Galina Akhmerova: ‘Schoolchildren and students are the personnel and economic potential of the country’
Labour market expert — about the initiative in the State Duma on new employment standards for minors
The State Duma is considering a draft bill simplifying the employment of minor children. It provides for amendments to the Labour Code, which will change the procedure for hiring children from the age of 14. The bill will allow transferring teenagers who are already working, but without an employment contract, to the “white zone”. Who will be affected by the innovation and how it can change the labour market — Galina Akhmerova, a former top manager of BARS Group, founder of the Darwin Foundation for the development of accessibility of modern education and creator of Round platform, writes in the author's column for Realnoe Vremya.
Nine out of ten teenagers are ready to work
The number of teenagers aged 14 to 17 years is 6,5 million people in 2022. Many children start their career at school age, wanting to become financially independent.
According to a study conducted in 2021 by the All-Russian Centre for Public Opinion Research (VTsIOM), 91% of high school students would like to earn extra money during the summer holidays. And research by the All-Russian Popular Front and the Russian Movement of Schoolchildren say that 9 out of 10 teenagers are ready to start working before the age of 18.
We ourselves see the request of young people to start a career and earn their first earnings in high school: at the Round site, children actively exchange game currency for career consultations with experts and internships.
In 2 years, we have reached out to several tens of thousands of teenagers, some of whom have received a real opportunity to try themselves professionally on our site as part of interaction with the company's partners.
Until today, unfortunately, not many employers were willing to hire teenagers. The younger the applicant, the more problems there are with his registration, for example:
Before being hired, an employee must undergo a medical examination (Articles 69 and 266 of the Labour Code of the Russian Federation), and he must do this annually until the age of 18. At the same time, the costs of conducting the examination are borne by the company. Taking into account that the period of employment is often only summer months or a few hours a week, the costs become tangible.
It will not be easy to terminate an employment contract at the initiative of the employer. To do this, you need to get the consent of the State Labour Inspectorate and the Commission on Juvenile Affairs (Article 269 of the Labour Code of the Russian Federation). They are extremely reluctant to give such approval.
And of course, these are checks of employment conditions. The work of young people under the age of 18 should not be associated with hard work or harmful and dangerous industries.
They agree to any job
That is why most often teenagers do not work in white. And it's one thing when you spend your holidays working part-time at your aunt's company, and another when you are looking for earnings on your own: children are often manipulated, taking advantage of their ignorance and naivety. Some teenagers, without understanding, agree to any job and subsequently get into trouble.
Nevertheless, teenagers are offered jobs. These are mainly urban/municipal employment centres, service sector or small private part-time jobs:
The pay is piecework, one can agree on a flexible schedule, ask for daily payments according to the number of leaflets distributed. Sometimes they are asked to distribute newspapers or put up ads.
With the development of online commerce, couriers are often required to deliver pizza, flowers, gifts, mail, food, but the conditions are not the simplest.
Assistance in caring for the elderly.
They are not paid much, but the work is simple, in the fresh air, in a team. In the winter months, high school and college students are attracted to clearing snow.
This activity is suitable for active, sociable children, with good diction, musical hearing, the ability to move to music.
- Dogsitters, or dog walkers
A dogsitter is the one who looks after, feeds, walks, and takes care of a pet while its owner is away.
The payment is small, but there are tips.
The interest of teenagers in working life is felt. And in the current economic realities, de-bureaucratisation by the state will also lead to the possibility of financial support for the family as a whole. What becomes relevant against the background of the events taking place in the country.
“Work should be cool, and not otherwise”
The bill also optimises the order of control and supervisory measures for the employment of minors. Which cannot but to please employers. The draft bill also proposes that the Ministry of Healthcare and the Ministry of Labour approve methodological recommendations for determining the work recommended for the employment of minors.
“The bill is aimed at facilitating access for young people to get their first job, while working in white, officially, when a minimum of approvals and permits from guardianship authorities, medical institutions, parents are required for employment, and the employer will know for sure that he does not violate the law," believes Igor Semenovsky, the candidate of legal sciences, senior lecturer at the Financial University under the Government of Russia.
“But this is just the beginning of the way. The Committee continues to work together with the government to develop a programme to promote the employment of adolescents. Work should be cool, and not otherwise," Artem Metelev, a deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation and one of the authors of the amendments, writes on his official Vkontakte page.
All the changes are being carried out in accordance with the Long-term Youth Employment Assistance Programme for the period up to 2030, approved by Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 3581-r of December 14, 2021.
In turn, I believe that such decision is a big step in the career guidance of teenagers in practice. For 4 years (14-18 years), they can try about 4 professions, learning about different areas, in order to subsequently choose the appropriate type of activity. In addition, financial literacy will go beyond school lessons.
The author's opinion may not coincide with the position of the editorial board of Realnoe Vremya.