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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mironov Offers Bill To Increase Job Caps

Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov submitted a bill to the State Duma on Thursday that would allow small and medium-sized businesses to hire more employees but keep their current benefits.

The bill is intended to help reduce unemployment, as small and medium-sized businesses will be able to create new jobs, Mironov said in a statement on his web site. He proposed changing the employee limit for a medium-sized business to between 121 and 270 employees, from 101 to 250 now, and to 120 for a small business, up from 100.

Such enterprises enjoy tax and other benefits under the law, but expanding companies risk losing them by hiring new employees.

“We want more companies to use the benefits, as it will help them resist the crisis better. We also hope that the enactment of the bill will stimulate the establishment of new companies,” Natalya Avilova, Mironov’s spokeswoman, said by telephone.

Avilova said it was the right time to amend the law on small and medium-sized businesses, as these companies in particular needed support during the crisis. Initially, the bill would have seen the changes expire after two years, but the version sent to the Duma proposes increasing the limits permanently.

Mironov’s proposal is the latest in a long line of state efforts to combat growing unemployment.

In January, the government presented a 43 billion ruble ($1.5 billion) employment stimulus package to fund region-specific job retraining programs, relocation assistance, small business development and job creation. The government hopes to create at least 900,000 jobs through the program, including temporary positions and new positions in small businesses.

The country’s jobless rate was 7.6 percent in September, the State Statistic Service said Oct. 20.

Andrei Shubin, head of the legal analysis department for the Opora business lobby, said the increases were not large enough to be felt.

“Most small and medium-sized businesses in Russia are retail enterprises. If a company with 200 employees hires 20 more, nothing will fundamentally change for it. The government must support small and medium-sized business more substantively, instead of solving individual problems and insisting it will help,” he said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina during a Presidium meeting Thursday that he signed an order giving another 7.5 billion rubles to support small and medium-sized business, according to a transcript on the government web site.

Nabiullina said the funds would be used by the regions to help guarantee loans to small business.