Russian State Pension Fund to Use Blockchain for Employment Contracts

The Russian state pension fund (PFR), the country’s largest social service, has recently suggested implementing blockchain technology in labor relations, local news outlet Izvestiya reportsWednesday, August 29, citing the organization’s press center.

The fund plans to introduce smart contracts to be used as employment contracts between employers and employees. Such agreements could be made in any of the numerous state units providing public services — the net that reportedly covers up to 97% Russia’s population.

Officials told reporters that they hope blockchain technology as it would be used in the scheme would help to avoid unnecessary paperwork and to reduce costs for storing and maintaining a huge amount of data. Officials also reportedly believe that the new system will protect citizens from “negligent employers who violate current legislation when concluding contracts,” the fund’s press center stressed.

State Labour Inspectorate statistics cited by Izvestiya show that more than 465,000 Russian citizens claimed their labor rights were violated in 2017. In that regard, officials imposed fines for more than 20 billion rubles (approximately $293 million).

Russia is currently taking numerous steps in order to reorganize its labor industry. As local news agency TASS noted today, Russian prime-minister Dmitry Medvedev recently offered to store all employment records online starting in 2020. All necessary data will also be shared with the PFR, Tass reports.

The PFR’s decision to turn to blockchain comes against the backdrop of a radical pension reform the Russian government introduced in mid-2018. Officials initially offered to raise the minimum retirement age for women up to 63 years (from its current 55 years) by 2034 and for men up to 65 years (from its current 60 years) by 2028.

In the broader context of pressure from U.S. and European economic sanctions against Russia, the pension reforms sparked massive backlash in the country. After the largest cities in Russia held protests against the proposed reforms in July, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced in a speech today that the government plans to amend the reform.

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