent, according to the Central Bank.

The government budget for next year assumes that 1.6 million Russians will register for unemployment benefits, compared with 1.247 million this year.